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Replacement vs. New Construction Windows: Which Is Better For You?

January 24th, 2022, 2:00 PM

When it comes to replacing the windows in your home, you want to do it right. Not only are windows important for lighting and aesthetics, but they also play a big role in the insulation of your home and can increase your energy efficiency. Figuring out if you should opt for a replacement or new construction window is important, so let's get started.

Nail fins are the main difference between new construction and replacement windows. Nail fins are metal strips that line the outer part of the window, sometimes commonly called flanges. Nail fins secure the window to the sheathing before the shims and frame are installed. Because this process relates to the framing of the window, nail fins are included with new construction windows.

When to use replacement windows vs. new construction windows

If you're racking your brain trying to figure out whether to use a replacement window or a new construction window, just remember this: it all comes down to the window frame. Which option you choose depends on the quality and stability of the window frame. Unless your existing window frame is extremely damaged, your best option is replacement windows.

New construction windows are standard during, well, new construction. Unless you're remodeling your home, building a home, or putting on an addition, replacement windows will usually serve you better.

Buying replacement windows vs. new construction windows

The selection process will differ between new construction windows and replacement windows because both of them are installed for different reasons. Because new construction windows are used while a home is being built or redone, contractors are the primary point of contact for selecting your windows. Your new construction window is dependent on various exterior parts of your house and contractors can help you understand your options when installing a window.

You can attempt to replace a window yourself, but it's commonly a hassle. Hodges Windows & Doors specializes in replacement windows and we would be happy to assist you in all your needs. We stand by our installation quality guarantee when it comes to replacing your windows.

Types of replacement windows

Full frame window replacement

Full frame windows are installed when you want to change the size of your existing window. To install a full frame window, you'll have to remove your current window down to the studs. Removing and replacing the trim can add the cost to this installation, but it can allow you to change the style of your window or upgrade deteriorating frames.

Insert window replacement

Insert window replacements are easier to complete because you don't have to configure the existing frame. Much like the title says, you only need to insert your window into your frame. Be sure to have a healthy window frame before you opt for this installation, otherwise, you'll have to do more work and pay more money to have it done.

Block frame window replacement

Block frame windows replace the sash of the window and leave the interior and exterior frames intact. This is an option that's used for older homes or walls made of brick or concrete. Unlike other installations, block frame windows are caulked onto a metal flashing that holds the window in place. 

Flush frame window replacement

Flush fin windows are an option if you're replacing old windows that had aluminum frames. These replacement windows have a perimeter made of vinyl that makes it flush against the frame upon completion, much like the name insists. 

Measuring for replacement windows

You may think that measuring for a replacement window would be fairly easy, however, there are several factors in play that you need to account for when taking measurements. 

First, a good rule of thumb when measuring windows would be to see if your existing frame is square. Take your measuring tape and measure across your window diagonally on two opposing corners. This helps you know if your window has 90° angles on all four corners. If your window is square but not completely level, you might want to consider a new construction window, instead.

To measure for width: measure the window from the inside jambs (the sides of the actual window, not the trim). To ensure the accuracy of your measurements, do this on the top, center, and bottom of your window.

To measure for height: take your measuring tape from the jamb to the sill, excluding the trim. 

Typically, measuring for depth is only necessary when replacing windows in mobile homes. Otherwise, 3 ¼ of an inch should be enough depth to fit a replacement window. 

Cost of replacement windows vs. new construction windows

Replacement windows will always be the less expensive option of the two. This is because new construction windows require a lot of labor to be installed and that's something you need to consider into your total cost. New construction windows also rely on parts other than just the window itself, such as the nail fins, the frame, and other hardware.

The cost of replacement windows can cost around $500, whereas new construction can be around $350, parts and labor not included. Complete costs of a new construction window can get as high as $700 per window. 

Replacement windows from Hodges

Hodges Windows & Doors is a leader in replacement windows in the DC area. We also consult and collaborate with ongoing construction projects, too, especially when you're looking to achieve a specific aesthetic. We pride ourselves on our 100 years of workmanship and our installation quality guaranteeContact us today for all of your window needs!


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Thank you so much for fixing my window today! Thank you for coming even though these windows aren't yours......No wonder the management office here thinks you guys can do anything and are the most helpful window company around.

Kim T.
McLean, Virginia
Window Repair

Hodges had very knowledge salespeople, highly skilled installation crews, and the product lives up to expectations. You can't ask for better than that.

Richard N.
Ashburn Village, Virginia
Door Installation

All in all a really fantastic company - they've been in business a long time and it shows based on how they treat the costumer. Am planning to do windows next year, and they will be my first phone call.

Ian W.
North Potomac, MD
Door Installation

We enjoyed meeting with Brian Whitehouse and were impressed with his ability to explain our options, always respecting our wishes and never annoying us with hard-sell tactics...It was such a pleasure to deal with people who know their job and do it well.

Sara R.
Falls Church, Virginia
Window and Door Installation

The whole process from initial meeting to installation was painless and quite surprisingly, a lot less expensive than we thought it would be... Thanks again for taking such good care of us. If anyone I know is looking for new windows, I will certainly recommend your company.

Carol B.
McLean, Virginia
New Window Installation

The installer, who I think was Tom Langworthy, did excellent work. He was respectful of our space and cleaned up after himself. He always conducted himself in a professional manner. He seems highly competent and he engenders confidence in his workmanship.

James B.
Washington, DC
Window Installation

Throughout the entire process - from our first meeting to the on-going daily supervision - by you of the job, the professionalism, the quality of the products, and the workmanship was outstanding.

David & Rosemary P
Vienna, Virginia
Window and Door Installation

Your craftsmanship made all the difference, and it was nice getting to know you. We hope to hire you again.

Nany & Harry B.
Chevy Chase, MD
Windows and Door Installation

Before, we could never keep up with the cold. Now we just turn the heat on, and it stays in the building. Complaints are way down, and we're very happy.

Rev. Davies K.
Falls Church, Virginia
Window Installation

I wouldn't deal with anyone else. Working with Hodges, I know I can get anything I want, and my imagination can run wild.

Arlington, Virginia
Window and Door Installation

I couldn't be more pleased with both my windows and the installation and now "on a clear day I can see forever". If you would like to use me as a reference I would be more than happy to cooperate.

Elizabeth H.
Arlington, Virginia
Window Installation

I want you to know that your two colleagues who installed the windows did an outstanding job...Jean and I could not be more pleased.

Ted B.
Washington, D.C.
Window Installation

Your guys did a great job. The temperature in the house is up by 3 degrees and the heat pump is running half as much.

Larry C.
Gainesville, Virginia
Window Installation

I must tell you that Mark Russow and everyone at The Hodges Window Company are nothing less than a great representative/distributor for your company and we will not hesitate to recommend both companies to our friends and family.

Debbie P.
Manassas, VA
Window and Door Installation

I think they did a very good job. I will go back to them in a heartbeat.

Karen L.
Arlington, VA
Window and Door Replacement

The deck door is fabulous and the installation is super!!! I love how wide it is, and how easily it opens and it actually locks! thank you for the expert product and installation.

Kevin J.
Springfield, Virginia
Door Installation

We are so very, very happy (once again!) with the Hodges Company....this is the third time we have had a project completed, and each time we've been so pleased.

Valerie Soroka
Arlington, VA
Door Installation

I am so pleased with my windows, your installers and staff. I would indeed recommend your company to anyone and everyone. They were quick, efficient and very polite.

Betty L.
Fairfax, VA
Window Installation

We love our new door. The installation work was timely, quick and well-done.

Mary Ann M.
Arlington, VA
Door Installation

Everything was excellent. The salesman offered good advice and provided examples of how the end result would look. Hodges' workers arrived on time and worked quickly. The lead installer was quite knowledgeable as well, so the job was done neatly and without incident.

James G.
Vienna, Virginia
Window and Door Installation

Tom is definitely a master craftsman and did an excellent job. Just want you and the company to know that both Tom and Larry did an outstanding job and we are very pleased with the results.

Dave H.
Arlington, VA
Window Installation

We will definitely be using Hodges again when we look to replace some windows in our house

Daniel Q.
Woodbridge, VA
Door Installation

I just wanted to express my appreciation to the team your company sent to install a few doors and repair windows in our house. They were professional, caring, cooperative and extremely courteous. They are a major asset to your company. On the whole, our experience with the Hodges Company has been very positive and we happily recommend your services to others.

Mary V.
Bethesda, Maryland
Door Installation and Window Repair