DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum

DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum (
-   Windows and Doors (
-   -   retrofit vs "new construction" windows (

Preacher 03-01-2011 02:34 PM

retrofit vs "new construction" windows
I am wanting to replace the aluminum windows that are on the house. This winter the condensation on the aluminum windows drove my wife, and therefore me, crazy! In looking at windows replacing them with vinyl windows, two different installation methods have been suggested to me and of course that company's method is the best! One is the retrofit method and the other is the new construction. I know the pros and cons that I've been given, but I need some real world opinions from folks who aren't trying to sell me windows. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


TheDoorGuy 03-01-2011 09:55 PM

I just think the retrofit windows are a bit clunky looking with the big frame
that lays over the stucco around each one. I also think they are more prone
to leaking because they depend on a bead of caulk to stop water intrusion.

Preacher 03-02-2011 06:37 AM

I guess I should also have said that my house has a brick veneer front and siding on the sides and back. There is one double window on the front. The rest of the windows (9) are on the siding.

I've been told that the "new construction" window replacement can harm the vapor barrier that is around the window so there would be problems down the line. Then I've been told that the retrofit are more prone to leaking like Richard said. I was also told that many states are now requiring that replacement windows be done with the retrofit because of the vapor barrier problems. One state mentioned was California. Is that true? I can't find anything on that.

Once again thanks for your help.


TheDoorGuy 03-02-2011 07:54 AM

When you factor in the wood siding, I think the new construction type would
give you the best job. It's pretty easy to cut back the siding enough to remove
and replace the windows and then install new trim. The window on the front
will probably be best completed with a replacement style window.

handyguys 03-02-2011 01:35 PM

I'm with TheDoorGuy - I like new construction style when possible but removing siding such as brick veneer isn't usually a viable option. If its vinyl siding - That can be completely removed and re-installed allowing easy access to the nailing flange and for proper flashing. The remodel style rely on the existing flashing and trim usually.

TheDoorGuy 03-02-2011 03:53 PM

I guess I wasn't alert enough this morning to see all of your comment, Preacher.

Not sure what state requirement there might be for vapor barrier but any house
wrap or window flashing paper that is damaged during removal could easily be
replaced/repaired with peal and stick butyl flashing tape. I use Nashua brand but
there are a number of companies that make it. It comes in a six inch wide roll and
you just cut to length, peal off the backing and use it overlap the existing house wrap
or flashing and wrap it into the window opening. It's very sticky and gives a great
backing for the window nail fins to attach to. Also important to run a 3/8" bead
of polyurethane caulk around the opening and bed the window nail fins into it before
screwing it to wall with non-rusting screws.

nealtw 03-02-2011 09:29 PM

check out the post for leaky patio door, that should answer your question.

TheDoorGuy 03-03-2011 05:41 AM

Thanks to Neal....Z bar flashing is an important step in controlling water intrusion.

Preacher 03-04-2011 09:46 PM

Thanks for all your replies! I had the representative from the retro fit place come out today and I can say, they aren't for us. The vinyl frame which is white, can not be painted. This means that no matter what color we might paint a room or the outside of the house we will always have the white vinyl frame to contend with. Next week we've got the rep from the new construction windows coming in. Believe it or not, I think they will be half the price of the retrofit ones!!!!

Again thanks for your help.


TheDoorGuy 03-05-2011 06:46 AM

Hey Preacher,
Glad you are doing the homework before rather than after the project!
I see a lot of those white vinyl frames around here...You'd think they would
come up with more color choices. Reminds me of of what Henry Ford said about
his first automobiles: "They can have any color car they want as long as it's black"
or some such thing.

Best of luck with the project!!

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:41 PM.