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 Post subject: New construction (nail-on) vs. retrofit
PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 1:22 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:21 pm
Posts: 16
Location: San Francisco Peninsula
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I live in a condo with wood siding. Most installers have told us that "new construction" (nail-on) is a better way to install a window, meaning that there is less probability of leaks down the road. But a couple installers/dealers I have spoken with have said the opposite: that it's better not to remove the old fin from the aluminum windows and that if a retrofit window is sealed well with foam, that the probability of leaks is less than with a new construction window. These folks say that the folks who say new construction is better are just trying to make more money. Who should I believe???
Thanks!


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 Post subject: Installation
PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:26 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:21 pm
Posts: 72
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Both types of installation are fine if done correctly, so it would be a "tie" if they are both perfect installations. However, a total frame replacement (not normally done with vinyl windows but done a lot with wood/clad windows) would potentially be better. Here's why: If the existing aluminum frame is left in place, and a new window is put into that frame opening the installer would presumably insulate around the new frame - between the old aluminum existing frame and the new retrofit frame. However, if the insulation between the existing old aluminum frame and the rough opening is poor or non-existent, it will still potentially be inadequately insulated. Also, if the old fin is left in place, and there is water infiltration or a leak between the old fin and the sheathing/framing it's nailed to, that weakness would potentially still be there with a retrofit. Modern installation methods typically require that the fins be sealed with some type of flashing tape or sealant, but many builders (especially 10 years ago or more) just nailed the fin into the sheathing without any tape on top of or caulk behind the fins. Water can get behind nailing fins if not properly sealed. With a full frame replacement, if those conditions did exist, the new window can have the fins properly nailed and sealed to the framing, removing all doubt, and the cavity between the new (and only) frame and the rough opening could be properly insulated. Really, both types are fine if done correctly so I wouldn't be that concerned, but in theory the full tear out could potentially be better. I would venture a guess that anyone who says otherwise either does not have that type of window available, or doesn't welcome the extra work required.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 12:27 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:21 pm
Posts: 16
Location: San Francisco Peninsula
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What a wonderful reply, Tru-Blue! One thing I'm a little confused about, though: You say that a total frame replacement is not normally done with vinyl windows. I thought that that was what was meant when I was saying "new construction" or "nail-on." So if an installer tells me that he is going to do "new construction" installation of a vinyl window, what is he likely to mean? Instead of asking for a quote for "new construction" installation, should I specifically ask for "total frame replacement"? Thanks!


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 Post subject: New construction
PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:32 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:21 pm
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Sorry if I was confusing. The phrase "new construction" means the same thing as "total frame replacement." What I meant in my last post is that most vinyl replacement jobs that I see are done via retrofit rather than new construction.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 8:54 am 

Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:57 pm
Posts: 80
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Its interesting that this is a subject that is often asked, and not fully understood by many homeowners. Perhaps this is because salesmen don't want to overwhelm the buyer with information. Tru-blu did a nice job of answering the question.

Vinyl windows come in many styles- double hung, casement, picture, etc. But they also come in 2 main types which controls how they will be installed: New construction and retrofit. New construction windows have a nailing fin, while retrofit windows do not.

Retrofit windows are usually the fastest, easiest windows to install, and require the least labor. Your existing window sashes are removed (but the original window frame remains in place) existing trim is reused, and the windows fit right into the old window frame.

With new construction windows, it's not just the window sashes that are removed. The old trim comes off, the original window frame is removed, and you get down to the original rough opening- 2x4's or what have you. The new construction window is then installed right into this rough opening. It is insulated around the perimeter, and then new trim is installed on the inside and outside of the window. Using this method, everything is installed as brand new, and you are sure to have a well insulated install. As tru-blu mentioned, when you install a retrofit window, the retrofit window is sealed up, but you never know if the old frame is well insulated or not.

So new construction windows may cost a little extra, due to the time factor and the fact that you should be getting new trim as well. In my opinion, it's well worth it. But it depends on how long you intend to be in the home, how much you have to spend, whether you want new trim or not, whether reduced glass size is a factor, and so on.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:04 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:21 pm
Posts: 16
Location: San Francisco Peninsula
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Thanks so much, both of you! Our board has only approved new constuction for replacing windows, and now I believe it's the right decision. pvwmillie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:56 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2006 3:28 pm
Posts: 243
Location: WISCONSIN
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A couple of other points when comsidering a complete tearout are extension jambs from the factory.........whose going to paint or stain. Should the return to the inside be drywall or wood. Can the old trim be reused. Who is gooing to take care of covering the new holes in the trim.
And on the outside does the siding have to be cut and what well the new wrap look like and how much because when you put a fin on a replacement window only a couple of inches comes through the RO and so on.
When we do a complete tear out we charge $175.00 more than a replacement install which is $40.00. What your gaining is some glass, but is it worth it. If your concerned about the current insulation around the jambs for an extra $25.00 we take off the trim and do as needed. So consider all the options.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:03 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:10 pm
Posts: 225
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
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Unfortunately selling the job correctly to a customer can be overwhelming at the least when it comes to explaining the Pro's & Con's of replacement. Telling a customer that leaving the old frame in and going over it with a new one is the best way is simply not true. It's like telling a person who restores vintage cars to use Bondo instead of new metal. It will look nice for awhile but possibly fail soon after.

With todays technical advances in the proper installation techniques verses the past. It's a no brainer on which way to go. Removing the entire existing unit and replacing everything is by far the better installation. (This is known as Total Frame Replacement or New Construction Application) You know for sure the new windows nail fin is back caulked and attached to the house with no areas for water to breach the unit. The proper capping over the nail fin to make the outside look like a normal window with brickmould will add another barrier on-top of that. It also makes the window look like it was always there. The inside is done delicately and most new windows today can come with some kind of jamb receptor for the inside. My supplier will provide jamb boxes for each window built and ready to go for about $50 per window. I can get a water proof melamine jambs that matches the window or I can get Pine, Maple, Oak, Walnut, Cherry, Birch or Mahogany jambs for special areas. We just slide the jamb box in and nail it in placer the drywall is left in place to accept the new window. I then have my taper come and clean it up on the inside.

My main concern on any of this is what can the customer afford and how does it apply. If you have one of your installers on a ladder high in the air for the entire job. This may be a concern. Then you need to really figure out if it's really worth it for the customer and the dwelling. Anything with the standard two inch brickmould is a candidate for fast removal and total replacement. A dwelling that has siding over lapping the nail fin may change your mind or have you pulling siding to do the job right (which we do a lot here). The bottom line is having the work staff that can do this effortlessly and fast to make it a worthy investment for the consumer. We offer the option daily for around $150.00 extra per opening. Ounce you do it alot it gets much easier.

If the installer and the consumer decide that insert windows are needed then it's just replacement of the sashes while leaving the existing frame in place. It is the cheaper rout e to go when it comes to replacements. In either case the pocketbook of the consumer dictates the route you travel!!!


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