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New Construction vs Replacement Windows

There is always quite a bit of confusion over new construction vs replacement windows. In terms of the windows themselves, there is very little difference between the two. In terms of installation, there is quite a bit of difference. We will break down both parts of this equation and give you prices for each.

Click to read our window installation Q & A.

New Construction vs Replacement Windows

As far as the actual window itself, the only real difference is that with new construction windows there is a nailing fin or nailing flange attached. This fits around the top and sides of the perimeter and allows the window to be securely installed to the wall or rough opening in the home. This nailing fin costs money, but it is nominal.

Inserts or pocket replacements are not sold with the nailing flange because they are placed inside the opening and therefore don't require the nailing fin. Most manufacturers sell replacement windows with an optional "new construction" configuration.


When it comes to installation, there are huge differences in what needs to be done and the accompanying price. New construction is considerably more expensive than standard replacement. New construction typically requires attaching the window via the nailing flange to the wall, along with sealing and caulking.

Housewrap or flashing is used to provide a moisutre barrier and a bottom sill pan should be used to create a way for the water to escape away from the house if it should get into the opening many years down the road. Any exterior and interior trim work also needs to be done to make the window look attractive.

New Cosntruction Costs: $250 - $450 per window

Standard Replacement Costs: $100 - $150 per window

Pocket Inserts: $50 - $75 per window

New Construction vs Retrofit Windows

Thank you so much for all of your help! Is a nail fin is better than retrofit? Thanks, you seem to be the only way to get good info for all of the sharks!

Bob - Homeowner - from 2017

Editor's Reply

Bob, there is no clear winner in the retro/new construction question. There are pros and cons to both. Retro is often cheaper, but you lose some glass area and there can be some moisture issues, depending on you walls etc.

New construction is more expensive, saves some glass area, and possibly offers better protection against moisture in walls.

This is where a bunch of bids helps you out. The installers/companies basically provide free opinions on which they think you need, costs, process, etc.

Keep getting them until you feel like you know the real answer for your project!

Tom - Site Editor - from 2017

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