Window Replacement vs. Retrofit

HOME / Education / Window Replacement vs. Retrofit

It’s no secret that high-quality, energy-efficient windows offer a lot of potential benefits and savings to homeowners. But it might not always be clear whether to go with a full replacement or a retrofit.

First, a distinction: A full replacement means the entire window frame and sash are removed. A retrofit, on the other hand, means that only the window sash is removed. In this scenario, the frame and trim remain in place, making it less expensive and labour-intensive than a full replacement.

A trusted Vinyl-Pro partner can help you identify the best option for your home, but these common scenarios will also give you an idea of the key differences.

When a Full Window Replacement Makes Sense

Problems with existing frame

One of the most common reasons homeowners choose a full window replacement is because of a problem with their existing frame. In some cases, particularly with wood, rot will have set in, compromising the frame’s structural integrity and the health of the home’s inhabitants.

Rot is often caused by moisture, which in turn can lead to mold growth and a host of further problems. Over time, mold can spread beyond the frame to the home’s wall. A rotting or irreparably damaged window frame should be replaced.

Desire for more significant increase in energy efficiency

If you’ve put off replacing your windows for a long time, you could be missing out on the energy savings, improved home comfort and other benefits of new windows. At Vinyl-Pro we’ve made significant investments in state-of-the-art equipment to offer the most advanced products on the market. We fusion weld the corners of our window frames for a superior seal—one that is airtight and weathertight.

For a product to be ENERGY STAR certified today, it has to meet strict standards and pass independent tests. We’ve engineered our vinyl windows to not only meet but exceed ENERGY STAR compliance.

Style upgrades

A full window replacement also gives you the opportunity to update exterior and interior trim. For the ultimate in design versatility, we offer a variety of trim options, corner blocks and PVC jamb extensions with your choice of colour.

When a Window Retrofit Makes Sense

Existing frame and trim are in good condition

Sometimes referred to as an insert or a sash-only replacement, a window retrofit can deliver significant improvements in comfort and energy efficiency without the cost or hassle of a full replacement. This economical option makes sense if your existing window frames are still in good condition and were properly installed. Retrofit windows will also allow you to keep your current exterior and interior trim, because these details are left intact during installation.

Older homes with high-quality wood-framed windows are also good candidates for a retrofit, since this process won’t disrupt the house’s traditional charm.

Interested in replacing glass only

Advancements in window glass technology have led to more choices than ever before, including low-emissivity (Low-E) glass and warm-edge spacers. Upgrading to Low-E windows with triple glazing and warm-edge technology can dramatically improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your home, all without a major renovation. If the glass in your windows is clear, damaged or single-pane, retrofit windows offer a sensible and cost-effective way to upgrade.

If you’re not sure which option is best for your home, talk to a specialist for guidance. Look for a trusted Vinyl-Pro partner in your area to get a detailed breakdown of the pros and cons of each window installation method.