Figuring out which installation type is right for your window replacement, is a major factor in determining the cost of your new windows, and the longevity of your replacement. But while many window companies in Calgary will suggest one or the other installation method, the installation type that is right for you is determined by the condition of your existing windows and the surrounding wall structure.

In today’s post we’ll examine what the different installation methods involve, and try to figure out which one you should go with for your window replacement.

Retrofit (Insert) Window Installation

The cheaper of two options, retrofit installation is often recommended to customers who want to preserve the existing look of their house. In a retrofit installation, new units are inserted into EXISTING frames. This installation is less labour intensive and less invasive on the structure of your house. On the other hand, however, there is always a concern that even if done correctly a retrofit still won’t take into account the condition of the frame and may not fully eliminate the problems with existing frames. These installations are not ideal for older homes, as usually the casings, jamb extensions, and the brickmoulds should all be rot and crack free in order for a retrofit replacement to be effective.

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Full-Frame (Brick-to-brick) Window Installations

This is the most thorough and complete window replacement, you can get. In a full-frame installation, all window hardware including casings, jamb extensions, and brickmoulds get replaced. The existing frame in your windows is torn out down to the brick on either side. This really ensures there is no hidden moisture or damage left in the structure. By cleaning up the rough opening, the installers are also able to better assess the needs of your home, and address them before new windows are put in. This installation also ultimately ensures a longer life for your new windows. Because the standard replacement material for these parts is vinyl instead of wood, it will not deteriorate or age as quickly.

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The difference between full-frame and retrofit installation

Which window installation type is right for you? A full-frame replacement, on average costs 15-20% more than a retrofit installation. Often, homeowners in Calgary will lean toward getting a retrofit simply because it is cheaper.

But a more appropriate question would be: which installation type is right for your home?
While there are local window companies that will happily tell you that a retrofit is substantial, that may not always be the case. You should absolutely go the full-frame route if there is any moisture damage, or rot around the frame of your window. Be careful, this may not always be visible until the windows are removed, but often just by taking off a piece of the old casing in a bottom corner, you can tell the condition of the frame envelope and the wood structure around the window.

In this case, getting retrofit windows can be a waste of time and money. Even if they are efficient and comfortable at first, eventually the moisture damage will catch up, and the framing will need to be replaced, meaning your window will probably have to go along with it.

If you are at a point when you are getting some quotes for your project, be sure to clarify exactly what is implied in each company’s installation. Some companies will replace your casing, or change it to aluminum capping, without actually changing the frame. Only installations that fully replace the brickmoulds, jamb extensions and casings can be considered full-frame replacement.

Finding out what kind of triple glazed windows installation type is right for you is crucial in ensuring you get what you want out of your window replacement.

Check out these window replacement articles:
Calgary Windows and Doors: How To Compare Replacement Windows?
Window Prices In Calgary: What You Should Know
Windows Calgary: Does Local Make A Difference?

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