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I am replacing a old Garden window with a new "flat" window.

I was given a quote for "Retrofit" option, and then a $400 more for a "new construction" option.

I have Stucco wall

I understand that with a retrofit they need to put a Z-bar, and with new construction there is more breaking of the outside stucco. But that is all I understand.

Is it worth it or not to pay $400 extra for new constructions? why would I and why shouldn't I ?

If picture will help, let me know.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The major difference between a new construction and retrofit window is the way the new window frame is attached to the house.

To install a new construction window the installer will have to chip away the original stucco, cut away some interior drywall, remove the window, remove the paper backing behind the stucco, and then once the new window is in ensure the window is properly flashed and re-wrapped properly to ensure everything is watertight. After that, they will patch the stucco which was removed to perform the window install.

In a retrofit install, the windows include a Z-bar or Flush fin which which allows the installer to cut down and reuse the existing window frame to mount the retrofit window frame to. The flush fin (Z-bar) covers the gap between the inside of the existing frame and the exterior of the replacement window and allows you to simply install the window from outside rather than tearing out the exterior stucco and interior drywall.

If your original windows were installed correctly and aren't leaking the retrofit windows would be the way to go in my opinion. You will lose a tiny bit of window viewing area using the retrofits, but the install time will be much faster (and of course much less expensive) and there's no worry about tearing up the inside and outside of your house. I've never seen patched stucco that looks totally right either. The energy savings will be there regardless of the installation method you choose.

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We just ordered replacement windows but no-one told us the amount of viewing area that we would lose. Since one reason we we bought our house was for the views, we were devastated when we saw the windows and sent them away. For example, our two kitchen casement windows which have 16" of glass each would have been reduced to just over 12" of glass each. That's almost 8" of viewing area lost. We were not told this during the sales pitch and luckily realized before they put the windows in. So, just make sure you ask the right questions before you commit.

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