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  • Writer's pictureCasey Dominick

The Difference Between Window Retrofit and Window Replacement

As a homeowner, you want your home to be as energy-efficient as possible. One way to achieve this is by upgrading your windows. However, with so many options available, it can take time to determine which solution is best for your home. This blog post will discuss the difference between window retrofitting and window replacement so you can make a more informed decision.

Window Update:

Updating windows involves adding new features or components to existing windows. For instance, you can add a low-emissivity (Low-E) coating to your window glass to reduce heat transfer without replacing the entire window. You can also install weatherstripping or draught-proofing around the window to seal gaps, cracks, and leaks that can cause heat loss and drafty rooms—updating works well for homeowners who want to upgrade their windows without incurring the retrofit or total replacement cost. An update can save more than 25% on energy costs in ideal circumstances.

Remember that retrofitting is usually a quick fix rather than a long-term solution. Upgrading windows with new features or components may not address underlying issues such as the window's age, wear and tear, and structural integrity. In such cases, you may need to upgrade by replacing the entire window.

Window Retrofit:

Window retrofit, commonly confused with window replacement, involves removing your existing window while keeping the window frame and weatherproofing intact. A new retrofit window is manufactured to fit inside the old window frame and trim is installed to provide a seal against the existing siding or stucco. Window retrofit is the preferred option if the current window frame and weather barrier are in good condition. Window retrofit is less expensive than complete window replacement while providing many of the same energy-saving and aesthetic benefits.

Window Replacement:

Window replacement means removing an entire window and installing a new one. This process involves replacing the frame, sash, and glass. It is more expensive than a retrofit but provides more long-term benefits. Window replacement can offer better energy efficiency, noise reduction, and improved home aesthetics. New windows can reduce energy costs by up to 50%, depending on your selection. Additionally, high-quality window replacements may add value to your home.

When selecting new replacement windows, there are several types, such as double-hung, casement, and sliding windows. You can also choose from different frame materials such as wood, vinyl, or fiberglass. Additionally, you can select windows designed for particular functions, such as enhancing security, weather performance, and noise reduction.


Retrofitting or replacing windows depends on your home's needs and budget. Retrofitting is a great way to save money in the short term, allowing you to upgrade and enhance your existing windows. However, replacing your windows is a smart choice if you are looking for a long-term solution to your energy costs or aesthetic upgrades. Consulting with a professional window company can help you determine the best solution for your unique needs.

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