Are all installations the same?
Well the answer to this question is an obvious, no. But how do they differ?
There are essentially two different categories of windows. There are windows intended for new construction, often referred to simply as “new construction” windows, and there are windows intended for renovation, often referred to as “reno-flange” windows.
Let’s start with the renovation window. The reno-flange window was developed for the replacement market, and has a design feature that allows for a simpler installation, minimizing overall labour costs with it’s quick installation, and eliminating the need to hire skilled carpenters to perform the installations. The major downside to this type of installation is the inability to create a reliable weather seal. Because building code only covers new construction installations and not replacement installations, window companies get away with this substandard installation. Why is it an attractive method for window companies? Well, they can replace a house load of windows very quickly, and they can hire lower skilled workers, thereby lowering installation costs. The result? Lower priced bids, and more jobs won. Should you as a homeowner include these bids in your considerations? In a word, no.
Despite the name, new construction windows can be used in both new construction and in renovation/replacement situations, and are characterized by a nailing fin around the perimeter of the frame (not to be confused with the trim around a reno-flange window). As you may have guessed, this type of window does allow for a reliable weather seal, and should be the type of window you choose for your replacements. Now to be clear, using this type of window in your replacement project does not guarantee that you will have a good weather seal, but it does afford the installer the opportunity to create a reliable weather seal if he knows what to do.