Choosing the Best Replacement Windows Calgary

Understanding the Difference Between Replacement Windows and Builder Grade (or New Construction) Windows

Before deciding on which window is best it’s important to understand the difference between replacement windows (also known as renovation-grade windows) and builder grade (or new construction windows).

The average consumer may assume builder grade windows are designed for builders and therefore must be high-quality as they are frequently used in new construction projects. The truth is builder grade windows are cheaper and readily available in most home improvement stores in Calgary. Window manufacturers understand builders want inexpensive materials to minimize cost and maximize profit so windows are mass produced for this purpose.

It should be noted not all builder grade windows are inferior but price and warranty are usual tell-tale indicators.

When a new home is constructed home buyers aren’t typically enquiring about the quality of windows and besides, even the cheapest of builder grade windows look as good as quality replacement or renovation grade windows to the untrained eye in a new home. For these reasons many builders will choose this type of window.

How Builder Grade Windows are Manufactured

To keep the cost down many manufacturers use inferior materials and components which tend to fail much sooner than renovation grade replacement windows. Because these types of windows don’t have the same high-quality materials and features as renovation grade windows they typically have warranties as limiting as as 2 to 5 years - and can even have prorated warranties.

Builder grade windows do offer a lower price-point but they also have considerable downsides to them as well:

  • Lower quality building materials including vinyl that can fade quickly compared to renovation grade replacement windows
  • Windows meet only the minimum requirements for energy efficiency
  • Over time, glass can be more difficult to see through because of micro-scratches
  • Inferior hardware that can fail faster becoming inoperable
  • Vinyl constructed without inner reinforcement lowering structural load capability
  • May not be foam insulated and are prone to leaking air
  • Less glass options than renovation grade replacement windows
  • Window seal can fail faster - windows fogging up is an issue far more common among builder grade windows

Window Installation

Because builder grade windows are most often used in new construction projects it’s easy to install a window into the opening of a framed house. Because of the simplicity for installation framers are oftentimes used for putting in the window. The drawback of this type of window installation is that the framer is not trained for ensuring a window will last for years without compromising the insulation or having a window opening fail due to air leaks.

Quality renovation grade replacement windows are far more difficult to install correctly and are typically installed by trained, professional window installers.

When you try and save money on replacement windows you truly are “rolling the dice” as to how long your windows will last and how much energy efficiency they’ll actually provide your home.

How to Choose the best Windows

Choosing a higher-quality, premium built window installed by an experienced, trained window installer will ensure you have the best windows for your home - and they’ll be warranted for 20 years to life.