Are Retrofit Windows More Prone to Leaks and Drafts?

There is more than one way to replace a window. Here at Cal Energy, we are able to do it all, as our team is capable of any and all window installation methods. You, as the homeowner, typically need to determine if you would like your property’s windows to be installed in one of two ways – retrofit, which involves placing a window in the existing window space, or full frame, which involves taking out the entirety of the frame and re-framing it in completely.

Retrofit windows, also known as insert or replacement windows, are commonly used to update existing window frames without the need for extensive frame reconstruction. They offer a convenient and cost-effective solution for window replacement, since they cost less in labor and help you save considerably on the price of your windows.

Yet, because of the way retrofit windows are installed, many are worried that these windows will be more prone to leaks and drafts. But are they?

What Are Retrofit Windows?

Retrofit windows are designed to fit into the existing window frame of a home, as opposed to full-frame replacements that involve removing the old frame and installing a new one. We remove the existing window, leaving behind the rectangle shape, and then we place the new window right in that empty space and then seal it in.

Many people get new windows because their existing windows have leaks. That can leave people a bit concerned about retrofit windows. Because these windows placed within an existing frame, in theory, leaks may be easier because they’re not re-framed in with siding and other materials covering any opening.

Luckily, retrofit windows are essentially just as leak free as full frame windows – provided one thing is true – that they were installed correctly and inside of a frame that is in good condition. Factors affecting leak and draft resistance include:

  • Condition of Existing Frames – If the original window frames are warped, damaged, or degraded, retrofit windows may not fit perfectly, leading to gaps that can cause drafts and water leaks.
  • Quality of Installation – Proper sealing and fitting are critical. Poor installation can leave gaps, even if the windows themselves are of high quality. Ensuring that the contractor has a good reputation and experience with retrofit installations is vital.
  • Window Quality – Higher-quality retrofit windows are typically designed with better sealing technology and insulation properties, which help prevent leaks and drafts. Cheaper options might not provide the same level of protection.
  • Age and Weather Exposure – Over time, exposure to extreme weather and temperature fluctuations can affect the sealing and framing materials used in window installation, potentially increasing the risk of leaks and drafts.

New construction windows certainly stand a higher chance of preventing against leaks and drafts. But retrofit windows can be just as durable in the long term. It depends entirely on the quality of installation and the current status of the existing frames. As long as you work with a window company you can trust, your windows are going to be able to withstand leaks and drafts for years to come.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content