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8 Things to Know Before Replacing Windows

Your comprehensive guide to window replacement.

Navigating the window replacement process can feel about as daunting as purchasing a home appliance. We get that. That’s why we’ve created this resource to help make replacing windows easier.

If you’ve ever wondered what the difference between new construction and replacement windows is, what style or material you should choose, or how much it’s going to cost you, we’re here to break all of the seemingly overwhelming questions down and help the process go as smoothly as possible. Let’s start by talking about new house windows, and how the selection process differs from replacement windows.

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1. Shopping for New Home Windows
The main difference between new construction home windows and replacement windows is that new windows have the most flexibility when it comes to size and design. Because you aren’t restricted to an existing opening, you can design the windows of your dreams and build your new home around them without any limitations.

2. Replacing Windows
If you’re looking to update the windows in an existing house, replacement windows are the way to go. These windows are made to fit an existing window opening.

There are two installation methods to choose from when considering replacement windows. The first is called a pocket installation. In this method, only the sash of the old window is removed and the new window slides neatly into the existing frame. Pocket installation is quick, only requiring about an hour per window, but you’re limited to choosing a window style that’s the size of the existing opening.

The second method is called full-frame installation, where the entire window is removed, including the frame and trim, and the new window is installed in a new frame, along with new insulation and trim. This method provides greater design flexibility because the trim style, color, and sometimes even the size and shape of the opening can be changed to accommodate an entirely new style of window. However, there’s one thing you want to keep in mind: Full-frame replacement is more time- and labor-intensive and requires work both inside and outside the home. The choice is yours!

3. Repairing Windows
If your windows have broken glass, the sash won’t stay up, or the locks aren’t working, you might need to make some house window repairs. Request a service visit with the company who installed your windows (if it was Pella, you can request the visit here) and they can fix whatever parts need repaired.

4. The Difference Between Replacing and Repairing Windows
As mentioned above, the main difference between replacing and repairing windows is that replacing involves the whole window unit, while repairing only involves specific window parts on your existing window. Some signs your window parts might need replaced include warping, rusting and/or water damage. If water is entering through your window, or they are becoming foggy or hard to open or close, you might want to look into replacing your window.

Whatever your repair needs, our window specialists can work with you to help you match styles and get your window back to working how it should.

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5. House Window Types
Whether you’re considering new windows or replacement windows, you want to pick a type that matches your lifestyle, budget, style and personalization options. Popular material types include wood, fiberglass and vinyl windows

Replacing windows and want them to look historically accurate? Look into our Architect Series® Traditional line of wood windows. Read on for a breakdown of every material type Pella has to offer.

6. Vinyl Replacement Windows
Consider vinyl replacement windows for an easy-to-care-for, energy-efficient product that doesn’t require painting, staining or refinishing. These windows also include multi-chambered frames and fully welded sashes, which add strength and durability.

Choose Pella® 350 Series for top notch energy efficiency, Pella® 250 Series for enhanced personalization, with 11 exterior color options to choose from, or Encompass by Pella® line for quality, affordable craftsmanship.

7. Fiberglass Replacement Windows
For low-maintenance windows that have the quality look of painted wood, fiberglass replacement windows are another durable option that can help withstand extreme heat and subzero cold.

Available in awning, casement, double-hung, single-hung and sliding window styles, our Pella® Impervia fiberglass windows will give you peace of mind and beauty that endures.

8. Wood Replacement Windows
Wood replacement windows offer timeless beauty, warmth and design flexibility – all with exceptional energy efficiency. And, we stand behind them with a limited lifetime warranty*. Available with custom hardware and finish options, integrated security sensors, and between-the-glass blinds, shades and grilles, wood windows can match whatever vision you have in mind.

Whether your vision calls for the fine, thoughtful details of our traditional styling or the clean, smart lines of our contemporary collection – these products are artfully designed in harmony with the style of your home.

Ready to start the replacement window process today? Come visit us at the showroom, Lowe’s or Pella Certified Contractor nearest you and let our window professionals give you an on-the-spot quote.

* View written limited warranty for details, including exceptions and limitations at

This article was written by

Kolbie Creger, Social Media Specialist

An Instagram enthusiast and tiny house fanatic, Kolbie is a member of the Pella Marketing team, focused on social media and brand strategy. In true Iowa fashion, her free time varies by season. You can find her in the gym coaching high school basketball throughout the winter, attempting to roller blade through downtown Des Moines in the spring, and sipping iced coffee on the back of a boat every other chance she gets.

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