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Window Installation: To Brick to Brick or Retrofit?

Planning a home renovation project can feel like a daunting task starting with many questions to be asked, comparisons to be made, and misconceptions to dissect. When it comes to windows in particular, the first decision to be made is whether to have your project installed “retrofit” or “brick to brick.” Brock Doors & Windows shares their expertise.

“At Brock Doors & Windows, this is one of many reasons we provide free in home estimates. By having the opportunity to see the homeowner’s current products and how their previous installation was done, we can determine what is the best route for their project and give a clear picture of the end result to be expected,” says Kaileigh Donelle, who tells us about the differences.

Retrofit Installation

A “retrofit” installation means a replacement window is installed into the existing wood frame. The glass is cut out of the frame and everything around the window remains intact. The new window is then screwed into the existing frame.

The advantages of this type of installation appeals mostly to consumers living in older homes who’d like the historical character both inside and out to remain the same. You’re guaranteed to be able to keep your existing trim, blinds, and shutters, says Donelle. Retrofit installations can be a much more cost efficient option, as the labour required is significantly less when the installers aren’t replacing the entire frame.

Here's an example of what a retrofit window installation looks like, courtesy of Brock Doors & Windows.

Here’s an example of what a retrofit window installation looks like, courtesy of Brock Doors & Windows.

Some of the disadvantages with windows that have been installed retrofit is there is no way to know what’s behind the existing frame.  You have noticeably less glass because you are essentially putting a window inside a window, and cosmetically it’s less attractive, she says. Retrofit installation cannot be performed on vinyl windows.

Some fabulous window work done by Brock.

Some fabulous window work done by Brock.

Brick to Brick Installation

A “brick to brick” installation involves removing the complete frame, casing, jams, existing brick mould, and trim. The entire window is cut out and the opening or any deteriorating wood is cleaned out entirely. The new window with complete frame is put in, leveled and screwed into place. Shims are used for any unlevel areas around the opening to ensure the window will stay level and secure. Brick to brick installations allow for windows to be foam-insulated thoroughly all around the new frame, guaranteeing a perfectly tight seal.

Brand new window sills, casing, trim, and brick mould make a significant difference in the look and feel of your home, says Donelle.

Brick to brick window installation courtesy of Brock Doors & Windows.

Brick to brick window installation courtesy of Brock Doors & Windows.

Although a brick to brick installation is the more expensive option, you have the reassurance that you won’t need to replace these same windows again for decades. “At Brock Doors & Windows, the most common feedback we receive is from homeowners who were surprised because they did not expect for new windows to give their entire home an upgraded look,” says Donelle.

Which window installation is right for your home? Contact the window experts at Brock to find out!

Which window installation is right for your home? Contact the window experts at Brock to find out!

The best way to make a knowledgeable, confident decision for your home renovation project is to have an industry specialist come to your home, discuss your budget, and recommend options for your home or problems you’re experiencing. Visit Brock Doors & Windows online and book your free in home, no pressure, estimate today!

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