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Full Frame vs Retrofit

There is some debate as to what is the best installation method when it comes to window replacement.

At Northome when it comes to replacing your windows, we have two styles of window replacement that can be customized to suit the character and functionality of your home.

Custom Retrofit Installation

With this method of installation, we use our vinyl window without a brickmold and install it into your existing window frame. This method tends to get a bad reputation largely due to improper execution, and the misconception that this form of installation is only a bandaid fix, or a temporary solution to a larger problem. This, however, is untrue with our EXCLUSIVE system of installing windows this way.   For our companies lifetime we have installed windows in this manner using our exclusive PVC mouldings and unique cladding system. We have homeowners who have had our windows installed in this manner in their homes since the day we started our business back in 1990. Some 26 years later, they continue to enjoy energy savings, ease of operation and comfort that our windows have provided them with. Our windows are made to last a lifetime and we guarantee a perfect fit and finish every time.  

A huge benefit to installing a custom retrofit window system, is that it allows us to position the window flush to your inside wall, no matter the thickness of the wall, bringing the glass to the inside of your home for optimal performance.

Because we work within your existing window frame, the interior mouldings around your windows can be left untouched. Many people prefer this option as it allows you to retain the interior wood work around your windows that typically match the existing trim throughout your home.  It also works the same for the exterior of your home, windows can be installed without causing damage to the exterior of your home, saving you the expense of repairing or replaceing siding, brick, stone or stucco.  You're guaranteed a perfect fit and finish everytime with very little disruption to your home.

How its installed...

We start by removing your old window. We then prepare the window opening , if required we replace any deterioration or rot that we may find, insulate any gaps, line the frame for a smooth level finish and slope the sill for proper watershed. On the inside of the house, we use our patented vinyl "T" moulding, that we will fasten to the inside of your existing window frame. It can be modified to meet up to your interior trim board(casings), leaving a nice clean maintenance free finish.  

The exterior brickmold and prepared frame will then be capped with your choice of a colored pvc coated aluminum cladding. A thin cut is made around the perimeter of your existing brickmold allowing the metal cladding to be tucked back to your original sheeting. It is then sealed with a clear paintable caulking.  All joints of the metal cladding are blind caulked under the cladding to provide an additonal seal against water infiltration.

Our vinyl window is then installed into the prepared opening sitting over top of the metal cladding and butted up firmly against the interior "T" that was first put on. Sealant is applied between the "T" and the vinyl window creating a hidden seal. The window is checked to make sure that it is level and is sitting plumb and true.  The vinyl window is then fastened securely to the frame. A third layer of sealant is then applied around the exterior perimeter of the frame. We then use our exclusive trim piece called a "Rebate" this moulding clips into an accessory groove on the exterior of our vinyl window frame covering the sealant that was applied around the perimeter of the frame. This protects the sealants from deteriorating from the elements and provides a nice clean finish.  

Full Frame Window Replacement

This method of window installation removes your existing window entirely and a new full brickmold PVC window is inserted into the existing rough opening.  A full frame window consists of our vinyl window (box insert) with an exterior brickmold attached as well as interior jamb extensions customized to your wall depth. This method can be used in any application, either new construction or a home improvement situation. 

In some cases the existing interior trim can be reused, but many people will opt to purchase new upgraded casings or pvc maintenance free casings. This method of window replacement is best used when the existing window frames are in poor condition and are changing interior trim or exterior finishing and want to maximize the size of their glass.

How it is installed:

The entire existing window will be removed.  The rough opening will be inspected for deterioraton, lack of insulation and structural deficiencies.  After inspection is complete and any defieciencies addressed, we will lay down a peel and stick waterproofing membrane such as "blue skin" on the sill.  On the exterior, a sealant will be applied on the wall sheeting around the perimeter of the rough opening.  The window will then be installed into the opening with the nailing flange or reno brickmold making contact with the sealant. Tuck tape is applied around the perimeter when the nailing flange is used.  The window will be checked to make sure it is level, plumb and true.  Once this is confirmed the window is then screwed in place through the brickmold or nailing fin. Once the window is secured, spray foam is applied around the inside perimeter of the window, then it is back filled with fiberglass insulation and a vapour barrier is applied. The interior can then be finished with the clients desired finishing materials. 

We offer many options from nailing fins to renovation brickmolds with interior jamb extensions of different widths to accomodate various wall widths.  Our new exclusive exterior jamb extension paired with our vinyl window and renovation brickmold allows us to bring the window flush to the inside wall on a 2 x 6 wall, allowing you optimal glass performance. 

When it comes to window projects and trying to decide which method of installation is best suited for the character and functionality, remember that no two homes are alike.  What may work for one home does not necessarily work for your home. A poorly installed window is going to cause issues later on no matter what method of installation was used.  This is why it is important to work with a reputable window company specializing in custom window installation. Our job is to get it right for you. Once our trained window consultant has assessed your particular window project, they can recommend which method of installation will work for your home.

Remember, in either method the actual window is the same.  With Northome, it is always a window of the absolute highest performance, only installed in different manners - with or without the use of a PVC brickmold and/or jamb extension.