NAPA — When it comes to replacing residential windows, there are two different methods in use: new construction and retrofit. With the new construction method, the windows and frames are completely removed and replaced, a process that requires disrupting sections of the home exterior. With the retrofit method, the window glass and other components are retrofitted into the existing frames, which allows the home exterior to remain undisturbed.

The main factor to consider when choosing a replacement option is the character of your home exterior. For homes with wood siding exteriors, new construction can be a good option, as the new window frames will hide any imperfections caused by removing sections of the siding. For stucco homes, on the other hand, retrofitting is the best option. Installing new construction windows on a stucco house requires large sections of stucco to be removed around each window. After the windows are installed, these sections need to be patched with new stucco, and additional interior sheetrock work may also be necessary. Furthermore, since the new stucco wouldn’t match the existing stucco exterior, you’d likely need to repaint your entire house just to make it look right.

For these reasons, retrofitting is a much more practical and economical option for replacing windows in a stucco home. The only noticeable difference with a retrofit window is the loss of roughly one-quarter to one-half of an inch on the window’s width and height. However, that’s a small price to pay to avoid a lot of extra stucco, sheetrock and painting work.