When we meet with customers to discuss replacement windows, we find that most people are not aware that there are two ways to replace windows. This is different than windows for new construction, where there is only one choice. In window replacement, you can choose between insert vs. full frame windows. We are here to help you understand the difference between the two and why one might be better for your replacement project.
What is Insert Window Replacement?
A quick explanation: Insert window replacement is when new windows are installed within the existing frame. Only the old sash, hardware and covers are removed and replaced.
- Benefit: less extensive installation and typically lower cost; preserves existing interior and exterior trim
- Limitation: only an option if you have structurally sound wood or aluminum frames—and you may see a slight reduction of light opening
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When you choose insert window replacement, new windows are installed within the existing window frame. Also known as “frame-in-frame replacement” or a “pocket window,” it’s an option when your existing wood or aluminum window frames are structurally sound and you want to preserve existing interior and exterior trim. The existing sash, operating hardware, and covers are removed and the new window unit is inserted into the old frame, where it is anchored, insulated and sealed.
What is Full Frame Window Replacement?
A quick explanation: Full frame window replacement is when existing windows are completely removed down to the studs. Then the new window is installed in the opening.
- Benefit: Allows a professional to inspect for and repair water damage. Also, offering flexibility to replace with a new style or size window
- Limitation: More extensive installation and typically higher cost; requires removal of interior and exterior trim, and occasionally siding
How to Install Full Frame Replacement Windows:
When you choose full frame window replacement, existing windows or doors are completely removed down to the studs, along with interior and exterior trim—and occasionally some siding—and the new window is installed in the opening. By exposing the original opening, full frame replacement allows for inspection and repair of areas with rotting wood and water damage where the existing window’s failure has allowed weather into your home’s structure.
the original opening, full-frame replacement allows for inspection and repair of areas with rotting wood and water damage where the existing window’s failure has allowed weather into your home’s structure.
Full frame replacement is a more extensive installation process and typically carries a higher price point. But it also offers the flexibility of replacing with a new style or size window. Consider replacing a hard-to-reach double-hung window with an easy-to-open awning window over the sink. You can add a door where there was a window, or extend your view and let more light into a room by bringing the window sill closer to the floor or your kitchen counter. Changing the size can affect the price, but working within the height and width of the existing opening can help to limit additional expenses.
Full frame replacement is usually necessary when:
- You have vinyl frames
- Your frames have sustained damage over the years
- You are remodeling your home
Looking for more guidance?
Get a Free In-Home Estimate on Replacement Windows Today
It’s easy to get the process started. Just get in touch with us for a free in-home estimate. Remember: we don’t subject you to high-pressure sales pitches! We just want to match you with the right windows for your home. Fill out our online form or call us at 617-884-8940. You’re also welcome to visit our Boston showroom located at 280 2nd Street in Chelsea, MA. Our hours are Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.