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Full-Frame vs. Insert Window Replacement: Which is Better?

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When it comes to upgrading your home’s windows, one important decision you’ll face is whether to opt for full-frame or insert window replacement. The differences between full-frame vs. insert window replacement can significantly impact the outcome of your exterior remodeling project.

In this blog, we will explore both options in detail, helping you make an informed choice that aligns with your specific needs and preferences. Whether you prioritize preserving the original window size, maximizing energy efficiency, or staying within a budget, we’ll provide insights to guide your decision-making process.

Full-Frame Window Replacement

Full-frame window replacement, also known as new construction windows, is a method where the entire window, including the trim from both the interior and exterior, is removed. This process takes the window down to the studs, and a new window is then installed in its place. It’s like giving your home a fresh start in the window department.

One significant advantage of full-frame replacement is that it preserves the original window size. Your new window fits precisely into the existing opening, ensuring you don’t lose any valuable glass viewing area. If done correctly, this method offers a seamless fit, with proper flashing and foam insulation to enhance energy efficiency.

Benefits of Full-Frame Installation

Choosing a full-frame installation can be a smart move for homeowners. Here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Preservation of Window Size: As mentioned earlier, you maintain the original window size, maximizing your view and natural light intake.
  2. Proper Flashing and Sealing: When done by a reputable company, full-frame installation ensures proper sealing and insulation, reducing drafts and improving energy efficiency.
  3. Aesthetically Pleasing: The exterior of the new window is clad with attractive exterior trim, giving your home a polished look.

Misconceptions about Pocket or Insert Windows

Now, let’s talk about pocket or insert windows, which sometimes get a bad reputation. Some people believe that insert windows are merely “popping” a new window into the old frame. However, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Insert windows are designed to fit into existing wood window frames, which were the norm in older homes. Instead of stripping the window down to the frame and removing interior and exterior trim, only the sashes and mechanics are removed. The new insert window fits snugly into the existing frame, sealed with foam insulation. This method allows you to replace any old, rotted wood on the frames, jams, or sills, ensuring a solid and attractive finish.

Process and Benefits of Replacement Windows

Here are some benefits of choosing pocket or insert windows:

  1. Affordability: Since you don’t have to remove interior trim or go down to the studs, insert window replacement tends to be more budget-friendly.
  2. Performance: When installed correctly, insert windows perform excellently, addressing any air infiltration issues your old windows may have had.

Both full-frame and insert window replacements have their merits, and the choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and budget.


In the end, the decision between full-frame vs. insert window replacement boils down to what suits your home and preferences best. If preserving the original window size and maximizing energy efficiency are your top priorities, full-frame replacement may be the way to go. On the other hand, if budget considerations and performance are more critical, insert windows can be an excellent choice.

If you’re still unsure about which option is right for you, we recommend contacting us for a consultation. We’ll work with you to find the perfect solution for your window replacement needs.

dave donofrio

Dave Donofrio

Owner & CEO

Dave Donofrio is owner and CEO of All Star Products, LLC.  After a two decade career at James Hardie, Dave partnered with the team at All Star to bring advances in exterior remodeling material and technology, while preserving the family friendly, customer oriented approached that been the key to All Star’s success over the last 35 years.


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