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Full Frame Replacement Method

A more thorough but seldom used method to replace windows is the full frame replacement method.  You may ask if this method is more thorough then why isn’t it used more frequently?  There are a few reasons why most people don’t use full frame replacement.

  1. This method requires a larger financial investment by the homeowner. Almost every window company designs and builds their windows differently. So a 3’0″ x 5’0″ can vary in actual size from company to company by more than 2 inches.  Sometimes within the same company that size can vary.  For instance a large company like Pella will make their vinyl window 35 1/2″ x 59 1/2″ and a wood window 37″ x 59″.   What does this mean to you as a homeowner? Well you may have a standard sized window in your home when it is built but if you choose to replace a different company’s windows may be slightly different sizes and the same brand may have changed how they build their standard sizes.  So, you almost always will need a special size window. Special sizes equal extra investment. Also, while some companies may always try to reuse the interior casings of the windows most often the finished installation looks better with new interior casings, especially if your home has standard stock interior casing profiles.  The new interior casings can add between $50 per window to $200 per window depending on the style of casing and how much the replacement company charges to install the interior casing.
  2. The full frame replacement method also requires a larger investment in installation cost. Typically a 3 man crew can install 8-12 windows per day using the pocket replacement method when installed correctly, the same windows using full frame replacement you can install 4-7 per day. So the installation part of the project will be a larger investment as well.  One key thing to this type of installation is how the window is installed using professional interior trim and exterior trim application.  Most companies make applied exterior trim for the windows that look best and a professional trim carpenter can install the interior casing to look and fit great.
  3. Finally the full frame replacement method will require more of an investment in time and intrusion into your home.  The full frame replacement method takes longer and the installers will need to be inside the home to install the interior casing.  Extra drop cloths and flooring protection will be needed. More furniture will need to be moved.  Pictures and wall hangings around the windows will need to be taken down. The big item is typically blinds, shades and shutters that will definitely need to be taken down an reinstalled.  It is possible that those window treatments may not fit your new windows so make sure you question your replacement professional about this possibility.


There are major benefits to this replacement method. Your windows should look original to the home if you order them with factory applied exterior trim and matching new interior casings.  In other words no one will know you replaced your windows by looking at them.  With full frame replacement method you lose very little glass space unlike pocket replacement so if you have small windows in dark rooms you may want to consider full frame replacement.  If you currently have casement windows, awning windows and most fixed windows then you will definitely want to do full frame replacements in order for your project to look nice and not framed down. With full frame replacement you are sure to replace the entire old window, frame and all. You will also be able to inspect the rough opening for any potential hidden damage like water damage, rotting wood, or even termites. Also you will be to fully install flashing tape and foam around the window so you know your window is fully flashed and insulated, this is not always possible with pocket replacement.  So if you are keen on how your home looks and you have an eye for details and want your windows to look as original to new construction as possible then full frame replacement is what you will want.

Source: https://homewindowanddoorreplacement.wordpress.com/