Owens Construction
Owens Construction
9890 Olentangy River Rd
PowellOH 43065
 (614) 846-1149

Insert Replacement vs. Full-Frame Replacement Windows

Insert Replacement vs. Full-Frame Replacement Windows

When deciding whether to replace the windows in your home with insert replacement or full-frame replacement windows, it helps to consider both the benefits and disadvantages of each of these options.

Insert Replacement Windows: Pros and Cons

The use of insert replacement windows doesn't require making changes to the window frame or other parts of the existing window structure, including the trim on the inside and outside of the window. 

Homeowners often select the insert replacement window option because it takes less time to remove the old window and install a new window. Since it isn't necessary for installers to make changes to the window opening, fewer man hours in addition to the need to purchase fewer window parts means paying less than you would pay for full-frame replacement windows. However, the drawback is that an insert replacement window will not work if:

  • The wooden window frame is in poor condition
  • The window frame is not square or level
  • The window opening and frame require a non-standard size replacement window

An Insert Replacement Window Won't Work if the Frame is in Poor Condition

Additional Disadvantages

Since an insert replacement window has its own window frame that fits into the larger structural window frame of your home, the windows have less glass, particularly if they have wide frames. This is a disadvantage because windows with more glass have a larger surface that reflects radiant energy to help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

In addition, old window frames often are inefficient when it comes to saving energy by minimizing heat loss. If the existing window frame loses heat, the window structure won't be as energy efficient even if you purchase an energy-efficient insert replacement window. With an insert replacement window, installers can't put more insulation between the opening and the frame or apply flashing tape to the sill so that rain can't leak in around the windows.

Another disadvantage of insert replacement windows is the lack of a broad selection of choices, which limits the sizes and styles of windows from which you can choose.

Full-Frame Replacement Windows: Pros and Cons

Homeowners sometimes opt for full-frame replacement windows instead of insert replacement windows. But since only the rough window opening remains after removing the old window, the installers need additional materials to complete the job. For instance, they must replace the window sill and trim, which may require painting or staining to match the other windows throughout the home. The extra work involved increases the cost of replacing a window.

Although full-frame replacement windows cost more than insert replacement windows — generally up to 25 percent more — the additional cost can pay for itself quickly. A key benefit of replacing the entire window structure is that you can update your windows to make them more energy efficient.

It also may be necessary to install full-frame replacement windows if the existing wood window frames and sills are rotted or damaged beyond reasonable repair. The need for a larger window frame to offer an escape in case of a fire and to meet current building code regulations during a remodel are other reasons why homeowners choose the full-frame window replacement option. 

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Factors to Consider

When deciding which window replacement option will fit your needs, consider whether:

  • Your home has a significant energy efficiency problem
  • The existing window structures are in poor condition
  • You want to change the size and/or style of the windows or keep the current design
  • You are looking for a simple and less expensive option for replacing the old windows in your home

No matter which option you choose, Owens Construction can help. If you need to replace a window or have any other questions about home projects, give us a call at 614-846-1149 or visit our website.