Full Frame vs. Insert Window Replacement Comparisons

When the time comes to replace your windows, it can be overwhelming to choose the right window for you with so many options to choose from.  A big decision that needs to be made right away is whether you need a full frame window replacement or an insert window replacement. Both have their benefits and drawbacks.

Let’s discuss what the difference is between a full-frame window replacement and an insert window replacement, what situations each is best suited for, and how they’re installed. 

What is a Full-Frame Window Replacement?

A full-frame window replacement is when the entirety of the existing window is completely removed down to the studs, and the new window is installed in its place. 


  • A full-frame window replacement offers more style and size options for the new window
  • They allow for a professional to expect and repair any water damage that’s present
  • They offer better weather proofing. Without the full-frame option, it’s hard to tell if you will still have drafts or leaks with your windows


  • A full-frame window replacement is a more extensive installation that comes with a higher cost
  • They require the removal of exterior and interior trim and occasionally, siding

How Are Full Frame Replacement Windows Installed?

For a full frame replacement, the existing windows will need to be completely removed down to the studs. This includes removing the interior and exterior trim, as well. In bad damage cases, there may be occasions when the siding will need to be replaced, too.

If the new window is the same size as the old window, then the new window frame can be fitted into the hole left behind, secured, and sealed. If it’s a different size than the old window, then the contractor may have to cut the existing trim, siding, and studs, or build additional support and new trim. 

Need Assistance? Our Team Of Technicians Offers Fast & Reliable Window Replacement Services in JanesvilleElmhurstEvanstonMiddletonSchaumburg, & Other Locations

When Should a Full Frame Window Be Replaced?

The average residential window has a lifespan of 15 to 30 years, or a little longer if your windows are maintained well. 

You should look into a full-frame window replacement if you notice: 

  • Drafts in your home
  • Leaking windows
  • Freezing windows
  • Lack of curb appeal
  • Hard-to-close locks
  • Rising energy bills
  • Lack of soundproofing
  • Damaged window frames
  • Condensation on the panes

If you’re unsure if your window needs a full-frame replacement, you can call a professional. They will examine the exterior trim, sill, upper sash, and lower sash to determine what the best option is. 

Full-frame window replacement

What is an Insert Window Replacement?

An insert window replacement is when the new window is installed within an already existing frame.  Only the sash, covers, and hardware are removed and replaced. 


  • An insert window replacement is a less extensive installation that typically comes with a lower cost
  • They preserve the existing exterior and interior trim


  • An insert window replacement is only an option if your frames are structurally sound
  • There may be a slight reduction in light
  • It’s difficult to match the color 100% to the existing frames
  • You cannot properly guarantee or prevent drafts and leaks
  • You cannot guarantee energy efficiency

How Are Window Inserts Installed?

Window inserts are only recommended if the previous frame is square and level. There cannot be any signs of water damage, either. If your existing frames are in good condition, then window inserts are a quicker and lower-cost replacement. 

They work well to fix a single window that’s broken or multiple windows that have the same size and style. The installation is generally simple, as just the old window needs to be removed and the new one fits in the same spot within the existing frame. 

Need Help? Our Team Provides Window Replacement Services to Homes in EvanstonElmhurstLombardMadison, & Other Areas

When Should Window Inserts Be Replaced?

Like with full-frame replacements, a window insert is an option for the replacement of a window that is 15-30 years old and at the end of its lifespan. 

These are an option for windows with frames that are in good condition and replacements that are the same size. They are a quicker and cheaper option than full-frame replacements, if you meet the criteria. 

If you’re unsure if you need a window insert replacement, a professional can examine the frame and the window to determine the best option for you. 

Window Installation

Elevate Your Home With NEXT Door & Window

At NEXT Door & Window, we specialize and usually recommend full frame replacement. We know that this is the best way to guarantee the quality of the product you are getting. Mismatching inserts with existing frames can present a lot of problems. However, the benefits and drawbacks of full frame replacements are presented so that you can make the best decision for your home. We guarantee that our premier products and high-quality services will exceed your expectations.

We guarantee that our premier products and efficient, professional, and high-quality services will exceed your expectations. Our red-carpet experience with access to your own project manager will ensure that you stay informed on the progress of your installation or replacement.

We are proud to offer: 

  • Premier Products
  • Five-Star Service
  • An A+ BBB Rating 
  • Experienced Technicians
  • Custom Factory Paint And Stain Before Installation

Elevate your home with premium windows that boost curb appeal, increase energy efficiency, and show off your style. 

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