Can You Replace Windows Without Replacing Frames?

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Is it possible to replace windows without replacing frames? When you should avoid it, and when it’s okay!

A general contractor replacing windows without replacing frames.


Most people want to save as much money as possible on home renovation. So, you may find it tempting to request that your contractor replace windows without replacing the frames. Homeowners ask us if we can do it fairly often. Our answer is always the same: it depends.


Most of the time, putting a new window in an old frame is doable. This is commonly known as an “in-pocket” installation. Essentially, we remove the old window, and a new window is put right into the pre-existing frame with no problem. It’s quick, simple, and fairly inexpensive.


But there are some situations where an in-pocket installation may not be possible. We will go over when that is the case and what you can do about it below.


In Pocket Window Installation Vs Full Frame Window Replacement


When replacing your windows, you have two main options. Your first option is an in-pocket window installation. The second is a full-frame window replacement. Here’s a closer look at each option:


In-pocket window installation 


An in-pocket window installation involves removing your current window sash and installing a new one within the existing frame. This approach is typically less expensive than a full-frame replacement since it does not require any new framing. It is less time-consuming as well. If you want to maintain your home’s original aesthetics, an in-pocket installation can help. Since you are not altering your existing frames in any way, the way your home looks can only change but so much. 


Full-frame window replacement


A full-frame window replacement involves removing the entire window, including the frame, from your home. Your contractor will then put in a new frame before replacing your window. This approach is more expensive and time-consuming than an in-pocket installation. But it provides a more secure and energy-efficient solution because your window installer can address any damage affecting the area.


If your existing frames are warped, rotten, or otherwise damaged, then they may need to be replaced. In these cases, a full window replacement is often the best option. Full-frame window replacement is ideal for updating your home’s appearance. It allows you to transform both your interior and exterior. But the benefits run much deeper than that. 


In-Pocket Window Installation Vs. full-frame replacement comparison chart.


Should You Replace Windows Without Replacing The Frames?


The type of window installation you choose is entirely up to you. But there are pros and cons to each that you should consider. If you’re looking for time and cost efficiency, and your home is generally in good condition, you may want to replace windows without replacing the frames for the energy efficiency benefits.


But if you have water damage, wood rot, bent frames, or mold, then an in-pocket window installation may not work for you.


Investing in a full-frame window replacement covers everything you need to ensure nothing will compromise the integrity of your home improvement project 2, 5, or even 10 years from now. Either way, working with an expert can help you assess the situation and determine the best course of action.


What Type Of Window Installation Is Best For You?


While an in-pocket installation is fine for some homeowners looking to replace their windows, it is not always possible. With the right approach, you can achieve the look and functionality you desire without breaking the bank or compromising the integrity of your home’s structure.

Contact us today for a free quote. Our experts will measure, inspect the area, and provide the information you need to make the most out of your next window replacement.