When it comes to window replacement, there are two main options: new window inserts and full-frame replacements. You may see a window replacement company advertising one over the other, and it helps to understand the difference between the two. If you have old and drafty windows, it’s time to replace them. But what kind of replacement should you choose?

Full-Frame Window Replacements

Full-frame window replacements are when the entire window—the trim, insulation, and everything around it—is stripped out and replaced entirely. There are many benefits to doing this:

  • The windows will be more energy efficient because the entire frame will be replaced.
  • They provide a better seal: since the entire frame is replaced, there is a better chance that the seal will be tight and not allow any air or moisture to enter.
  • They can last longer: full-frame replacements are more durable because all the materials are new. They tend to last longer than window inserts.
  • They allow for more customization options, such as different materials and finishes.

There aren’t many drawbacks to full-frame replacements. The costs are similar, and homeowners generally do not have any difficulty finding matching trim to what already exists in their home.

Window Inserts

Windows inserts do not replace the materials surrounding the window. Instead, a window is slotted into the existing opening and fit to the existing trim, insulation, etc. There are many drawbacks to window inserts:

  • They may not fit properly: if your window frame is damaged, then a new insert may not fit properly. This effect can lead to air and water leaks.
  • They may not be as energy-efficient: if your current window frame is not energy-efficient, a new insert will not be either.
  • They may not last as long: since window inserts do not replace all the surrounding material, they may not last as long as a full-frame replacement.
  • The seals placed around the insert may fail, allowing moisture and air to enter the home.

The only benefit is that homeowners can maintain the original frame, but the drawbacks far outweigh the benefits. In general, it’s only beneficial to do a window insert if a newer window is damaged and just needs to be quickly replaced. Full-framed replacements are more energy-efficient, provide a better seal, and last longer. They also allow for more customization options, materials, and finishes.

If you are looking for the best possible window, then a full-frame replacement is the way.

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