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Replacing your windows and doors is a common home improvement project that almost every homeowner will need to undertake in their lifetime. But just because it is a common project, it doesn’t mean that everyone is aware of the ins and outs involved with a window replacement or even their different replacement options. There are two main ways to replace your windows. There is full frame installation and pocket installation. What is the difference between the two? More importantly, which type of window replacement should you opt for?

Here is a description of both replacement methods and a few scenarios that outline when each option is a good solution.

Full Frame Installation

Full frame installation is where your window contractors replace your window as a whole. So, that means they will remove the old window, exterior moldings and interior trim and they will replace them all with new ones. Some scenarios where a full frame installation would come in handy are homes with rotting frames and sills that a simple repair can’t fix, homes that are newly built, homes that have windows that were installed improperly and homes fitted with windows that are just not your style or offer the function you want. There are 4 main components to the full frame installation process. This includes the removal of the old window and frame, preparing the opening for the new window, installing the new window and finishing the window which includes insulating around the window and installing caulking on the outside and trim work on the inside. Some of the pros of having a full frame windows installation is that it’s the best option for severely damaged windows, it’s the most logical for achieving a new style of a window opening, it allows installers to improve insulation in windows and it provides peace of mind for the homeowner as the entire window unit has been replaced with a new unit. The cons associated with getting a full frame installation is that it’s labour intensive, so it does cost more, it could lead to energy loss while the window is removed and it uses more materials which will again affect the cost.

Pocket Installation

A pocket installation is when the installers replace the windows and keep the existing frame in the opening. So, instead of removing the entire window unit, the replacement window will slide into the existing frame. There are two types of replacement windows, a flush finish replacement window and a block-fit replacement window. Certain scenarios that would make a pocket installation useful are upgrading a home’s exterior, saving money on a window investment and having a maintenance-free window upgrade. There are many steps to a pocket installation. Some of the steps include removing the old window panes, cleaning off the old frame and preparing for the new window panes  and cleaning up any debris from the steps listed above. The main reason why people choose a pocket installation for their windows is because it is affordable compared to a full frame installation.A pocket window or just glass installation is also much quicker than a full frame installation. This option is also good for individuals that have windows that are in good condition, but have several window panes that have lost their seal and are fogged up in between the glass. Some of the pocket installation cons to keep in mind are the frames are still original and have already sustained some wear and tear, there’s a chance that the frame becomes damaged during the pane removal or installation, this type of replacement is often considered a short term solution and the warranties will only cover the window panes.

In most situations we recommend completing a full window or full frame replacement, this ensures that your new windows are ready to take on the harshest elements, while providing your with the best energy efficiency rating and operates smoothly. The only time we suggest replacing just the window panes is when the glass itself is damaged or the seal is broken on your pane. Hopefully the above information will help you when it comes time to decide what type of window replacement is best for you.