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Can I Replace Windows Without Replacing the Frame?

One of the most common questions we receive from customers is whether they can replace the windows without also replacing the existing window frame. The answer is yes, this can be done, and while it’s generally advisable to also replace the frame, there are some circumstances in which only replacing the window is not only possible but also sensible.

In the process of window insert replacement, a new window is installed inside the existing window frame. If you have structurally sound window frames and it doesn’t make sense to start from scratch there, you can keep that existing interior and exterior trim intact and only replace the window itself.

You will need to remove the existing sash and jamb liners. The new window can then be inserted into the existing frame, where it will be sealed, anchored and insulated.

You might choose to go this route for your window replacement in the following circumstances:

  • You have not sustained any water damage in the window frame or noticed any signs of rot or deterioration
  • The window frame is in generally good condition
  • You believe the existing window frame to be attractive and want to maintain the same style
  • You need a replacement window that will be the exact same shape, size and style of operation

Pros and cons

There are some advantages and disadvantages associated with window replacement while keeping the frame in place.

The primary benefit of using insert replacement windows rather than replacing the whole system is that it will be a much more affordable option than full frame replacement. If you don’t have to spend the money, then why do it?

Installation with replacement windows is less extensive and time-consuming than the process that is required for a full frame replacement. You will be able to complete the job quickly without having to deal with long-term production for the project.

Finally, you get to preserve the interior and exterior trim, which is beneficial for keeping some of the authenticity and style of your home.

With regard to drawbacks, first you should know that this form of replacement is only an option if you have structurally-sound aluminum or wood frames in your home. If the frames are in poor condition, you will not be able to leave them in place.

You may have to reduce the amount of glass surface as a result of going this route with replacement. This could reduce visibility or alter the aesthetics of the window.

At some point, the frame will need to be replaced anyway, so there’s a possibility that by getting the frame and window off the same replacement schedule, it could come back to be a nuisance later on.

Ultimately, insert window replacement is a great way to save money and maintain the same aesthetics you’ve grown to love about your home—so long as it’s a legitimate option for you. For more information about window and frame replacement, contact us at The Glass Shop with any questions you have.