Many homeowners may not realize that there is more than one way to replace windows, the two most popular being “full frame” and “insert.”
Window inserts are fully operational windows installed within an existing window opening. With a window insert, the old interior and exterior trims stay intact. We take out the sashes and track but leave the buck frame and the brick molding. We cap over the brick mold with a maintenance-free coil stock. The existing sill stays too, and it gets custom wrapped as well.
When we do a full frame installation, all of the existing window is removed, all the way down to the 2 by 4s of the house. We call what’s left the “rough opening.” We’ve taken out the sashes, the sills, as well as the exterior brick mold and interior trims.
So with a full frame window installation, everything gets replaced! Including your interior trim, which will be unfinished, so you will have to decide whether to stain or paint it. But you are getting a fully assembled window, with the exterior brick molding already on it.
Full Frame or Insert?
Now, the question remains, which installation should you choose, full frame or insert? That question is probably best answered by your house. If you live in a home that has been designated historically significant, for example, chances are the historical society will have guidelines in place when it comes to renovations. And no doubt you wish to respect the historical integrity of your home even if it is not a heritage structure.
In either case, full frame is probably not the best way to go. Because you won’t want the exterior window frame to be removed. An insert replacement window would be the better choice in order to maintain the integrity of your home’s heritage exterior. Just know that you can choose those traditional, full divided light grilles on any replacement window you do select.
Although the insert replacement method is less invasive than the full frame installation, the object of both methods is, ultimately, to maintain your home’s architectural integrity so that it looks seamless and beautiful for years and years. Full frame installation is highly recommended, however, where there is significant rot or deterioration to the wood of the exterior frame components.
Clearly, whether your beautiful home is nine years old or a hundred and nine, whether you choose to install full frame or insert, Andersen does have a window that’s right for you.