<iframe title="Google Tag Manager" src="https://www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-WGSBCJ" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"></iframe>
Skip to Content

Know the Difference: Full Frame vs. Pocket Window Replacements


on January 4, 2018


Replacing your windows is no easy task. It’s difficult to know what the process is, how to replace it and what materials you will need to get the job done effectively. The truth is that there are several different methods of installing replacement windows: full frame installation or pocket installation. The right fit depends on your home and situation.

In order to plan for a quality window replacement, you must understand the difference between full frame window replacements and pocket replacements.

Full frame window replacement

Full frame replacement

Full frame window installation replaces the existing window frame and sashes. To do this, the previous frame, sashes, screen and trim have to be removed in order to make way for the new full frame window. Usually this can be done with a utility knife, screwdrivers, pry bar, hammer, putty knife, and circular saw, depending on your existing window.

Basically, full frame window installations completely replace your previous windows, and is a common option for homeowners that want to change the size or shape of their window or want a different window type.

Pocket window installation

Pocket replacement

Pocket window replacement is slightly different than full frame replacement. Instead of removing the window frame, like in a full frame replacement, the pocket window can fit inside your existing window frame. This type of replacement is also commonly referred to as insert window installation. The existing window sashes and exterior stops of the old double-hung or single-hung window should be removed for the new window to be placed. Pocket replacements allow you to keep the original frame, trim, siding, and casing intact, and are commonly used when homeowners want to replace a worn window with a new window that’s the same size, and the current window frame is still square, level, and in good condition. It may also be advantageous when the exterior material of the home would be more impacted.

Full frame vs. insert window replacement

Whether you choose a full frame replacement or a pocket replacement depends on your specific situation and need. To help you determine which one would be a better fit for your home, consider the following differences and comparison.


The condition of your frame can be one of the biggest determining factors for the type of replacement installation you need. If there’s no damage to your existing frame and your frame is square, then a pocket replacement might be possible. However, if there is damage to your frame or it isn’t square, then a full frame installation will most likely be required.


Sometimes, size is what truly matters when it comes to replacing your windows. If the window you’re replacing can be the same size as the previous window, then a pocket installation may work. If you need a larger opening and a different window size, then a full frame installation can be done to remove the previous frame and open up your window area.

Should you choose pocket or full frame installation?

When you replace the entire frame, the installer can inspect the entire area, including the rough opening. A full frame installation can have some advantages.

In the end, both options of window replacement installations can be effective, but it depends on your frame, size needs and additional options. Be sure to ask your window installer what method is recommended for your project.

Schedule a free consultation to find windows and doors for your home.