Full Frame Window Replacement Cost

If you live in an older home, you might have noticed deterioration in your windows over time.

Maybe the frames are starting to decay, or too much air is getting through the windows. Maybe they aren’t letting in as much light as you would like.

The way to fix these issues is to get some full frame window replacements.

This can be a costly exercise because a full frame replacement involves removing the entire structure of the window from the wall of the house.

New framed windows are then fitted into either the existing space or an enlarged space.

A full frame replacement is a more complicated operation than merely replacing window glass into existing frames. Before you make this significant investment in your home, make sure you are aware of all the factors that affect full frame window replacement costs.  

What Is A Full Frame Window Replacement?

A full frame window replacement involves structural changes to both the inside and outside walls of the house. The window space will have to be stripped right down to the studs that hold the frame in place.

Any damaged wood will be replaced with new, sturdy wooden frames. Installers will often place a sill pan at the bottom of the opening that moves water away from the walls to the outside, if moisture gets inside.

On the interior side, this type of window replacement involves fixing the drywall once the new window has been installed. On the exterior side, there might be brickwork in place that will need to be fixed up after the installation.

As you can guess, full frame window replacement costs are higher than a standard replacement. However, there are a few benefits to this kind of extensive operation!

Full Frame Window Replacement Benefits

Full frame installations won’t suit every homeowner. You will not need a full replacement if you just want to replace one or two windows in the home, and you don’t want to change the design of the woodwork or the casing around the opening of the window.  

Full frame replacement will benefit you in the following circumstances:

  • If you need a larger opening to comply with fire egress codes for windows.
  • If the existing window frame or woodwork is rotten, has termites, or is otherwise damaged beyond repair.
  • If the windows need modification to comply with Homeowners/Condo associations.
  • If the opening lacks proper insulation for energy efficiency.
  • If you want to switch the window frames to allow for optimal glass area and extra lighting in the home.

Full Frame Replacement Window Costs

Full frame windows are the most expensive replacement option, because they involve the most labor, materials and skill.

The average cost for full frame replacement windows is between $400 to $800 per window. Given the average home will likely have around twenty windows, you can expect to pay about $8,000 to $12,000 to replace them all, and more if the window frame openings need any additional work or replacement.

Full Frame vs Retrofit Window Replacement

Window replacements are available as a full frame or retrofit replacement windows. Here you can see some of the factors to take note of when you’re deciding between full or pocket replacements:

Full-Frame Windows Retrofit Windows
Installation: $150-$1,000Installation: $100-$300
Available only in standard sizes Custom sizes available
Drywall must be removed to expose studs Set into existing framing
Windows are cheaper but installation is more costlyWindows are more costly but installation is less
Necessary if the frame is damaged, or when remodelingGood for simple renovations and updating home
Extra costs from an interior and exterior wall finish No additional costs from stripping back walls

Do You Need A Professional?

Unless you are a professional builder yourself, it’s best not to attempt these replacements as a DIY project.

Replacing the windows in your home is not as easy as YouTube videos might have you believe!

Advantages of hiring a professional window installer include:

Quality work: This is a craft that professionals take years to perfect, and they know all the pitfalls to avoid.

Equipment: A full frame replacement requires specialized tools – not the usual DIY equipment you have in your garage. 

Speed: If you do the job yourself, expect to be surrounded by rubble and inconvenience for about 10 times longer than with a professional! Remember, this is a large hole in the side of your home – you want it closed up effectively and quickly.


Full frame window replacement is a costly and labor-intensive exercise, off-putting for many homeowners.

However, professionals will often tell you it’s by far the most effective way to fix the look and functioning of your windows. For homes with very old wooden windows, it’s often the only replacement option.

If it fits into your budget, and you’re prepared for the temporary inconvenience, then it’s a great way to improve your home and increase its value.