We just got new windows and we noticed as they were installing them that they were leaving in the aluminum framing and weighted/pulley system of the previous window insert replacement. This has now caused the size of our window to shrink an additional 2" and creating a massive gap of trim work to the wall, a large portion of which is just vinyl flashing that is applied simply by stick on adhesive.

I understand that we did not order a "full frame replacement" but I was also of the understanding that the entire previous insert should be coming out and the new insert should go down to the original house frame within 5/8”. Or am I mistaken? As is, it is a frame inside a frame which feels incorrect.

There were already replacement windows installed in the ~90s and the new one's are being installed within those.

  • 3
    Sanity check: Are you saying that there were replacement windows already installed, and the new ones are being installed within those?
    – keshlam
    Commented May 23 at 13:32
  • Standard practice is doing it the cheap way, so... yes? "the new insert should go down to the original house frame" = "full frame replacement". Don't confuse sash (the window) with window frame (the part attached to the house). "As is, it is a frame inside a frame" no, it's a frame in a rough opening, that now has a new window (and its frame) inside the old frame. But if it's a new frame in an old frame, in an old frame, in a rough opening, then that's BS. Picture?
    – Mazura
    Commented May 24 at 2:14

1 Answer 1


That is exactly standard for "replacement windows" sold as such, sized to be inserted in the old frame (so smaller glass area) and does not disturb the flashing/siding/etc.

If you wanted new-construction type windows (which you call "full-frame replacement") to replace your old windows, that would cost more, since it requires removing siding, removing the old frame, redoing base flashing, inserting the window with nailing flanges in the rough opening, ("the original house frame" as you call it) and redoing top/side flashing, then replacing siding. I gather that your contractor failed to adequately explain, or thought you knew what you were getting with "replacement windows."

Replacement windows cost less precisely because of less labor to install. Remove the old sashes, leaving the frame alone, insert the new smaller frame, flash that to the original frame.

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