Pocket Replacement Window

Previously we discussed 5 features which make a window energy efficient. Right now lets talk about what a pocket replacement window is.

A pocket replacement window is a window that is manufactured to fit inside a existing window frame already installed in your house.

For example, lets say you have old wood double hung single pane windows with storm windows in your house. A pocket replacement window is perfect for this application.

The storm window is removed along with the top & bottom sash of the old window. What you are left with is the original wood window frame with the interior and exterior trim still in tack.

The pocket replacement window is then installed in that frame or “pocket”.

Is a pocket replacement window better than a full replacement window?

No. The only real difference is between a pocket replacement window and full replacement window as far the construction on the actual window is that one has a nailing flange (new construction window) and one does not (pocket replacement window). A typical pocket replacement window is 3 1/4″ thick.

This is the size of the gap between the blind stop and the interior stop on a old wood double hung window.

VIDEO: I talk about what a pocket windows is and the main difference between a full replacement window.

What are the advantages/pros of pocket replacement windows?

  • Cost of the window – Pocket replacement windows cost less than new construction windows. It is not a big difference when comparing the exact same window, but, it is a little less. It’s one less step in the manufacturing process.
  • Cost of the installation – Okay this is where the BIG savings are vs. full replacement windows. On a pocket replacement window typically you only have to remove the interior stops to get the new window in and then re-install the same stops, caulk them in and you are done. On full replacement windows the whole frame on the old window comes out including interior & exterior trim. So you have the added cost of new interior and exterior trim. Plus painting the new trim, possibly some siding patching and/or wall touch up. The cost is in most cases double if not more.
  • Project completion time – Two installers could easily install 10 to 15 double hung pocket replacement windows in one day. That same amount of full replacement windows would take two installers about 5 days.


What are the disadvantages/cons of pocket replacement windows?

I’ve got to tell you I have been racking my brain for some cons on pocket replacement windows and there are not many. If I had to think of one I guess I would say appearance. Specifically meaning the interior/exterior trim.

Sometimes the trims if not maintained can be very worn down or even rotted on the outside. Also chipping, cracking paint on these trims can be an eyesore next to your new replacement windows. But this con is very subjective, for what may look bad to you would be fine for someone else.

What to make of all this?

Well as you can see the greatest difference between the 2 different types of replacement windows is the overall cost and time of the project. Now not all window frames can accept a pocket replacement window, but, if yours can, I would without a doubt go with the pocket replacement windows.

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Next Time

We will discuss what U-factor is and how it can work for you when shopping for new windows.