Basement Window Replacement - The Perfect Man Cave
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Old 08-28-2010, 01:58 PM
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Default Basement Window Replacement

I'm surprised I haven't seen a question/post on this yet with all the basement man caves out there. My house was built in the mid-50s, and it has those old hopper-style basement windows - steel frame with a cheap single pane piece of glass. They suck, as they typically don't operate very well and are terrible heat insulates. So, what's the best way to deal with them? Well, if you're the previous owners of my house, you do this:



Some people shouldn't own a house...

Anyways, here's what I started with, after taking that shit down:



These windows typically consist of a steel frame with a single pane of glass. They sit in a matching steel frame that's embedded in the concrete opening of the basement wall. While I would love to be able to cut these and the wall out and put in those larger sun catcher windows, I figured my money would be better used elsewhere, so they were to be replaced with similar sized vinyl windows. First step is to open the window and physically remove it from the housing:



Next step is removing the steel frame from the concrete. I've seen several different techniques in different homes around here that these were install with. With mine, the contractor decided to create a sloped landing for the window (I'm assuming so water wouldn't sit on the outside):



This step is actually a lot easier than it looks - first you have to chip away a little concrete to get to the metal frame:



Then, with the help of a long pry bar, you pry up the frame from the concrete:



Next, I used a sawzall to cut the frame and make it easier to remove:





Removing the frame left me with this:



Not exactly a smooth opening. From what I've read, in a perfect scenario, you typically would like to line the masonry opening with pressure treated wood, then use that wood frame as a clean opening to install the window. However, this opening (at the base of the sloped bevel) was just over 32"x15", which is the size of the smallest "standard" hopper basement window you can readily get. So, instead of ordering a smaller, custom sized window, I decided to chip out most of the slope and install the window directly into the masonry opening. That meant chipping out about 2" of that slope from the picture above. Ran out to home depot and rented a chipper for the morning:



And chipped away on my two window openings, squaring off the openings and cleaning them up to get a decently clean opening to install the windows in:





Now all that's left is installing the new vinyl window. I used some shims at my anchor points to the hold the window in place during installation. I secured the window with some exterior wood screws to the sill plate on tap, then with tapcons into the masonry blocks on the sides:







After being secured in place, I sprayed some of that great stuff along the sides of the windows where I had gaps. Note you want the type that won't make the plastic window frame bulge as it expands:



Once the stuff dries, you can trim it with a razor. Last steps would be caulking around the exterior of the window to keep out the rain and bugs. I'll also probably eventually add some trim work on the inside to hide the rough opening, but that'll wait until I actually get the chance to put up some walls down there.
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Old 08-28-2010, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Basement Window Replacement

nice step by step..helluvalot of work, but looks great and big improvement!
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Old 08-28-2010, 02:59 PM
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Default Re: Basement Window Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by j p frog View Post
nice step by step..helluvalot of work, but looks great and big improvement!
That's an understatement!

It was a lot more work than I had figured, due to having to chip down the concrete. The frames only took 15 minutes to pop out - it was another 2 hours with the chipping hammers. Tough angles being so close to the ceiling. I have another 3 of these yet to do in other parts of the basement, I'm not looking forward to it. It's unfortunately one of those things you have to fix at some point. I'm hoping that with the way I installed the new ones, it'll make replacing them in the future a much easier task.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: Basement Window Replacement

For what you had to work with from the start you did a great job.
Looked like a total pain in the ass.

But....
Just for our entertainment (I mean a pictorial learning experience)
on one of the other window openings.
Can you go ahead and dig a hole down the outside the foundation for a window well.
Say 4'x4'x8' deep. Form and pour concrete walls.
Then chip out the opening to fit a 28" x 48" window.
We will also accept the use of a concrete saw. We don't want to wait forever.
This would be great. Will be waiting for the pictures next Saturday
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: Basement Window Replacement

Nice job

We had 5 single pain windows in the basement
Luckily they were wood windows/wood frame
Some the glass was a little broken, taped up with cardboard
I replaced 3 with new windows, 4th will be cut open as a door to new garage
5th now goes to enclosed storage area

Best thing for the basement as far as keeping it warm
The metal framed ones embedded in cement are pain to replace



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Old 09-04-2010, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: Basement Window Replacement

Please tell me you were rewarded with two weeks of no "to-do" lists after that job. Nice work my man.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: Basement Window Replacement

My basement windows are in window wells
And we never open them...basement unfinished - storage area
So I am taking the old single pane windows
Cleaning & painting them & re-installing them on the outside as storm windows
I'll probably just leave them on all year....triple glass !!



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Old 09-21-2010, 03:45 PM
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Default Re: Basement Window Replacement

I did the same thing, but I'm pretty sure they have to be sitting on a piece of pressure treated lumber and not directly on the foundation wall... I could be wrong - so don't quote me.

The rough opening in the foundation should allows for this, but you will have to remove all the concrete work that they put in to encase the previous window. That nice Makita rotary hammer you have? I have a heavier one. Hold 45 pounds above your head for two days and you'll wish you left the old windows in place...but it's so much nicer to have them replaced.
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Old 09-21-2010, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: Basement Window Replacement

There should be PT between concrete & wood windows
That said my old windows were wood & in direct contact with the cement for 50+ years

Vinyl can be in contact with cement



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Old 09-22-2010, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: Basement Window Replacement

Nice job. For the outside, did you line the window up flush with the foundation or did you have it inset a bit?

I have 9 windows in my basement I want to get replaced, but I'm afraid I will have to do custom as 3 of them are 45" x 22" and the rest are 36 1/2" x 24". I would like to get the hopper style that you have installed. Most of the new basement windows I see around here are sliders. Not a fan of those for a basement.
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