Basement window replacement question

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  #1  
Old 12-26-16, 11:30 AM
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Basement window replacement question

Hello everyone! In a few months (hopefully) I plan to finish out a portion of our basement. In doing this I plan to replace all the basement windows. There are 4 windows and all are the same style and size. They are all the classic basement windows, as you can see below.




From what I can tell the window measures 32x13.25 or so. With that being said, when I do this will I remove the window as well as the metal that is in between the window and the concrete?

Second question, will these windows fit properly? 31.75 x 13.75 - Basement Windows - Windows - The Home Depot

I would rather not purchase windows only to have to return them. Never replaced basement windows before so I could use some help here. Thanks everyone!
 
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Old 12-26-16, 12:57 PM
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If the metal frames are the type that are installed when the basement it poured they are tough to get out. You will need a big pry bar to bend the metal so they will come out.

Have you considered glass block?
 
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Old 12-26-16, 01:17 PM
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I had not even thought of those to be honest. How well do they hold heat in?

Also now looking at them I'm not sure I really like them. I may stick with a normal window.
 

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Old 12-26-16, 02:04 PM
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Since these windows are not large enough to be considered egress windows, you could install the hopper type windows, or even slider windows. Just be aware these windows won't work in a habitable room in the basement such as a bedroom.

I am doing the same thing in my basement. Removing aluminum framed windows surrounded by concrete block and installing vinyl sliders. Make sure your measurements are frame size and not rough opening size. When talking to the window people disregard any mention of rough opening and order the windows to the closest measurement you can to the opening size (actual). You may have to cut off the nailing fin if they come with them, but that's no big deal.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 02:08 PM
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I planned on doing hopper style windows. As for your comment on them not working in a habitable room, why is this? I had planned using them in what will be a man cave so not really a bedroom per say. But I am still interested in why I wouldn't be able to use them in a bedroom setting. Some sort of code here?
 
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Old 12-26-16, 02:38 PM
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You will remove the sash then you must remove the metal frame. A grinder and a lot of thin 1/16" cutting disks work best. You will want to bend the top down first, and cut a big section out of it. Then make 2 cuts in the bottom, and remove that big section. Then hopefully you just need to make one cut on each side, and the corners will come out. As mentioned, they are embedded in concrete, and won't come out easily.

You usually want to have a diamond blade and a cup grinder because you will want to remove concrete from the sides and bottom to make them smooth. Often the concrete on bottom needs to be completely removed and replaced. A rotary hammer and chipping chisel are a must as well, imo.

Yes, it's a code that every bedroom have a fire escape egress window.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 02:39 PM
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Egress windows must have 5.7 square feet of open space so you can get out in the event of a fire or other calamity.

Code calls for a minimum of 20" high and 24" wide. BUT you have to adjust one of the measurements to accommodate the 5.7 square foot total opening. So if you use the 20" on one measurement the other will have to be 42+".

Oh, and they can only be 44" off the finished floor.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 03:12 PM
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Ahhh, I see. So will I be running into any issues if I do all of this work and DON'T claim it as a bedroom?
 
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Old 12-26-16, 03:58 PM
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I can't legally say. If you don't claim it as a bedroom, someone is sleeping in a bed in the room, there is a fire and something happens to that person, your insurance may be a little frowny about it.

I just finished working on a new house where the owner had a room in the basement, without a window, but with an adjacent bathroom and large closet. The inspector turned the CO down. The owner was livid as it as his office. So he went to all the trouble of installing shelving, record boxes, paper, etc. in the closet, installed a desk and chair with his computer in the room, and the inspector finally relented. In all honesty, the owner will never use it as a bedroom, but the potential is still there.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 04:36 PM
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No bedrooms no problem....
 
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Old 12-26-16, 05:58 PM
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Well that's good to hear. I am wondering how well or how bad this is going to go. Mainly what I am speaking about is getting the metal framing out.
 
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Old 12-26-16, 06:06 PM
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It's a bear if you have never done it before... and nothing to look forward to even after you have done hundreds. Having all the tools at the ready, especially the grinder, cutting wheels and cup grinder wheel will make your life easier. You will also want a wide cold chisel. (A masonry chisel)

Also not the kind of thing you usually want to be doing when it's below 32F, since you often need to patch the concrete.
 
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Old 12-27-16, 01:47 AM
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I have removed without any cutting, big pry bar and some wood to save the concrete.

Need to collapse the top and bottom inwards so the sides pull away from the wall.
 
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Old 12-27-16, 07:07 AM
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Thanks guys.

Like I said, I plan to start this come spring. My only other question is about measurements. The windows that I linked in my initial post are 31.75 x 13.75. When I measure the window that is currently in from the outside of the metal frame I get pretty darn close to 31.75, which is good. (I think). But when measuring up and down I get something more close 13.25. Am I going to have to remove a half inch of concrete or is it more likely that I am measuring wrong?
 
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Old 12-27-16, 09:31 AM
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There is solid concrete behind the steel. Once you get the steel off you have the concrete to deal with. Thats why I said you need the cup grinder. Once you remove the steel you need to grind the concrete down until the opening is the right size.

Sometimes concrete will break out as you remove the window and sometimes the sloped concrete on bottom is obliterated by time you get the steel out. Thats why I say you may need to patch in new concrete. You definitely will need to grind and smooth the sides and bottom. Done hundreds of these over the last 25 yrs.
 
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Old 12-27-16, 03:36 PM
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If those windows are your only choice, you'll have to grind the concrete, 1/4"+ on both sides as Brant indicated.

Bear in mind you are only looking at store bought windows. Those stores ordered windows from a manufacturer in that specific size to sell retail. NO window is made until you order it. There is no such thing as a "standard" size window. So you could contact a window manufacturer and have them build a window to meet your specs. Yeah, it costs more, but it is really sweet to have a window that fits the opening.
 
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Old 12-27-16, 07:07 PM
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Once you remove the steel you need to grind the concrete down until the opening is the right size.
That is why going with glass block is good, they make up inserts to the size of the opening and you just insert with a mortar bed.
 
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Old 12-27-16, 07:56 PM
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I don't see how glass block would gain him anything. The opening would need to be sized exactly for a glass block window just like it would need to be sized exactly for any other custom window. This is going to involve grinding and possibly some mortar repairs any way you look at it.

The one good thing he has working in his favor is that this looks like a poured foundation, not CMU and mortar, so the concrete should be nice and solid, less likely to break up when the steel frame is removed.

Personally, I would be doing what Larry said, and measure carefully inside and out and order a hopper or slider that is as big as possible, assuming that everything behind the steel will need to be ground out. Its never a nice finished opening once you remove the steel anyway... so I would plan to grind it all down and size the window accordingly so that the edges would only need to be caulked in with a good polyurethane sealant after the window is anchored in place. But you need to measure inside and out, then compare measurements and figure out where your finished opening will be. Ocacasionally they have parged more concrete on the outside which might affect how you want to size the window.
 
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Old 12-28-16, 07:17 AM
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Seriously, grind 1/4" of concrete off each side of 4 windows!

You would never see me take on a nasty job like that!

As noted. ready to install panels! Could have all 4 installed befor one window grind could be finished.

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Old 12-30-16, 11:41 PM
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it will often be easy with masonry chisel to chip 1" or more off each edge as needed to accommodate the new window. As someone mentioned for the existing embedded frame, pry the center up and make a triangle and sometimes the rest pops right out with those old windows. Use goggles when chipping the mortar. You want the new window as close in size to the size you get when the old frame is removed, so you can just caulk it because with caulk, if the gap is over I think 1" the tube says for the polyurethane masonry caulk I use, it says 1" is the max width it can be used for I think. If the size you need is way bigger than you can find, you will need mortar to fill such a big void, or put pt lumber strips in and caulk those joints after and possibly mortar over the pt lumber or pvc trim board strips (with bonding agent first just to hide the wood).

Possibly some places are requiring all finished basements to have egress regardless of bedroom etc. Also don't put a bed too close to a combustible area such as the heater and if you make a room around that, need certain clearance from the unit and adequate venting in the wall/door.

If you do this without inspection and go to sell your house down the road, take many pictures of the process and do it all to code, especially the electric and plumbing. This way, with pics, you just may get away with just showing them the pics vs possibly having to cut open all the walls to make sure it's to code if not demo'ing it all down.


Get the windows that are not sliders but are one-piece that hinges down and can be quickly removed so the window can act as an agrees. Keep a step stool or ladder close by or put a cabinet under it to climb out easy. It's at least something and a lot of people could squeeze through 14x 30. It's at least safer than a 2 story house with no roof under the windows. If there were a fire, you'd have to jump out the 2 story window. Unless you already have a bilco door or slider that leads outside, you should have a way to exit besides only the basement stairs. A true egress requires digging out the foundation outside and cutting a large section of the foundation out and adding in a beam ledger to compensate for the removed wall and then the large window goes in.



With the replacement windows sometimes they have a flap meant to hold the window in new cement but you will need to cut that off if not using mortar. Sometimes cutting that flap opens the frame up and you should caulk that line just to be safe.

Basically what I do is chip the old mortar out just enough so the window fits in with about 1/2" gap both sides and the bottom. Put a thick bead of good caulk on to of the new window where it meets the wood sill plate. Put a screw through the top of window into the sill plate so the window hangs there. Prop the window square and plumb by however means you can come up with to hold it in place exactly while you decide where your predrill holes into the sides of the concrete are going to be. Mark 2 or 3 holes on each side of the window. Remove window, and predrill the masonry with tapcon bit. Put window back, (actually now is when you caulk the top that meets the wood) and then install the blue tapcon screws. Then put backer rod in the 1/2" gaps on all three sides. I use LoctiteŽ PLŽ S10 Polyurethane Concrete Crack & Masonry Sealant for the caulk. The poly stuff is like rubber super waterproof and sticks to masonry very well. First though should have wire brushed the masonry surfaces and used a vacuum with bristle attachment to get all the dust out. Do the same with backer rod and PL S10 caulk for the outside so you have a bead of caulk on the inside and outside for good measure. When you removed the old window and chipped out the frame, sometimes you find a hole in the wall like a hollow cinderblock or something - Anything like that pack with mortar (put a backer first like newspaper etc) just in case the caulk joint ever fails, you don't have water flowing down into the wall.

the poly masonry caulk isn't smooth. You can sort of tool it when it's wet but it will likely come out all bumpy looking which is fine if you're sheetrocking the window wells anyway, but if left exposed you can also just paint the caulk, or dust it with dry mortar when it's wet so it matches the rest of the mortar. You may want to do that for the outside. I have emailed the poly mason caulk brand if this is ok and they basically said no since they don't want to be liable for anything but what I might do sometimes for the outside instead of looking at a bumpy caulk joint that doesn't match the mortar very well is to put a thin layer of mortar over the caulk. Possibly a bonding agent will help it stick. I don't know if the wet mortar will affect the poly mason caulk and the manufacturer said something like 'we don't recommend that' but I think it should be fine.

the reason I say this is because I much prefer the poly mason caulk over mortar because it's flexible and the vinyl windows (and whole house) moves a little bit, so I don't want mortar to chip there where sometimes flooding rain can make the window a submarine window if the window well outside doesn't have the proper drainage. Again, if the opening is much bigger than the closest matching window I can find, then I'll mortar it but I'll still caulk around the mortar when it's done where it meets the new window. I also use Bonding agent Adhesive and Acrylic Fortifier in place of some of the water when mixing the mortar - this makes it stronger and less likely to crack later.
 
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Old 12-31-16, 02:53 AM
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window can act as an agrees
We've already discussed that the size of the window will preclude this.

the manufacturer said something like 'we don't recommend that' but I think it should be fine.
Not the best of advice to go against a manufacturer's warnings.

I pulled my two yesterday and the flange was between the CMU and brick facade. They had used #8 nails to hold the nailing flange while they bricked over it. I removed the lights and cut the frame on the sides to weaken it and bent it all inward allowing it to collapse. New window fit great and covered the boogers left when we broke out a little concrete block where the nails were. OSI quad foam around the sides and OSI quad caulk outside.
 
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Old 12-31-16, 04:48 PM
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window can act as an agrees
We've already discussed that the size of the window will preclude this.

I know but I'm saying, most people aren't going to spend what 5 grand for a real egress so if they get the windows where the whole thing can pop out quickly (may have to pre remove a screw and remember that the window can fall out when opened or tie a string to hold it), if they do that and keep a ladder/platform close by they at least have a way out.




the manufacturer said something like 'we don't recommend that' but I think it should be fine.

Not the best of advice to go against a manufacturer's warnings.


I know but sometimes they just copy paste that because it wasn't researched in their lab. I know that product can be painted but masonry is corrosive when wet I wouldn't want to compromise the caulk. I watched a lot of kirk giordano plastering on youtube and he stuccos over polyurethane caulk all day and been doing that for 30+ years and even addressed it in a video. here at this time
https://youtu.be/IkBHz_SQePQ?t=635
he stuccos over bonding agent over polyurethane caulk over great stuff and says it's fine.


In other words, I like the assurance of a good caulk vs just mortar (with Acrylic Fortifier added) but want to match the surrounding mortar, so I will sometimes mortar over the caulk. I guess I could put a strip of flashing tape between the caulk and mortar so they don't react but that could lead to a little pool of water and then the mortar cracks out easier at the lip.
 
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Old 01-01-17, 04:19 AM
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whole thing can pop out quickly
It won't matter even if you had explosive charges to blow the window out, the opening is not large enough for an egress window.

t wasn't researched in their lab.
Hopefully you an substantiate that. Just because one guy does something doesn't make it an industry standard. You must remember caulk is flexible and stucco or mortar isn't. It could be a recipe for disaster.

Besides your responses are too long.
 
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