Help installing Egress Window

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Old 05-19-15, 12:31 PM
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Help installing Egress Window

Hello Everyone!

I am making an extra bedroom in my basement and I need to install a bigger window. I am going to get the window and rent a concrete saw this weekend, but that's about as far as I am.

I am assuming I am going to cut a hole out which is going to be about 1/4" (correct me if I'm wrong) bigger than the actual window so that I can shim it like I would any other window. Am I correct to assume this?

Once this is done, what do I use to attach the window to the concrete foundation?

Once the window is attached, is it OK to use expanding spray foam insulation around the window?

Thanks!
Nic
 
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Old 05-19-15, 02:59 PM
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Did you buy a window that conforms to egress code, such as an Andersen CX135? You have to cut the opening more than 1/4" larger because you have to build a frame. You can't screw the window directly into the foundation.
 
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Old 05-19-15, 03:14 PM
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All depends on the window you are getting. Hard to give specific advice without specifics.
 
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Old 05-20-15, 06:21 AM
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OK, that's good start.

I did not buy the window yet. I can tell you the window I am looking at now is a slider window, 36W by 35H. It has a PVC Frame. Unobstructed opening will comply with egress code for sure.
 
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Old 05-20-15, 06:28 AM
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Don't guess at what window complies, with the code. Certain windows are marked for egress. Make sure that you buy one of those. BTW, in some places, a bedroom, in the cellar is against code no matter what window is there.
 
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Old 05-20-15, 06:37 AM
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Hi Pulpo, thanks for your attention on this matter.

It's not a cellar, it's a basement, and I know for sure that they are legal where I am from. What other information would you need to know to be able to better assist me in getting this project done?

Also, I've been looking at windows online for a few days now, and it doesn't seem as though there is a clear indication of which windows are acceptable for Egress. Only things like "EX-4000" which will say something along the lines of "White "Thermos" sliding window. Made of wood. 6 5/8 in. frame. 31 3/8 in. X 39 1/8 in."
 
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Old 05-20-15, 10:23 AM
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Egress codes can vary depending on your local code, but as a general rule, IRC R310 requires:

Clear opening width ≥ 20"
Clear opening height ≥ 24"
Minimum clear opening sq.ft. = 5.7 sq.ft.
Maximum sill height above the floor = 44"

I don't know how Canada's requirements may differ from ours in the USA.

Since you are looking at a sliding window, please know that it would not qualify as an egress window unless the sliding half of the window was at least 20" wide once fully opened... that is what clear opening refers to. That would mean a slider window would probably have to be a total of 48" wide due to the frame and sash that would remain closed. Generally casements are the window of choice for egress, as Pulpo already alluded to, because the sash cranks open out of the way and egress casements have special hardware that slides the casement sash to one side as it is opened. This allows you to have an opening that is not so huge.

I would suggest you go to Home Depot and order the Anderson window that Pulpo suggested.
 
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Old 05-20-15, 12:43 PM
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I have had to install egress windows, in order for the sale of a house to be completed. The Andersen CX135 was based on the architects plans. As Xsleeper said, the 5.7 sq ft made the window acceptable as a egress window. I can't say for sure if your local codes allow for a bedroom, in a basement but they certainly don't where I live.
 
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Old 05-20-15, 12:47 PM
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Wow, requirements here in Canada are a lot less than what you guys have. We need an unobstructed opening of at least 3.7 sq. ft. with no opening smaller than 15".

The window I wanted to install was 32" x 39", which gives me an unobstructed opening of 4.26 sq. ft.

I am going to have to do more research on what qualifies as an Egress window because nothing is clear. There are no Andersen Windows at home depot in Canada. Just Glass Doors.

I feel weird about a casement window. The window well needs to be 22" from the window, so I don't understand how a 36" window could open into a 22" deep well.
 
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Old 05-20-15, 12:58 PM
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There can be a difference in the maximum height of the opening since individual communities/counties/states can over-ride the national code requirements. - Check locally for the enforced installed height.

Dick
 
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Old 05-20-15, 01:03 PM
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You don't have to limit yourself to the minimum. I would go bigger than the 3.7 sq ft & bigger than the 22" for the well. In fact, I would probably install a door instead. It's a lot safer for the person who is going to occupy the room.
 
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Old 05-20-15, 01:39 PM
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I understand that, but I don't want to be doing anything structural. If I can install a window that is as wide as the one that is already there and just make it longer, I will be happy.

After this thread I'm feeling more confused than anything else. I love this forum and all, but this always seems to happen.

I understand you guys are here to help, and I really appreciate it, and I hope this post won't make you guys not want to help me, but all I want to do is install a new window. I'm going to respect code, and I am going to make sure I have a window that qualifies as an egress window.

Here is what I would love to know at this point:

-Do I need to focus un the depth of the window frame (3 1/4, 4 9/16, 6 9/16...)?

-Do I need a metal lintel to reinforce the frame if I go from a window that is 33x18 3/4 to 36x35?

-Some people on the Internet seem to be attaching the window directly to the concrete using tapcons. I'm pretty sure that's how my current windows are attached. Is this bad practice?

-If I actually do need to build a wood frame, do I use PT lumber? What thickness should I use?

Thanks a lot guys, your help is always appreciated.
Nic
 
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Old 05-20-15, 04:09 PM
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Interesting differences in code. I suppose that if a basement window well was full of snow, it would be kind of hard to crank out a casement window. But those minimum sizes are really small. A fat man would fry down there if there was ever a fire.

I would opt for a larger window well, maybe something like this one that has a 36" projection.

To answer your questions, no you do not need to worry about the depth of the window frame at this point. It would not hurt to order a wide extension jamb with your window, but at the same time, you will probably need to extend it no matter what with another jamb. Your basement wall is probably pretty thick... and if the basement is finished, you probably also have 4" of interior wall.

I can't answer your 2nd question because, again, you have not provided any information about your basement wall, if it is poured concrete, how thick it is, or if it is CMU (cement block). We also don't know the height of the window, height of the basement floor to the framing (sill plate), or the load from the exterior wall above this area... all of which factor into the answer.

As far as putting a WOOD window into a masonry opening, that is probably a bad idea, mainly because concrete absorbs moisture and it could eventually rot a wood window that is in direct contact with the concrete. If it was a vinyl, fiberglass or painted aluminum window, it would not be a problem to do it that way. Wood windows should really have a woodbuck. The woodbuck is a good practice because if the window is getting a jamb or some trim, that trim kind of needs to have something to nail to. You can omit pressure treated wood if you put a sill sealer between the concrete and standard SPF wood.

The woodbuck should be just as wide as the wall thickness is. So if you have a CMU foundation... you would use 2x8 for your woodbuck. In all likelihood, you probably ought to cut your masonry opening all the way up to your framing (sill plate), install the woodbuck, install a header over the window which will support to framing above (sill plate), and then install trimmers under the header. This would mean the opening you create would need to be about 7" wider than your window.

The reason this probably "always happens" is that sometimes people think everything is so simple, like cut a hole, slap in a window... when there are a lot of factors to consider that they never knew or thought about. The only reason we would have to "not want to help you" would be if you wanted to break codes or do something unsafe. You are asking good questions so far.
 
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Old 05-20-15, 05:58 PM
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Thanks XSleeper - now we are getting somewhere!

You are 100% right on the reason why this always happens. Yourself and Czizzi have schooled me on numerous occasions and I am very grateful for that.

Now to get down to business, my foundation is poured concrete. It is about 9" thick, and 7'2" from the footing to the top of the wall. It is currently cut out all the way to the ceiling joists for the existing window, which is 32" wide by 18 3/4" high. If it helps, the wall is perpendicular to the ceiling joists.

The existing windows don't have jambs that go all the way. It is caulking and cement outside, and it is flush with the foundation wall inside.

I was wrong about the windows being drilled directly into the foundation. I just took a closer look and there is indeed 3/4" plates around the window (same width as the window frame). Since I am starting from scratch on this one - what do you recommend? If I get a PVC window and just shim/drill it to the foundation, am I asking for trouble? Would you say the better way of doing this is adding a woodbuck?
 
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Old 05-20-15, 06:15 PM
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You could certainly get a vinyl window and "try" to cut your opening maybe 3/8" larger than the window. If you did it perfectly, you could shim it into the opening and caulk it in, using backer rod around the perimeter and a nice 1/2" bead of a good polyurethane sealant on both sides of the window.

I say "try" because cutting concrete is harder than you think, and at 9" thick, I don't know that you will find any saw to rent that will cut all the way through in one shot. A diamond chain saw would be your best bet to cut it in one shot. Getting your vertical cut perfectly plumb and square to the wall will be the trick. The chain saw will cut nice square inside corners, but if you use any other concrete saw with a round blade, you will have a lot of chipping and grinding to do in those inside corners... (Something else you may not have thought about.)

But my advice would be, if you widen the opening, I would definitely recommend a header and woodbuck and trimmers, due to the fact that the floor joists above are perpendicular to the exterior wall. With a 2x8 header over the opening, that will make your floor to header height somewhere around 6' 7".
 
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Old 05-21-15, 08:05 AM
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I've called a few rental places this morning and it appears no one has a diamond blade chainsaw, so I will have to use a quick-cut chop saw. With that in mind I will surely go with option number 2, as I have a feeling making a perfect cut on my first try is not in my cards.

I've also decided to make my window well bigger and install a casing window instead of a sliding one. It seems a lot smarter for an Egress window. Home depot are order-only and it takes up to 3 weeks, so I'm shopping around with local manufacturers right now.
 
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Old 05-21-15, 10:25 AM
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Yeah, you will have trouble hitting the same spot since you will have to make a cut on the inside of the wall then go on the outside and make another cut.

It looks like an in swinging casement is one type preferred by your code, but I don't know where you would get one, they aren't very common down here.

For cleaning those inside corners out you will probably want a grinder with a cup wheel.
 
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Old 05-21-15, 12:02 PM
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Hmm. And upon further research, with all the hardware stores around here, including specialized stores, there are no window wells with over 22" projection and no in-swinging casement windows available either. I'm guessing because the code here is way less than you guys, people (and hardware stores) just don't bother. Weird.

At this point I am limited to either an awning window like this one, or a sliding window similar to this one like in my original plan. I guess it is what it is...

Also, can you help me understand what I am supposed to do with that "flap" that is all around vinyl windows like the one shown below? I'm not sure how to address this. I've noticed wood framed windows don't have them...

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Thanks again!
Nic
 
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Old 05-21-15, 01:46 PM
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The Canadian standards may not be a strict as the U.S. standards, if they are not established for BOTH egress and ingress of people and equipment.

The U.S. standards usually address the need for fire fighters to get into and out of the area for life safety and removing people.

A fire fighter with the tanks and equipment needs a larger opening than an individual/person himself getting in or out without equipment/tanks and casualties.

The fire fighters have a strong influence since egress is the major criteria, especially in major cities because of the carried equipment necessary.

Dick
 
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Old 05-21-15, 02:04 PM
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Here is the Canadian Code.

9.7.1.2 Bedroom Windows
1) Except where the suite has a sprinkler, each bedroom or combination bedroom shall have at least
one outside window or exterior door operable from the inside without the use of key, tools or
special knowledge and without the removal of sashes or hardware.
2) The window referred to in Sentence (1) shall provide and unobstructed opening of not less than
0.35 m2 in area with no dimension less than 380 mm, and maintain the required opening during
an emergency without the need for additional support.
3) If the window referred to in Sentence (1) is provided with security bars, the security bars shall be
operable from the inside without the use of any tools or special knowledge.
If a window well is required, it must be out from the window at least 550 mm (about 22") to provide safe
passage. Awning style windows for example opening into a window well typically do not work because
they sometimes cannot provide the necessary clearances and the hardware can obstruct the opening.

9.7.1.3. Window Opening into a Window-Well
1) Where a window required in Article 9.7.1.2.opens into a window-well, a clearance of not less than
550 mm shall be provided in front of the window.
2) Where the sash of a window referred to in Sentence (1) swings towards the window well, the
operation of the sash shall not reduce the clearance in a manner that would restrict escape in an
emergency.
3) Where a protective enclosure is installed over the window well referred to in Sentence (1), the
enclosure shall be operable from the inside without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge of
the opening mechanism.

I would go with your origional plan of using an all vinyl slider window (virtical or horizontal) and tapcon it directly to the concrete, sealing with sprayfoam and silicone. The nailing fin can be cut off or you can specify that it be left off when you order the window.
 
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Old 05-21-15, 03:06 PM
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The awning window you linked to would definitely not meet code since awning windows do not crank open more than a few inches due to the operator hardware they use.

If you put a woodbuck in the masonry opening, you would use that fin/flange to nail the window to the woodbuck. You would then apply trim over the fin/flange to cover it. Then you would caulk the perimeter of the trim to the masonry wall.

If you want to set the window inside the masonry opening and omit the woodbuck, you would cut the fin off, as Keith mentioned.

Problem is, you need to know which route you are going to go, since the manner of installation affects the size of the window and size of the opening you will cut. Or you could just cut it twice. LOL
 
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Old 05-21-15, 06:58 PM
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Hahaha that's funny XSleeper because your joke about cutting it twice is actually what I am going to do. I am going to get a vinyl casing so that it can be tapconned directly to the masonry and then try to cut a hole that is good. If I do good, I will cut off the nailing fin and tapcon in it. If I suck, I will make a bigger hole and go to plan B. At this point, god I hope Plan A works lol.

You said in an earlier post that cutting concrete is harder than I think. You may be right, because as of right now I don't feel like it's going to be such a big deal. Also, what is a backer rod? You said I should use a backer rod around the perimeter...

Keith, thanks for confirming that what I learned about the code was accurate and still good!

Dick, thanks alot for your input.

I'm feeling more and more confident about this project now. I'm so freaking grateful for this forum and the people on it. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I don't know what I'd do without you guys!
 
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Old 05-21-15, 07:20 PM
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There is a big difference between installing a window (a hole in a wall) from a practical standpoint and meeting the code requirements for egress/ingress from a code standpoint.

Casement windows are notorious code violators since the hardware and swing opening limitations make it difficult to meet many of the legal code open requirements.

Check with local code people before you jump into a mess you cannot get out of irregardless of the advertised "opening".

Dick
 
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Old 05-21-15, 07:39 PM
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Backer rod is a foam spacer that comes in a variety of diameters, is often sold in 25' long rolls, and you use it around windows because generally the mfg's want you to leave space around the window for expansion and contraction. So you could cut the opening 1/2" bigger than your window... stuff some 3/8" backer rod around each side of the window and then cover that backer rod with a 1/2" bead of polyurethane sealant. That's normally how windows shimmed into masonry openings are done, and it provides the space for expansion and contraction that most mfg's demand. If you can get some tapcons in too, great.

If needed, the nailing fin can be sliced off with a sharp utility knife. Just score it a few times on each side and it will break right off. Be careful if you end up using spray foam. I always recommend a latex foam, if it's available in your area. Dap Door and Window foam is one, it's very easy to use and washes off your hands. Definitely don't use the Great Stuff in the red can. They make a door and window foam in a blue can. If it gets on the vinyl it won't come off, so use it very sparingly at first. You can always add more later but if it comes dripping out of the top and it gets on the window you will be VERY sorry. You will also wear it for a week if you get any on yourself.

Hope you take some pictures of this whole event and post them. Otherwise this won't have been worth it. LOL
 
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Old 05-22-15, 11:37 AM
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I will take pictures for sure!

Thanks again for all your help!

If I find the window tonight, I should be putting it in tomorrow. I'll let you guys know!

Nic
 
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Old 05-22-15, 01:37 PM
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wait why can't I use the Great Stuff in the red can?
I use that around my patio door in the fall and it seemed fine!

I did stay on my hands forever though, but I'm used to that because I use to have to use a lot of gorilla glue in my previous life.
 
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Old 05-22-15, 02:26 PM
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The red can expands with a lot of hydraulic pressure, so it tends to bow out window and door frames, which is why they make Great Stuff "Window and door foam". Similar stuff, blue can, and doesn't expand with the pressure of the stuff in the red can. It is low expansion. The Dap latex is basically NO expansion, as far as the pressure it exerts.
 
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Old 05-22-15, 07:08 PM
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10/4 !
 
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Old 05-23-15, 09:10 AM
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Praying for a quick answer on this!

What do I use between my wood buck and my masonry opening? XSleeper said I could omit using PT wood if I used sill sealer, but what did he mean? Sill gasket? 6 mil?

Or should I just use PT?

On my way to the store soon so if I'M lucky someone is watching
 
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Old 05-23-15, 01:26 PM
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Either way. Sill gasket is sold in various widths, to go under 2x4, 2x6, 2x8 walls.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]50975[/ATTACH]
 
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Old 05-23-15, 07:24 PM
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Got it! \m/

You were right about the saw not cutting all the way through. If it weren't for that, the whole thing would have went like a breeze, but the whole trying to get the cuts from the inside and cuts from the inside was kind of a pain in the ass. Obviously lots of dust but that was expected.

Today I managed to get as far as cutting the hole. Window goes in tomorrow. I took before and after pictures of the hole, and I will take more tomorrow, then post them on here.

At least I'm moving in the right direction!
 
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Old 05-26-15, 06:49 AM
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Okay! So here are pictures of what happened.

I forgot to take a picture of the actual window before taking it out, but here is a picture of the old hole and the saw. That crack and metal plates you see is a repair I had done by my local foundation company. They installed a membrane on the outside and installed two plates on the inside to ensure it doesn't move again. I don't know why they sprayed urethane in the crack from the inside. It serves no purpose and looks like crap.

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Here is a picture of the hole after I made it bigger.
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Once I started building my frame there was a big storm, so I had to tarp it up (from both sides) and then pick it up again the next morning.
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Finally, Here is the installed window. By the way, it's the frame that is crooked. The window is shimmed to level. All in all, for the first time ever doing this, I would say it went pretty well! Yes it's a casement window, but it turns out I wouldn't have had room for a legal sliding window because of the wall to the left and the breaker panel to the right. Also, compared to the old death trap window, the new one brings in tons of beautiful lighting. It changes the whole vibe of the room!

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XSleeper and everyone who chimed in - you saved the day once again.
Thanks a million!
Nic
 
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Old 05-26-15, 08:45 AM
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Looks good. Hardly had to go below grade at all.

The urethane cualk will keep water that is not under pressure from coming through the crack. The metal plates will do absolutely nothing to prevent movement.
 
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Old 05-26-15, 09:14 AM
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Thanks!

So for the metal plates, why did they install them?
To make more money off of me I guess?

As for the caulk keeping water out, the reason why I am saying they serve no purpose is because the membrane install on the outside of the foundation is already supposed to do that.
 
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Old 05-26-15, 11:04 AM
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The caulk is a cheap and sometimes effective bit of insurance. The metal plates... that's the first time I have ever seen something like that installed on a foundation wall as a means of stopping a crack from opening up more. Given the forces involved that create cracks like this, a few metal plates is not going to do anything. At best they will stop that particular crack from getting worse, but wil likely result in a new one forming somewhere else. Unless you have active movemwnt in the foundation such as frost heave from year to year, cracks are not of too much concern. That one was likely due to settling over the years and is not likely to get worse over time anyway.
 
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Old 05-26-15, 11:46 AM
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It's been like that for years and years. Everything is built on clay around here and apparently in the 80's there was a very severe drought and many of the foundations in my area cracked. I'm not too worried about it moving again.

Whatever the case may be on the metal plates, the idea here was to have it professionally done because I plan to sell the house and their repairs come with a transferrable 7 year warranty, so I just let them do their thing.
 
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Old 05-26-15, 05:41 PM
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Hey nice job... I would probably build my own window well out of landscaping blocks or timbers, and put some gravel in the bottom. Then make sure the grade around it slopes away.

Great pics, thanks for posting them!
 
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Old 05-26-15, 08:43 PM
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Couldn't have done it without you, sleeper!

I'm considering it for the Egress. Considering the fact that the deepest Egress available to me is 22", and if I account for the width of the foundation my window opens about 24-26 inches, and that really annoys me. You would have a deck in the face of you climbed out the window only open 80% of the way.

A nice handmade egress would be safer, more pleasing to the eye, AND allow alot more lighting into the room than a metal window well. On top of that it's probably not that much more expensive to build than buying a window well. I'm certainly thinking about it.
 

Last edited by Shivaya; 05-26-15 at 09:01 PM.
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