Replace basement windows


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Old 01-07-22, 07:48 PM
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Replace basement windows

I'm getting ready to finish my basement and want to replace the original 1988 windows before I frame the wall there. When I did this in my last house, I chipped out the mortar that was built on an angle and then built a pressure-treated 1 x 6 wood frame around the windows that I ordered to fit there. It made it easy to frame and box in the windows for a nice finished look.

My questions:
1.) Do I need to chip out the mortar that is on an angle under each window? I'd like to do this (I think) for the extra light with that slightly larger window.
2.) Do I need a PT wood frame around the new window (either with the angled mortar or without it)? If not, how do I attach the new windows to the cinderblock wall?
Obviously, these answers dictate the size of the windows I order.

The one thread I found that seemed similar to my question is this one, but it is kind of an "after the fact" question. https://www.doityourself.com/forum/b...ndow-jamb.html

Pictures attached.






 
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Old 01-07-22, 08:05 PM
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Yes, you often want to remove the sloped cap, but not always. You have to have some sort of slope on the bottom to shed water if you plan on installing the new window at the same depth in the wall as the existing one. You might be able to sit a new window right on there and just parge a little more slope on with some topping mix.

In your case, you have part of the window frame embedded in that sloped cap. When you tear it out, it's going to leave a pocket in the cap. And the concrete cap might break up when you demo the old window. Or it might really be stuck! Yours looks to me like one of the ones that might be stuck, as the mortar looks really smooth like it had a high percentage of cement in it. Sometimes they will actually chip the concrete block when you try to knock them out. But worse case scenario, you might just also have to replace the row of 4" block under the window if they break.

IF I remove the old cap, I will clean up the opening with a cup grinder and then I will often anchor a flat pvc 1x3 to the bottom. That gives me something to strike the new mortar cap to on each side.. then I set the new window over that 1x3, on a bead of sealant. The edges of the window will sink into that mortar just a little bit and after it cures I can go back and caulk the edges.

As for the question about the wood buck, no it's not absolutely necessary, and it just makes a small window even smaller. This is why they make custom sized vinyl replacement windows. You can get the window the right size for your opening, anchor it in with 4 tapcons (or in some cases just shim it, foam it and caulk it). For an opening like that, they probably sell units that are about the right size. 32x16 or 32x18... something like that. A good concrete sealant should be used around the perimeter. Vulkem 116 works pretty good for those large beads as well.
 
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Old 01-07-22, 10:49 PM
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What I have done is to replace the windows with glass block panels. Easy to install, secure, and good R-value.

 
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Old 01-08-22, 06:54 AM
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I should add that three of the four windows are in window wells -- below grade. The 4th window is right at grade and I was planning on digging a window well there if I changed the window.

Thanks for the replies. I have some more research to do.

Xsleeper, when you say I need to put a mortar cap on the cinderblock if I remove the current sloped cap, is that hard to do? Can you recommend a product and a quick description of how to do that?

Thanks
 
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Old 01-08-22, 07:10 AM
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No, not hard to do. Buy a bag of mortar mix or topping mix. Using a 1x3 in the center of the block opening is the easiest way I have found to do it, like I said earlier.
 
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Old 01-08-22, 12:39 PM
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I'm not clear what you mean by 1x3 in the center of the block opening. I've never really worked with anything like this before. I can mix the mortar, but what am I doing with the 1x3?
 
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Old 01-08-22, 01:27 PM
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A cement block wall is 7 5/8" wide. You lay the 1x3 on the blocks on bottom in the middle of the wall. You anchor it to the blocks with glue or tapcons so that it can't move. You then put mortar mix on each side to create your taper. Most windows are 3 1/4" wide, so they sit on top of the 1x3 and overlap it a little on each side. When the concrete cures, you caulk it.

The 1x3 is your form. The mortar you shape will then be 3/4 tall on each side of the 1x3, and tapered to nothing on the edges. There is no mortar on top of the 1x3... the mortar is on either side of it, just like it is on each side of your window sill now.
 
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Old 01-16-22, 12:16 PM
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Thanks! I got it, now.
 
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Old 01-18-22, 05:33 PM
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Lightbulb Maybe not so bad

I looked more closely at the windows and realized they're not as bad as I assumed since I bought the house 18 months ago (a complete fixer-upper). They area not metal, like I assumed and appear to be vinyl. It's possible they were replaced 10-15 years ago, as compared to what I assumed (1988 original).

Also, they do not appear to be embedded in the cap. I took a few closeups and some of the cap is actually chipping away.

So I think...
(A) potentially they don't need to be replaced. Should I just replace them now as I start the basement finishing? One of the roooms with windows will be a guest room and one will be a rec room. We're committed to his house for at least 10-12 years until our kids are out of high school and maybe college. Home Depot/Anderson windows look to be a little over $100 each for this size, so not all that expensive. The current windows are definitely single pane, but they don't seem all that bad.

(B) or if they do, it's likely a lot easier. Right? I think I'd be able to get these windows off the cap that's there and just order ones to size that fit right in. A few tapcons and some sealant (Vulkan 116 was recommended). What could go wrong?

BONUS Question -- it seems odd that two joists rest on a 2x6 (mud plate, I think is the term) above the windows. Is it just me? See picture labeled "guest room." (The other windows go with the direction of the floor joists.)


Future guest room. 2 joists over mud plate and window?

Some mortar chipped off of window #1.

Exterior of window #1.

Installation screws and general condition of window #1.

Interior and condition of window #1.

 
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Old 01-18-22, 07:38 PM
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If you haven't thought of it already, there are life safety codes that dictate window size, location and function when used an egress. Make sure you don't skimp on this.
 
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Old 01-18-22, 07:48 PM
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Thanks, Tumble. There's a door in that room -- out to a stairwell. I actually have a different thread about the door on here.
 

Last edited by tollhaus; 01-18-22 at 07:49 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 01-18-22, 07:52 PM
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Window egress applies to bedrooms, so hopefully you don't have a basement bedroom without a door as an exit.

The windows look like Andersen 200s or 400s... Fibrex is what they called it, I believe. Wood wrapped I their fiberglass composite material... or fiberglass paint. I don't "think" they are permaclad... another Andersen line. Look in the corners of the glass for a trademark. Up to you if you replace them. Guess the question is why are you hot to replace them? Give them a power washing and recaulk them. If they aren't leaking, arent rotten, you really aren't gaining anything by replacing them. A new window might have better a glass package but you are talking about the difference between going from R-2 to R-3 in all likelihood. From an energy standpoint, is it really worth it for just 1 more R value point?

The way the 2 joists land on the top plate is not great from from framing design standpoint, and is not the way we would do it today, but pretty impossible to fix on a brick home without removing some brick. The rim joist insulation is also not what is preferred... you might remove some and inspect the rim joist for mold. Ideally, you would have a minimum of 2" of rigid foam that is air sealed (caulked or foamed around the perimeter of each piece) to prevent warm air from hitting a cold surface. Fiberglass lets air and moisture in around the edges of that Kraft facing.
 
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Old 01-19-22, 07:12 AM
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Thanks. I'll take a better look at them and see the brand, model, etc. My thought on replacing them came from my assumption that they were the old metal ones. (Just about everything else in the house was really old, rusting, moldy, etc., and needed replacing.) So I've been working from that starting place. But I get your point.

If I were to replace them, I'd just measure the exact size of the window and hope the cap doesn't break too much when I take the old ones out. Correct?

The window with 2 joists on it is going to be a bedroom, but that's also where the door is that Xsleeper has been commenting on in another thread.
 
 

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