A basement egress window not only provides light into an otherwise naturally dark space, but can also serve as an emergency exit when all the other doors or windows above the home are impassable. A cracked egress window can be a problem as groundwater can enter the home when rainy season comes, or animal and pests like raccoons can enter your home causing unwanted damage.
Step 1 – Check the Building Code
Check your building code. Because of fire safety regulations that were established during 1990s, you must change an existing basement egress window with an approved window that will provide a means of escape from your basement. Depending on the building code, the preferred style of window would be a slider.
Step 2 – Remove Old Window
Remove the old or cracked window by removing the trim off from the exterior of the window and removing all the nails that hold the window in place. Repeat this process from the inside of the basement to free the cracked window from the frame. Some people have a hard time removing the trim due to the fear of breaking the glass even further upon themselves. To make it easier for yourself, crack the window all the way. It is better to crack from the inside going out. Once the glass is out then it should be easier. If it still doesn’t work, use a pry bar to pry the sill off.
Step 3 - Inspect the Window
Inspect for any rotting wood or termite damage around the frame. If they exist, repair this prior to installing a new window.
Step 4 – Clean the Area
Once the window frame is free of the old window, clean the area.
Step 5 – Install the New Window
Install the new window gently into the window frame inserting it from the outside. Have a spotter from the inside to make sure the window is installed evenly.
Step 6 – Nail the Corners
Nail one bottom corner in the attached flange and then use your level to determine the bottom window level. Do this before nailing the other side. Continue to nail the remaining holes provided in the attached flange.
Step 7 – Add a Trim
Add a weather-resistant trim on the outside of the basement egress window. Pressure treated wood can be a good option but it is advisable to use resin-based composite materials because it provides a waterproof finish that will last for a very long time.
Step 8 – Place Insulation
Place fiberglass insulation in the gaps all around the window from inside before installing the inside trim. Do not pack to tightly as insulation needs a dead space to trap air. Do not use expanding foam insulation.
Step 9 – Place the New Interior Trim
Put in the new interior trim, and fill nail holes with matching putty and paint or varnish. You may use silicone caulking to fill the seams. Paint the finished item to desired color.