Your basement window started to leak and let in drafts? It’s time to replace it. Read everything you need to know in this how-to guide.
If the windows in your basement let in a humid heat in summer and a chilly draft in winter, consider replacing them. Sometimes, the windows might leak, and there are cracks in cement all over them.
The basement window might be outdated and go along with the rest of the house badly. In these cases, don’t hesitate to change them. The basement window is easy to replace, unlike most windows in the house, because it’s smaller and more lightweight.
Why Install Basement Windows?
If installed, new windows can significantly cut down your cooling and heating costs and improve your overall basement appearance. These windows often serve a cosmetic purpose. With their help, you may spruce up space or bring some light into the room. Also, they might serve as an escape in case of an emergency.
When to Replace a Basement Window?
There are signs which show that you need a new basement window:
- Windows open and close with difficulty.
- Draft from a closed window.
- There is condensation between the glass panes.
- Your energy bill has gone up.
- The wood around the window is rotting.
Types of Basement Windows
These windows are perfect if your basement is above the ground. They are also common in bathrooms. They have more height than width, and they open outward. Casement windows often come with privacy features.
Hopper windows have a basic design. They are made of glass-encased by a solid frame. They open as a whole unit just as the casement ones and tilt outward or inward. They also have privacy features such as frosted glass or glass blocks, and the passer-by won’t see inside your residence if you have them. Their width exceeds the height, so choose this design if your measurement allows more width.
They are the same as hopper windows, but they usually hinge from the top.
Double-Hung Basement Windows
Such windows have two sliding parts, also known as sashes. They slide one over another and are less energy efficient. Still, it’s easier to open and clean them.
Glass Block Windows
They let the light in, but one can’t clearly see through them. These windows fit into the wall, and you can’t open them, which adds privacy and makes them extremely energy-efficient.
They are a perfect choice for daylight basements. You have direct access to your backyard if you have them. Strength is crucial for such windows because such frames have fewer chances to stick if your home settles. If your basement windows face the street, a small slider might be the best option for you.
This window provides an emergency escape from a home. They can be in each bedroom or basement. It is usually large enough to fit a body through it. If you replace egress windows in the basement, you need to dig out space around the window to make the escape easier. Also, safety professionals should be able to enter through it.
How to Remove a Basement Window
1. Cover All the Areas
If the window is surrounded by pieces of furniture, a carpet, or any other surfaces, clear up space around the window and cover all surrounding belongings with a tarp. Removing and installing a window will create lots of dust and debris.
2. Remove the Sash or the Wood Frame
Remove all “sash” components. If you have a wooden frame, first pry off the sash with a pry bar. If there are any louvers, remove them, too, so that there is only a basic frame left. It is usually from steel and aluminum.
3. Remove the Metal Frame
If you want to remove it and install a brand new one, follow this step. However, if you don’t need it, you can leave it in place and replace only window pieces. It’s better to retain the frame if the metal isn’t rusty.
Take a reciprocating saw and make cuts between the frame and the wall studs. If you have a rusted metal window, see if it was riveted or screwed in place. If so, unscrew it or use a drill to remove the rivets. After this, remove the metal frame from the concrete. First, get down to the rough opening in the concrete. It might not be easy because the frame is in the concrete, but it might be easier than you imagined.
To do this, take a reciprocating saw that has a metal-cutting blade and cut the frame in the middle of the bottom. A frame will then become weaker, which will let you wedge a pry bar between the concrete and the frame. Work on one side at a time using the pry bar to make a rough opening.
4. Prepare an Opening for a New Window
Chisel away the remaining concrete. Use a pneumatic chisel or a hammer and masonry chisel to do this. After you’ve done that, coat all the surfaces of the opening with a masonry sealer. The concrete should be saturated so that it won’t absorb any more sealant. Then wipe up the excess and dry out the surface.
If you want to install the sill, this is the best time to do it. Secure the seal in the opening with a combination of adhesive sealant and masonry screws. First, make pilot holes through the wood and make holes in the concrete. After this, remove the seal, apply sealant at the bottom of the opening, and fasten the sill in place.
5. Take New Window Measurements
After you’ve removed all of the frames, you will have a rough concrete opening. That is the best time to take measurements for your new windows if you haven’t purchased them yet. If you already purchased the window, you might need to fit it in, for example, knock out some of the concrete to install the new window successfully. To take measurements, you will need the width, height, and depth of your windows.
If you didn’t take the frame out, measure the size of the basement window. If you cannot get an exact window size, order a bit smaller window to fill it in with mortar.
6. Clean the Window Opening
At this stage, you need to remove any ridges or mortar. A vacuum might help you to remove any debris or dust from the window opening. If you have a brick or concrete opening, see if any ridges will get on your way when you install the new window.
To remove them from concrete, use a hammer and cold chisel to chip away any unnecessary mortar. Still, if you don’t want to do this, you can always buy a window that is smaller than the opening and install it over the ridge.
How to Install Basement Window
1. Place the Window in the Frame and Drill it to the Wall
After you’ve got your new window, take out the screen and sash. After that, carefully push the window into the opening so that it would fit well. At this stage, make sure that you install it on the right side up and right side in. Then, secure the window in place. Install double-threaded concrete screws on the top and the sides of the window. Also, check if your replacement window comes with a screw cover plug. If so, install them, too.
2. Fill in the Gaps Between the Foundation and the Window
At this moment, the window is already in place. Fill the gaps between the window and the foundation. You will need to use a filler to seal them. There are many of them available. First, there is the mortar, or mortar and brick, or stone. You can also use caulk for the top and the sides of the frame. Urethane spray foam is also a perfect choice for under the will. Also, custom-cut pipe insulation might help you get rid of gaps.
3. Put the Window Screen and Sash Back and Remove Unnecessary Mortar
It’s time to put all the window parts back in place. When the caulk or the mortar is completely dry, use a trowel to smooth the foundation of the window. It should flush with the foundation. Read the package of your foundation and determine how long it needs to dry. It might take different time.
4. For Wooden Windows: Apply the Primer
If you have a wooden window, protect it from both sides from elements and the rain. You need to spread one coat of exterior-grade primer to the wood and let dry according to the instructions of the manufacturer. When the primer is dry, paint the frame if you want to match it to your home’s color scheme.
Basement windows are a must-have if you want to spruce up your space and add light to the room. Installing basement windows and replacing old ones is crucial because it safeguards you from drafts and high energy bills. There are lots of types of windows which can all be good for your purposes.
To remove a window, you will need to secure all spaces, remove sashes and wooden frames, after which remove the metal frame of the window. You will need lots of instruments to do this. For installing the window, smoothen the cement with a seal, fit in the window, and screw it to the place and seal any drafts with more seal.