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ashton44 11-02-2013 09:14 PM

Replacing basement windows in concrete
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I've attached a picture of one of the windows. I had a contractor from Home Depot come out so I could get the proper measurements. He suggested that I don't replace the wood around the window (as it would be difficult/costly). However, as you can see it is not in good shape. The house was built in 1957. Personally, I figure if I'm putting all new windows in I should replace the wood.

I've looked at a lot of videos and how to articles regarding this but I don't feel I have a clear understanding. Once I take out the windows and take out all the old wood how do I go about rebuilding the frame and securing the window? Do I use pressure treated wood because it will be against concrete? What type of screws?

Also the frame on the sides is thinner than the framing on the top and bottom. Do I keep this the same and order windows the same size as they are now? Is there anything else I should be considering?

My only window experience was installing two windows in the storage shed I built this summer. I've never replaced existing windows.

Thank you.

Daniel Holzman 11-03-2013 08:46 AM

I recommend you purchase a book on general framing and carpentry. There are dozens of good books on home repair available, I have about 20 on my shelf dealing with everything from tiling to hardwood installation. You can check the table of contents to make sure the book discusses window replacement in detail. Of course, you can look at video on You-Tube or equal, but a good book will discuss the details.

First off, that window does not look too bad, so you may want to reconsider going to the trouble of replacing it. If you are going to replace, you need to decide if you really want to replace the jamb and the header. This may not be necessary, and will greatly simplify installation.

If the framing is OK, or can be patched, you are then left with the relatively simple task of removing the old window, and installing the new one. The new window will typically have some sort of nailing fin around it, which gets nailed and screwed into the framing. This is the part where you use shims between the window casing and the framing. Different windows are done different ways, my basement windows have metal frames which are screwed into the wood framing.

You need to carefully waterproof the window, and typically flash it as well. This can be a bit tricky, usually the window manufacturer has explicit instructions on what to use, and how to use it. You also need to caulk the window, and insulate around the window frame, typically using low expansion foam. All of this assumes you do not replace the jamb and header, if you do that is more complex, and requires some framing skills best learned from hands on assistance by someone who has done framing before.

Gary in WA 11-04-2013 09:03 PM

"Also the frame on the sides is thinner than the framing on the top and bottom. Do I keep this the same and order windows the same size as they are now? Is there anything else I should be considering?" ------------------- if finishing the basement in the future, get "egress" sized windows now unless substitutions are present. U.S. codes, check locally;


M_bisson 11-10-2013 02:15 PM

If the windows are in the concrete, rip all the wood out. You can buy replacement Windows at home depot for about $120 . you may need a hammer and chisel to smooth out any protruding pieces of concrete, and the new Windows should slide right in. Use shims to level the window and fill all around with spray foam. Use the kind meant for Windows and doors as it won't deform the frame of the window. When dry, caulk the exterior and interior edges.

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