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thirstyscholar 07-07-2013 05:50 PM

Unocovering blocked basement windows
I'm looking for some advice as to how to approach uncovering some of our basement windows. Our basement is partially finished and three windows along one side of the house are visible from the outside of the house but not visible from in the basement as they are blocked off by drywall, so it's hard to tell from in the basement where the windows are.

It looks like there are wall studs where two of the three windows are, but not where the third one is. While I'm tempted to try and guess where a window might be and start cutting, I'm hoping there's a better solution.



gregzoll 07-07-2013 06:02 PM

I would leave them blocked with the insulation in between them and the wall. As long as the person that finished the basement knew what they were doing, when they did the remodel, the windows should not be showing any signs of moisture penetration or mold if you were to cut the drywall off where they are located at.

I went through and blocked my basement windows, since they are old 1930's style single pane windows, that leak more than they are worth. All I did was place foil faced foam board over them, then caulk the foam in place to air seal.

Basement stays less humid and cooler in the Summer. As for your problem, if you have older windows in there, are you going to replace them with better windows after you remove the drywall covering them?

kwikfishron 07-07-2013 06:04 PM

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Get out the tape measure...take some measurements outside and transfer them to the inside. Take into account 6-8" for the foundation thickness. When you think you got it then cut a little hole and take a peak.

kwikfishron 07-07-2013 06:15 PM

199 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by gregzoll (Post 1212919)
I would leave them blocked

Can't you ever just answer a simple question with a simple answer? If Op want's to see the light the open the window.

BTW thirstyscholar, welcome to the forum. :thumbsup:

gregzoll 07-07-2013 06:52 PM


Originally Posted by kwikfishron (Post 1212927)
Can't you ever just answer a simple question with a simple answer? If Op want's to see the light the open the window.

BTW thirstyscholar, welcome to the forum. :thumbsup:

Sorry, but there is no simple answer to any solution. If there was, everything would be bland and no fun.

thirstyscholar 07-07-2013 07:30 PM

Thanks guys!
I've actually been content to leave it as it is for years, but we're actually hoping to get both light and a bit more air circulation, with the crazy idea that it might help with air quality. That and my wife doesn't really want to stare at a big black windowless wall while she's on the exercise bike in the basement. I think the previous owners set it up this way with no windows so they would have a good spot to put their big screen TV.

I suppose if I hit the jackpot and find the window then I just need to frame it somehow. But I probably should burn one bridge at a time.

gregzoll 07-07-2013 08:11 PM

Air circulation needs to be done, but using your current HVAC equipment. Have a hvac contractor do a calculation to see if it is sized to be able to handle the basement. Most likely it already is, due to majority of hvac systems are oversized to begin with, and would have no problem handling the conditioning of that space.

As for bringing in light, once you cut the drywall where the windows are, you hope that it is framed around the windows, so you can place drywall inside the box to finish. Otherwise, you will have to tear that whole section out to frame around the window.

Problem with basement remodels, is that the person who did it in the beginning as a homeowner (not stating that you did it, just giving an example) did it wrong from the beginning. Once you start opening drywall, you find mold behind the insulation, and rotted wood, due to placed directly on the floor and up against the walls.

Also if you plan on using the basement more as for living space, you will need to have a Egress window placed into a wall, so that if a fire does break out, or the structure collapses from say a Tornado or Wind event, anyone down there has a second way to escape, even if you do not plan on placing any type of sleeping quarters in the basement, it is always good to plan a second form of egress down there.

As for the more light, really depends on how much ceiling lighting is already down there. Depending on what she plans on using the space for, you can either install can lights with LED or CFL lights, or larger windows in conjunction with the lights you already have down there.

Any changes you do plan on doing down there, it is always good to consult with an architect to come up with the best plan for making things better down there, and stay within codes.

concretemasonry 07-07-2013 09:11 PM

Keep the windows sealed/covered unless you want to look out.

If you have AC, make that a part of the livable space by using the furnace/air handler with low level air returns. Some technical "purists" with say to insulate to the rediculous prescriptive code requirements that actually defeats the benefits of the thermal mass if you are in a colder climate and AC in the summer (the soil in the winter is probably 55F when it could be -0F outside and the soil will help minimize the AC costs in the summer if it a reasonably dry basement).


RWolff 07-08-2013 01:11 AM

I had a similar issue, my home's basement windows were ALL covered over with tarpaper on the outside, it was like a damp lightless TOMB down there. First thing I did was peel off the roll roofing they wrapped around and I had 4 decent windows. I since added one and covered one when I added a studio on the back, but even tiny windows will admit a LOT of light as well as FRESH air into an otherwise stuffy, dark, damp basement so they are well worth uncovering.

Here's how much light comes in from just 2 narrow ground level windows

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