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Old 08-10-2012, 12:42 PM   #1
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help me put an egress in this wall please


I am going to have the west wall of my house excavated to deal with some drainage issues and waterproofing. While the soil is away I want to put in an egress window as we plan on adding a bedroom down there in the very near future. From the look of the block, there had to have been a window there at some point already. Oh well. My question is, since this wall runs parallel to the floor joists, do I need a header still or can I just frame the window opening with 2x8's up to the rim joist as seen in this article: http://www.popularmechanics.com/home...vement/1275596

I am aware that here in MI the bottom sill can be no more than 44" from the finished floor and total area must be 5.7 sq ft. The clear opening width must be 20" and the window height must be at least 24". What size window would you recommend in a casement style that will be easiest to fit considering the block layout? I was thinking 28x40something. Here is a pic of the wall where it will be going.

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Old 08-10-2012, 01:18 PM   #2
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help me put an egress in this wall please


hard to say whether or not you need a header without seeing the rest of the structure above. Point loading, etc. could cause need for one.

As for window size, the width should be in a nominal 4" increment to match with the block coursing and the height should be in a nominal 8" incerement to match with the block coursing. You're going to want to rake out the grout joints and tooth in the half blocks for the best approach. Saw-cutting will leave open cores exposed which will be hard to air seal.

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Old 08-10-2012, 01:39 PM   #3
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help me put an egress in this wall please


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hard to say whether or not you need a header without seeing the rest of the structure above. Point loading, etc. could cause need for one.

As for window size, the width should be in a nominal 4" increment to match with the block coursing and the height should be in a nominal 8" incerement to match with the block coursing. You're going to want to rake out the grout joints and tooth in the half blocks for the best approach. Saw-cutting will leave open cores exposed which will be hard to air seal.
it is a one-story ranch with the master bedroom above this wall. I have no idea what point loading means.

block coursing?
tooth in?
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:54 PM   #4
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help me put an egress in this wall please


That looks like an exterior wall. If it is, then the wall is supporting the sill beam above it. In that case, you need a lintel (typically iron or steel angle) sized appropriately for the opening and load. Nothing complex about installing a lintel, check with your building inspector for the code your Town uses, and size the lintel appropriately. You may need temporary support of the sill beam while you install the lintel, that would depend on the existing load and the opening.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:40 PM   #5
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help me put an egress in this wall please


Point loading is if there is a column or other means of carrying a concentrated structural load to a single point on the sill plate.

Block coursing is the standard unit size of the masonry. For you it looks like a 8"x8"x16" block. So your block coursing is generally in multiples of 8" horizontally and 8" vertically.

Toothing in is a term used to describe the finishing of retrofitted masonry opening. If you remove only the blocks that protrude into the opening area then you'll be left with jambs that look like a zipper. The act of toothin in is placing 1/2 blocks (8"x8"x8") into the voids of the "zipper" to make the jamb a straight vertical plane. Here's a picture of a toothed edge: http://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image...00341X-gr1.jpg
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:51 PM   #6
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help me put an egress in this wall please


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That looks like an exterior wall. If it is, then the wall is supporting the sill beam above it. In that case, you need a lintel (typically iron or steel angle) sized appropriately for the opening and load. Nothing complex about installing a lintel, check with your building inspector for the code your Town uses, and size the lintel appropriately. You may need temporary support of the sill beam while you install the lintel, that would depend on the existing load and the opening.
seriously? that seems extreme for a 32" opening. why don't the 32x18 windows have that then?
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:54 PM   #7
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help me put an egress in this wall please


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why don't the 32x18 windows have that then?
Typically the rim joist and sill plate combined act as a pseudo header for most basement windows. If the openings get any larger, then an actual header will need to be provided. It's likely you won't have the head room above the window to be worrying about steel lintels and masonry, so you'll likely be looking at a typical wood frame window with king stud, jack stud, and header assembly.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:56 PM   #8
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help me put an egress in this wall please


Did you take one of your windows apart to look at the support above? It is pretty typical for windows, even relatively small ones, to have either a header (if wood frame construction) or a lintel (if masonry or brick) above. Certainly the window frame is not going to support load above it. If you have a double top plate above, and the plate is lightly loaded, and the span is small, I suppose you could get away without a header, but I would check first with the building inspector.
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:17 PM   #9
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help me put an egress in this wall please


Start out with finding an egress window that suits your need and make sure it has the "egress" sticker on it and leave it thereuntil the inspector approves the final installation and then save the approval in case you go to sell. It is valuable, but the basement room can be classified as a bedroom, increasing the living area and the $ value for anyone trying to get a mortgage.

Be aware that the requirements for egress windows address the CLEAR opening width and height available without removing hardware since you could not expect a child or a fireman try to enter from the outside to be able to do reasonably quickly in the case of a fire. Casement windows that do not swing wide enough and always seen to be a problem with the width. That is the reason for buying a window sized to be an egress window.

There will be information with the window that states what rough opening is required. Be aware that the 44" height to the bottom of the opening is not necessary in effect is all areas and a locality can change that (as long as it is more restrictive). Another common maximum height above finished floor is 42".

With the size of the rough opening you need and the height of the bottom of the window opening, you can get an ides of how to make the rough opening with the appropriate structure and loads oper the opening.

If it was me, and the block wall was parallel to the joists, I would put solid 2x4 blocking between the first 2 or 3 joists and the sill while it was still open. What was in the photo seemed a little feeble.

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Old 08-10-2012, 05:30 PM   #10
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help me put an egress in this wall please


The window manufacturer has their egress list, check with them. Remember, the opening of the bottom of the window meets Code for minimum height above finished floor, not the sill- check with local AHJ on this. Cut the block to the window, not size the window to block... add the head, sill and jamb framing of p.t. wood (eg. 2x8), otherwise the top of the window may look odd compared to others in the house or standing in front of it. Usually, with an "egress" sized window, the height is standard, even it it doesn't work out with the blocks. You may need wedge anchors or adhesive-set fasteners, check locally. Cover the back of the p.t. touching block with sticky window wrap (flash) for a capillary break after filling the open cells with mortar mix/canned foam as per AHJ. Caulk any filler framing/trim that holds the window in after backer rod to get an "hour-glass" shape for optimum stretch between dis-similar materials. Use galvanized "HD" fasteners with p.t. wood. Are you cutting the block yourself?

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Old 08-11-2012, 08:11 AM   #11
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help me put an egress in this wall please


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seriously? that seems extreme for a 32" opening. why don't the 32x18 windows have that then?
They should. Even my 24-inch basement windows have lintels.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:24 PM   #12
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help me put an egress in this wall please


they don't. I replaced one for the bathroom I just built down there. What size boards should I use for header? 2x8, 2x10, 2x6? Not sure what you mean by blocking the first 2-3 joists before the sill plate.
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Old 08-11-2012, 06:05 PM   #13
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help me put an egress in this wall please


For proper blocking, you put in 2x's the same depth as the joist and perpendicular to the joist the increase that stiffness of the floor system.

That, plus real anchor bolts that should be into the sill plate provide great support for the foundation walls and prevent future basement wall problems (especially for the basement walls that are non-bearing).

It is easy and cheap and should have been done originally.

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Old 08-11-2012, 07:02 PM   #14
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Well my house was built in 1960 and I bought it in 2005 so it is what it is, sorry.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:42 PM   #15
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I suggest that you visit your local AHJ and work with them on this. Adding another header joist (1' longer on each end than opening) on the mud-sill next to the perimeter (outside) joist is not that difficult (as said before). Weathering it in may be-unless you understand construction. We don't know your experience/knowledge.

You may need a permit for this structural change, both for when the house sells and possibly for your H.O. Insurance carrier for any liability you cause in the project.

Gary

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