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nwmod39 07-12-2009 05:28 PM

egress window with header required
hello forum. i am looking for some input on an egress window that i will be installing later this summer.

what i have is an unfinished basement with a couple windows needing to be replaced with legal egress windows.

the one in the laundry room is going to be a smaller size of 48*36 and the other i would like to be 72*48.

with both windows i will need to build in a header panel as the walls are bearing walls.

i would like to know some opinions on what size header to install over both windows. the 72*48 will have 5 floor joists to support with the joists being on 16" centers. the 48*36 will have 3 joists to support on 16" centers.

i am mainly concerned about the larger of the windows needing a beefier header to make up for the 5 joists laying on it and would like to know what i should go with.

thank you in advance for any input. if needed i can tkae a few pictures to show more details.


Gary in WA 07-12-2009 06:47 PM

You do know egress windows have to be 44" or less off the finished floor?

To size the header you need: the span of the joists from new header to next bearing- is it a center wall?
How many floors will it be supporting? The width of the building? Be safe, G

nwmod39 07-12-2009 11:20 PM

thanks gbar

if i go with the 48" tall it will put the bottom sill at roughly 26". the joist height to floor is only 6'8".

im not sure what you men by new header to next bearing? the window will be going into a hole cut that will be less than 3' from the corner of the foundation.

for floors supporting it will only have the main floor to support. no other floors above that beside the attic which is roughly 1/2 the size of the main floor with no storage or anything going there.

width i will have to get tomorrow.

the new header i had planned to install would cover the 5 joists plus 9" extra on each end extending out to the joist that will still be support by the original foundation.

i will get some pics and post them here with what it looks like now.

thanks a ton

nwmod39 07-13-2009 09:31 PM

6 Attachment(s)
here are a couple pics of the larger window area.

nwmod39 07-13-2009 09:36 PM

1 Attachment(s)
this pic highlights where the floor joists that would need support are.

9" past the outer most lines are the next joists that will still have foundation support.

nwmod39 07-14-2009 06:48 PM

forgot to add that the foundation measure 30'X29' and the window will be less than 2' from the corner of the foundation.

gbar, can i ask you where in washinton you are located. i am in spokane.

thanks again

Gary in WA 07-14-2009 09:00 PM

Hi Steve, I'm Gary in Tacoma. My son went to Eastern, in Cheney. He is working part-time with the city planning department over there.

Small world! I need to know: 1. if the rafters bear on that wall, upstairs? 2. are those joists held up by a middle wall, or beam? What is that span- new window wall to middle wall? 3. Are those joists 2x8? or ?

The new window location worries me. As it is only 2' from the corner, you would be losing a lot of shear there. Any chance of moving it away from the corner more?

Any thoughts from our forum's Structural Engineers?

Until they chime in I can give you this: Notice holding up one floor and ceiling and roof. Also tells you how many trimmers supporting each side, though yours will be concrete. 3- 2x10's will work. That puts you 2' down below ceiling, which is good for trim. As long as bottom of window is 18"+ above finished floor, no safety glazing is required.

Be safe, G

nwmod39 07-14-2009 10:10 PM

i cannot say if the rafters bear on that wall right off hand. i will have to climb into the attic to see but i believe that they do.

the joists are held up by a middle beam that sits 9' 2" away from the new window wall. that beam measures roughly 5" X 7" beam, actually 3 pieces tied together, and runs the entire basement parralel to the new window wall. all of the joists are 1.75" X 7.5" spaced on 16" centers.

as for moving the window over some. the good thing about not having cut the hole yet i can do anything. if i move it as far as the edge of the existing window that would put it 34" from the corner.

thanks for the heloing hand G

Gary in WA 07-15-2009 02:05 PM

The bigger return on the wall, the better. I'd go with the 34" to start of opening. That will still give you some good shear for foundation stability. Use 3-2x10's. I did a header similar to yours about 5 years ago. I temporary supported the joists, had the concrete cut out, and installed a 3 piece header. I cut back the old joists the correct amount from the inside of the old rim, with enough room to install each board next to the concrete wall. By the time you lag each header board, the last one is perfect (1/8" gap to old joists) for the hangers last.

Never mind the rafters, NA. Be safe, G

nwmod39 08-09-2009 11:42 PM


i decide to go with a 60 * 36 window instead of the larger 72*48. the 60 * 36 will still give me legal egress in the future bedroom and will obviously make the span shorter than the 72.

when making a header i have read through a few sources that you should sandwich 1/2" plywood between each piece of the header. is this correct?

does the 1/2" ply have to be treated like the header boards or just plain plywood?

when cutting the concrete do you start on the exterior of the foundation and cut through as much as possible then move inside? i figure this way would cut down on the amount of dust i would get inside the basement by doing a majority of the cutting outside.

i also plan to anchor the framing into the concrete instead of nailing. my brother nailed his in and had some minor cracking issues from the nails going in so drilling and anchoring in my thoughts should help eliminate this possibility.

looking forward to this week as i am FINALLY getting the floor joist support jacks in place and having the concrete cut by the weeks end.

Gary in WA 08-10-2009 11:46 AM

"when making a header i have read through a few sources that you should sandwich 1/2" plywood between each piece of the header. is this correct? " Only to make it fit the bearing below, 2x6, 2x4, etc.

I have only ever had the concrete wall cut by a professional with a diamond-tipped 16 or 20" saw. The chunk removed is very heavy (150# per square foot), so be careful. I nailed the first header piece to the rim joist, second to first, etc., no chance of rotation. Use a thermal break at header/concrete. After the cuts, break it into manageable chunks while it is still intact, from the top down. (Have to anyway) Be safe, G

nwmod39 08-13-2009 10:11 AM

i really appreciate all the pointers and helping words. the concrete was cut yesterday and i knocked out the pieces in prep for the framing and window. i will get some pics when i get the frame work complete.

thanks a ton!

nwmod39 08-14-2009 07:28 PM

3 Attachment(s)
rough framing complete. everything is laid into place right now for proper fit-up. i must be honest and say that i was a bit intimidated by this project at the start but it has really turned around.

couple pics

Scuba_Dave 08-14-2009 08:27 PM

Lookin good
Its amazing how much a bigger window can change a room

Gary in WA 08-14-2009 10:53 PM

Good progress! Don't forget to use some sticky window flashing tape on the bottom sill before you install the window on the outside from where it's at. Then use sticky on the p.t. jambs, then caulk, then window, then head sticky over the top flange, then trim. If you forgot to caulk behind the p.t., squirt some in the gap now. (Unless you used sill sealer as a thermal break)
I would use a Simpson H-1 on each floor joist over the new header, to keep the shear flow continuous across the opening made. (or H-2.5's)

Be safe, G

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