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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to install glass block windows in my basement window wells. I'm wondering if the metal frames shown in the attached would be difficult to remove. I don't want to start in on it and find out "what were you thinking about" that frame is never going to come out. I'm afraid they might have some sort of wet anchors that embeds super securely in the concrete. I'm sorry if one of the pictures is not right side up. I could not get it loaded correctly.
Alan
 

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The metal window frame will just be screwed into the wood that frames the opening in the concrete and should easily come out.

Here’s something to consider. Is this the only possible emergency egress point from the basement if there were to be a fire blocking the normal exit route? You did write "window wells", so there are probably more than one, but consider the egress issue before you block them all up.

Chris
 

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That is a poured-in-place metal window buck. It is placed inside the concrete formwork without any wood. The concrete flows into the frame and you have the flange which sits flush to the wall face. They have studs (older versions I've seen fins or wire hooks too) that then extend into the concrete.

Good luck getting it out. The metal is thick and the shape makes it hard to pry. But anything is possible with a grinder, plasma cutter, and chipper, so if you do, since the concrete above was not rebarred for an opening without the buck, you will get diagonal cracks at each top corner and probably failure of the concrete acting as a "lintel."

I have never seen a pro put in glass block in an existing buck, but I'm sure DIYers have done it before.

P.S. that is not an egress window.
 

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That second picture shows rust on the “wood”, so I was wrong, but surely the window frame itself is removable from the window buck. What would be the issue with replacing a glass window with glass block? Maybe getting glass blocks in the right width/height to work with an opening of a fixed size.

As far as I’m concerned, any window that someone can climb through is an egress window in an emergency.

Chris
 

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I was kind of thinking it might be a pour in place kind of thing and nearly impossible job to get it out. There are no visible fasteners making me think that it's poured in place. Assuming it is a poured in place thing, do people put glass block windows in that situation?
 

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but surely the window frame itself is removable from the window buck. What would be the issue with replacing a glass window with glass block? Maybe getting glass blocks in the right width/height to work with an opening of a fixed size.

As far as I’m concerned, any window that someone can climb through is an egress window in an emergency.
There are two pieces - the buck (which is the frame) and the window sash. This looks like a 15-30 years old aluminum sash, but you can find replacement vinyls which may be more energy efficient. The sash is not connected to the buck, it just "locks" in with what looks like the two tabs on top, the one stud on each side at the bottom holds it at an angle when you open it inward, and then it just lifts out.

Though it sounds like the OP wants privacy or security with glass block. You probably want 8" thick, but you have to deal with the shape of the outer window stop frame + the inner bottom one you can see in the photo, and the height/width is probably non-standard to 8" or 6" square glass block.

Even though it is possible to shimmy through the window, heck even John McClane crawled through ductwork, there is probably another window that is the proper egress unit size and 44" from floor with a quick release sash.
 

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The current windows I don't feel are very secure. I'd like the privacy of the the GB and I'm sure they're more energy efficient.
Have you considered another window on the inside. Can have obscured glass or an obscured vinyl can be added to it. The window as is has likely has more R value than the concrete does. :wink2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think most anything will have more R value than the current single pane of glass in an aluminum frame. As for a window on the inside. I was hoping to do this myself and I'd be in the same boat trying to figure out how to get one installed. I was hoping to buy a pre-assembled glass block unit from one of the big box stores that would fit in the opening. The steel pour in place frame really complicates things.
 

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The window was not there when the concrete was poured even if the steel was so it is changeable from the outside. I doubt you would find a pre built glass block to fit. Or even find blocks that would add up to the measurements you have.

Add a window to the inside would be work but not rocket science.
 

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I've removed dozens of those frames. The quickest way is an oxy accetalyne torch. You could try an angle grinder and a cold chisel, but it would be much easier with a torch.
We learned in school to keep the torch away from concrete as it can explode back at you??


Torch Cutting Safety
One should never use concrete as base for cutting since concrete holds water. When the cutting torches heat makes contact with the concrete, the heat will cause the water in the concrete to expand and the concrete to explode. Take extra caution and time when cleaning the tips of cutting torches.
 
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