Learn how to replace basement windows without difficulty. New basement windows can dramatically improve your home and provide additional security.
Replacing basement windows can be done easily by most homeowners in a relatively short period of time. The hardest part of the job will be correctly measuring for your new windows. Glass block window installation is another option for homeowners but can be a slightly more difficult process.
How to Replace Basement Windows Easily
Basement window replacement is easier than replacing larger windows in the main portion of your home. You do not need to climb up to the second story and no special tools are required. Learning how to replace basement windows correctly will make your job even easier.
There are many reasons to consider replacing basement windows. Old basement windows can be a source of cold drafts in the winter. Old style windows are also not very secure. They may even be a source of water leakage during heavy rains. The good news is that basement window replacement is not a difficult Do It Yourself project.
Before you replace your older windows check any code requirements for the area you live in. You may be required to have one or more egress windows installed for fire safety. Take accurate measurements. Correctly measuring for basement replacement windows is a critical step.
While shimming can be done on basements windows to fill gaps, it is not as easy to do as it is with windows set into wood frames. You need to measure the actual flat area where the window will be installed near the exterior of the opening.
You should have a claw hammer, tape measure, caulking gun, chisel and pry bar available. A battery-operated drill will make the job easier but regular screwdrivers will work. You may need a hacksaw or reciprocating saw if you are unable to pry out the old frame easily.
Typical single pane windows can be removed fairly simply. Open the window and lift the glass portion out of the frame. Your old window frame will most likely be anchored into concrete on three sides and attached to the wooden sill plate on the top. This probably will be held in place with screws but could be nailed in. You may need to pry some of the old metal framing out with a pry bar.
Before installing your new windows, clean and repair any damages around the window opening. You can use some masonry material to repair cracks or chips. Check the level on both top and bottom to ensure a uniform surface.
Standard Window Installation
Prepare your new window frame and insert it into the opening. You will need to check from both inside and outside of your home to make sure that the window is as level as possible and any gaps around the edges of the frame are evenly spaced.
Starting at one side of the bottom of the frame, begin nailing or screwing the frame into place. Check your level as you go and do not over tighten until you are sure of a proper fit. If the frame becomes out of alignment the new window glass will not fit properly.
Continue nailing or screwing the frame in place on both sides and the top. Check the fit of the window before any final tightening is done. Fill any areas with large gaps with insulation or additional masonry as required.
Finish your project by caulking around any gaps on both the inside and outside of your new windows. If your new window came with exterior trim add this after any gaps have been filled. Paint can be added as a final touch of your basement window replacement project if desired.
Once you have learned how to replace basement windows with standard windows you might be tempted to try glass block style windows. Glass block windows can provide additional security and privacy for areas that do not need an egress window. The easiest way to install new glass block windows is to order them pre-assembled to your required size.
Again, accurate measurements are critical. Glass block windows can also be installed with air vents or openings for a dryer exhaust. The windows should come with installation instructions from the manufacturer. Once the assembly is set in place, shims can be installed to help level the window and create even spaces for the addition of the masonry compound to hold the window in place.
Glass block windows can also be installed one block at a time. This takes considerably more work and does require some experience. Each glass block piece must be shimmed and spaced properly for the entire window to fit correctly. Do follow any manufacturer’s installation instructions if you plan on taking on this type of window project.
- Installing Replacement Basement Windows: https://www.doityourself.com/stry/installing-replacement-basement-windows
- Glass block installation: http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/rooms-and-spaces/walls-and-ceilings/how-to-build-a-glass-block-wall
- This Old House video: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-replace-basement-window
- Personal experience with window replacement