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Thread: Replacing old metal basement windows

  1. #1
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Default Replacing old metal basement windows

    I have five of these old metal windows in my basement.

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    I will need to replace them at some point.

    I was going to hire someone like Lowes to do it, but then I thought "could I do this myself?"

    And I carried on thinking..."could all my buddies over at Terry's place give me some tips?"

    So what would I do? I assume I would need to chip the old ones out by chipping the brick on the inside. Is this right? What would I use? The rotary hammer?

    Or would I cut the window to get it out?

    And how would I measure for the new ones? And how would I fit them in? Screws? Cement? Caulk?

    Or is this a no-no for a DIY?

    Just the small basement windows. The upstairs ones are double-glazed, vinyl and fine.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Ian Gills; 04-05-2009 at 02:45 PM.

  2. #2
    Remodel Contractor GabeS's Avatar
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    Although I don't have extensive window experience, I do have enough to point you in the right direction.

    You should not have to break any brick to get the window out, unless there is brick that was built around it after it was installed.

    You can either use cement screws into the brick like you did with the bottom plates of your basement walls, or you could build a wooden frame first out of pressure treated wood.

    When you measure it, you always take the smallest of the measurements. In other words if you are measuring for the height: first you measure the height of the left side, then the height of the right side. If the left side measurement was 23 7/8" and the right was 24", you would use the 23 7/8" for the height. Same for length. Then order it that exact size. After you install use expanding foam around the window gaps (that stuff is pretty strong when it dries and will help hold the window in place). Cut the excess expanding foam away and install your mouldings.

    Good luck.
    Gabe

    Don't follow my advice, I only know a thing or two about a thing or two.

  3. #3
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Thanks GabeS. Some of the window frame appears to go a little into the brick (about a half inch), as if the house was built around these.

    Should I cut the frame to get it out? Or chip away from the inside?

    It's not in the brick at the bottom edge. I can get my chisel in here.

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    But at the sides it is tucked a little behind the inside wall.

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    Is it time to chip?
    Last edited by Ian Gills; 04-05-2009 at 03:36 PM.

  4. #4

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    I would build a frame using extruded PVC instead of regular douglas fir or pressure treated lumber. This will eliminate the need for any maintenence that doug fir would entail such as regular painting and eliminate the issue of shrinking and warping that PT lumber usually has because its usually so wet.

    Then depending on what kind of window you put in, you can use the full opening in the foundation and secure the window with another PVC frame (like door stops) or use the PVC as the rough opening and install a window in the opening, later using expanding foam and trim. Just be careful with the expanding foam you use as some will expand too much and can make windows inoperable. Great Stuff Window and Door is minimally expanding and readily available.
    I consider myself an accomplished DIY'er. I don't know everything but help where I can. I'm not a pro, but like to think I'm professional.

  5. #5

    Default I just replace 4 this weekend

    My window were standard 32w x15h. Went to HD and
    they were in stock. Might have to chip the concrete and
    be careful not to destroy the surrounding block. Then
    put a little caulking and mortar to seal. The hardest part
    is determining the size before you take the old windows out.

  6. #6
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Gills View Post
    Thanks GabeS. Some of the window frame appears to go a little into the brick (about a half inch), as if the house was built around these.

    Should I cut the frame to get it out? Or chip away from the inside?

    It's not in the brick at the bottom edge. I can get my chisel in here.

    But at the sides it is tucked a little behind the inside wall.

    Is it time to chip?
    It looks like the easiest way might be to remove the glass, then take a sawzall to the steel frame, and pull the pieces out? ... less chipping, that way? Hard to tell from the pictures, if I'm "seeing" it correctly.
    Master Plumber Mark:

    there is nothing better than the
    manly smell of WD 40 in the air
    while banging away on brass with a chisel and hammer...

    it smells like......victory......

    do not hit your thumb...
    __________________
    Just so everyone's clear: I'm the POODLE in the picture ("french", get it?) The hot woman is my wife.

  7. #7
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the tips. I am not quite sure how to measure these. From the outside or the inside?

    The measurements are about 1/4 inch smaller if I measure from the inside. But surely the new window will come in from the outside, so those measurements are the ones that matter no?

    What is a sawzall if I do decide to cut these out?

  8. #8
    Remodel Contractor GabeS's Avatar
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    I agree with frenchie. Break the glass and remove it. Then work the frame out and be careful not to damage the surrounding masonry too much as the will be the base for you new window or rough opening.

    A sawzall is a nick name for a reciprocating saw. The tool with the blade that goes up and down, sort of like a fast knife. It's a must have if you are doing remodeling work. I feel naked without my sawzall.

    My guess would be to use the measurement of where the window is going. If it's going toward the outside then use that one. If it's going toward the inside of the opening then use that one.

    I would remove the window completely and then measure the opening. While you are waiting for the replacement you have to board it up and put plastic so no water gets in. Myself, I wouldn't attempt to measure and order the new window without first removing the old.
    Gabe

    Don't follow my advice, I only know a thing or two about a thing or two.

  9. #9
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Gills View Post
    What is a sawzall if I do decide to cut these out?
    Master Plumber Mark:

    there is nothing better than the
    manly smell of WD 40 in the air
    while banging away on brass with a chisel and hammer...

    it smells like......victory......

    do not hit your thumb...
    __________________
    Just so everyone's clear: I'm the POODLE in the picture ("french", get it?) The hot woman is my wife.

  10. #10
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    Oh, you mean a bread knife.

    Anyone know a good place online to order windows from to fit myself?

  11. #11
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default windows

    The basement windows we used back in the 60's slid down into slots in the blocks on either side of them, so that in order to remove them they had to be cut in half. The new ones would have to be the correct size so they just sit into the opening and would be cemented in. Not the most secure way of doing it.

  12. #12
    Plunger/TurdPuncher kingsotall's Avatar
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    Found someone to help you with the demo...

    Bread knifeż

    Ian didn't know what a sawzall was...nanny nanny boo boo

  13. #13
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    OK, I think I will cut each one out. I might then build two small PVC frames for each window.

    Then I will buy a slightly smaller window than the opening, secure it to the wall, and then sandwich it between two PVC frames and caulk.

    I am a professional kingsotall. I normally work with precision and do not use such crude instruments.

    That's why I have decided to go for a Milwaukee 6538-21 15.0 Amp Super Sawzall. It's the surgeons' choice!
    Last edited by Ian Gills; 04-08-2009 at 12:56 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    I love this forum. A week ago I would have never taken on this job myself.

    Now I feel I have a real shot at it.

    I am getting a quote for the work tonight. If it's a little high then I am ready to order my tools and a custom replacement hopper from a local firm.

    Then I'll take my time. If the first window does not work out, I'll bail out and board up the mess. If it does, I'll keep going.

    I just must take care not to damage the lintels.

    One more question. These are small windows. Is it worth going for low-e on both sides? I'll probably choose laminated glass as well.

    Comments please.
    Last edited by Ian Gills; 04-08-2009 at 01:25 PM.

  15. #15
    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    I went LOWE with my basement windows
    Keeps the basement much warmer now
    Also venting just in case

    I was thinking you might want to just remove the windows
    Then bring the new windows in against the metal frame from the outside. Then screw the windows to the frame from the inside & with caulk to seal

    Just a thought if the metal frames are really secure

    One method to secure - if the windows open:
    Open window - drill thru side frame into concrete & secure
    DIY Handyman (not 4 hire)
    I have enough to do to my own house

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