When you're ready to get rid of your old cast-in-place or other type basement windows, you need to have a plan for framing in new windows and for meeting modern building codes.
Here's what you need to know:
Vinyl windows work well in a basement setting.
Because of the tendency of basements to be damp, vinyl windows are a good choice as replacements for older-style metal units. Vinyl-framed windows don't rot, aren't prone to insect damage, and stand up to snowdrifts or drenching rain. However, many old metal basement window frames leave much to be desired as material on which to fasten new vinyl windows.
It's possible to squirt out a layer of sealant and stick a vinyl window in an old metal frame, but you'll need shims to make it square, and you'll have nothing on which to attach interior trim. Instead, take the time to remove the old metal components and reframe the window openings with wood.
You'll need the right tools to do the job well.
This video shows the basic steps involved in replacing old basement windows with new vinyl ones. You'll want to have the following tools handy if you plan to DIY:
- Metal-cutting saw
- Reciprocating saw
- Table saw
- Angle grinder
- Drill with bits for wood and concrete
- Concrete chisel and smoothing tools
- Caulking gun
- Sanding tools
- Paintbrush or rags for sealant
You'll need to cut into the metal frame, pry it loose, and then smooth down the concrete where the metal was attached. You'll seal the exposed concrete and allow it to dry. Then you will start fashioning the parts for the wood frames.
The wood components of the new frame will depend on the location and size of your new vinyl windows. A skilled carpenter can help with this part, or call in professional window installers to help you finish your basement improvements. A professional installer will have the quality tools necessary to replace your old, rusting metal windows with new vinyl units that are square and attractive.
Special considerations for basement windows.
Using flanged vinyl windows takes a bit more care, but they will give you an additional barrier against moisture and pests. Flashing is sometimes necessary if there are flooding issues or a nearby downspout can't be relocated.
If your basement will have living quarters, your local code may require you to have an egress window installed in the basement. Each ordinance is different, but most require you to have an easy-to-open, easy-to-locate door that serves as an escape hatch in the case of fire, flooding, or other emergency.
Your local window installation contractors will help you build the right frames and install the right egress windows in your basement to improve the look and safety of your home.