Replacing old metal basement windows

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Ian Gills, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

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

    IMGP1479.jpg

    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: Apr 5, 2009
  2. GabeS

    GabeS Remodel Contractor

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    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    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.
  3. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

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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.

    IMGP1484.jpg

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

    IMGP1485.jpg

    Is it time to chip?
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2009
  4. iminaquagmire

    iminaquagmire DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    207
    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.
  5. cpeters

    cpeters New Member

    Messages:
    18
    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. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    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.
  7. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

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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. GabeS

    GabeS Remodel Contractor

    Messages:
    294
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    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.
  9. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    [​IMG]
  10. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

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    Oh, you mean a bread knife.

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

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Cave Creek, Arizona
    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. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    Found someone to help you with the demo...

    Bread knife¿

    Ian didn't know what a sawzall was...nanny nanny boo boo :p
  13. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

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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: Apr 8, 2009
  14. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

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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: Apr 8, 2009
  15. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    South of Boston, MA
    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
  16. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

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    One quick thought.

    Should I go with hoppers for the basement or sliders? Windows measure 32" wide by 18" high.

    I have just had a salesman round to get a quote (just to see about the cost of getting this done pro). Big mistake not just because the price was too high (4000-5000 dollars). He wouldn't leave after 2 hours and asked to use my home phone. When I said he couldn't, we needed to think about the quote and insisted he left because it was getting late (9pm!!!), he started swearing and going crazy saying he wouldn't get paid and I'd wasted an hour of his time without even letting him make a phone call (he had a cell phone in his hand). Really scared the wife. He then sat outside in his car for 15 minutes. I then had to call the police.

    His arse is mine when I phone his company tomorrow. There are some real nutters out there, particularly in these hard times.

    In my home country he would have left with a broken nose.

    Another reason to DIY. Even local firms that are bonded and insured are on my not list now. But perhaps this firm is not local and just appears to be....
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  17. iminaquagmire

    iminaquagmire DIY Senior Member

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    Sounds like the siding salesmen here. They were here for three hours with full knowledge that all we wanted was a bid. I ended up throwing them out too. The one guy kept going on about how his uncle wasn't going to be happy with him for not making the sale and how his uncle was going to fire him. I told him his uncle would be smart to fire him and his uncle was an idiot for sending him out. That's the nice version. Scary about the guy sitting out in the car though.
  18. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

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    They did siding as well!

    :) Thanks for making me laugh and feel better.
  19. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

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    South of Boston, MA
    He was probably going to try the routine:

    "Hey my boss said if you sign right now we can do the job for $3500"
  20. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Location:
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    salesman

    Welcome to the world of the high pressure "I'll come to your house and give you a free, no obligation, estimate", salesmen. He probably sells water softeners and tankless water heaters also. They are immensly overpriced, but come up with inducement after inducement to try to make the deal palatable and get you to sign. Even after "free installation", low interest rate, and all the rest you are still lucky if you only pay about 3 times what the job should cost.
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