Basement window replacement

Renovating or renovating your basement is a great way to turn a damp and dark space, window companies near me primarily used for storage, into an excellent living area such as a recreation room, home office, or guest room. One thing to think carefully about before starting a project is basement windows. Here’s a closer look at this vital home improvement topic window companies near me.

Windows in unfinished basements are usually small and simple. In many cases, the windows don’t let much light into the space, giving the room a gloomy and somewhat depressing character. However, basement remodeling is the perfect time to update your basement and bring more sunlight and brightness to your new living space.

The perfect time to replace windows

Of course, in some cases, you may not want to replace all of your basement windows, but only some of them. So first, check all the windows in the room carefully. Any windows that are difficult to open and close, have rotting wood around the window frame, or have drafts entering the basement are the first candidates for replacement.

Window Types

You can choose several types of windows to replace the ones you want to upgrade.

Casement windows.

A popular choice for finished basement windows is the casement window. A casement window opens and closes with a hinge attached to the frame. The hinges are installed on both sides and are usually opened with a handle or crank.

Fanlight

Another type of casement window is called a transom window. Finally, a hopper window has the same characteristics as a standard casement window, except that the hinge is at the bottom of the window instead of on the side.

Awnings

Another standard casement window is the awning window with a hinge at the top.

Sliding windows.

An additional common choice for remodeled basements is the sliding window, which does not open outward or inward like a casement window, but has sashes that open horizontally. Sliding windows are usually smaller than casement windows, so they are a good option if you have limited space for replacement windows.

Double-hung.

A double-hung window is somewhat similar to a sliding window in that it has two sashes sliding past each other. However, the sashes of a double-hung window open and close vertically rather than horizontally.

Conclusion

One particular type of window that may need to be installed during a remodel is an exit window. Local building codes often require finished basements with bedrooms to have a large window through which people in the basement can escape in case of fire. Another purpose of an exit window is to allow emergency personnel access to the house.

Replacing basement windows is a complex task that requires the skilled assistance of trained professionals, such as the experienced professionals at Gornitz Works. We can handle all of your window needs. Contact us for more information about basement windows.

Having a basement is a significant advantage for any home. However, a cellar is, first and foremost, extra space worth using wisely. Traditionally, people are used to storing unnecessary items or placing boiler rooms in them. But with the right arrangement, this space can quickly become, for example, a workshop, gym, sauna, billiard room, or library. To do this, it is at least necessary to install windows. Through them, fresh air and sunlight will enter the room.

Windows for basements come in different forms, just like basements themselves, and the process of selecting and installing window structures is different from installing regular windows.

Choosing the material for basement windows

Window structures with plastic, wood and aluminum profiles are installed on basement floors:

  • Plastic windows for the basement are the most popular because of their practicality, durability, and ability to increase the soft opening by about 10% without losing rigidity and thermal properties. Professionals recommend installing PVC constructions in semi-basement rooms. The window must have sashes that can be opened, as basement rooms require systematic ventilation to avoid the formation of condensation on the walls; in those places where the plastic profile is in contact with the basement walls, it requires waterproofing and insulating layer.
  • The aluminum profile is rarely used when installing basement windows, mainly in cases where the basement is planned to be equipped with unheated rooms, such as boiler rooms or warehouses. This is because aluminum can not fully protect against the penetration of the cold.
  • Wooden windows are usually not recommended for installation in rooms with high humidity, and it is believed that wood is the least suitable as a profile for basement windows. However, thanks to innovative technology, you can install a wooden window in your basement if you wish. Modern window profile made of wood is coated with a liquid polymer, laminated, and treated with unique compounds, which allows it to resist moisture well without losing its aesthetic and technical properties for many years.

General recommendations for basement windows

If you want to turn your basement into a full-fledged living space, such as a workshop or home office, in the process of glazing the room must adhere to specific rules:

  • The window surface should be no less than 1/8 of the floor area. This will get the best amount of sunlight into the basement (if you don’t plan to be in the basement for a long time, glazing at 1/12th of the floor area will be enough);
  • In converting the basement into a living room, you may need to increase the parameters of the existing window opening. When changing the window size, it is advisable to keep the lintels. A window lintel is a part of the building, or the wall, located above the window opening. It can be steel, reinforced concrete, brick, or stone. The lintel is subject to pressure from the structure above. If necessary, the lintel must be strengthened by changing the window size.

If the basement window is buried in the ground, it must be protected by grating and equipped with drainage.

These are just some of the rules for basement window openings.

You shouldn’t do it yourself if you want to convert your basement into a full-fledged living space. The best solution is to turn to professionals who are perfectly familiar with all the rules of installing windows in basement rooms of different types.

Features of window installation in different types of basements

The way to install windows in the basement depends on its configuration and the basement’s location to the ground level.

  1. Semi-open type. This type is common in buildings erected on sloping surfaces. In them, one of the walls is not covered with soil. 
  2. It is in it a window opening is mounted, after which the basement room in full compliance with all construction standards can be attributed to the dwelling category. A semi-open basement allows the installation of a window and a door. 
  3. Through it, you can go out into the street. If such a door is available, no extra would be the arrangement of a small terrace.
  4.  Partially sunken (semi-basement). Most of the walls are below ground level in this type of basement. To partially open the cellar was well lit; you need to install it closer to the ceiling oval hinged windows.
  5.  Fully sunken. In such a basement room to organize natural sunlight is the most difficult. You will need not just a window opening but also a particular pit with a drainage system and a canopy.

The pit’s dimensions are directly related to the parameters of the window structure. Excavation must be dug and concreted, paved with stone, and lined with metal, wood, and plastic covers. The configuration of the pit can be anything: a rectangle, semicircular, with flat/oblique walls, as well as with the walls in the form of a ladder.

Often the pit is covered with lattice, which can protect the window opening. The presence of lattice is particularly relevant if the hole is deep (about 1 meter). It should be installed, at least for security purposes, so that in recess, for example, no child accidentally falls.

How to protect the basement from flooding?

A crucial point when installing a window in the basement is to protect the room from possible flooding. For this purpose, unique pits are created. Such an element is mandatory when the window opening is located underground. Parameters of the cavity directly depend on the size of the window opening. For example, if the PVC window is almost completely buried under the ground, the bottom of the pit should be near the bottom of the window. Recess should be more profound than the bottom of the window construction by about 20 cm.

It is mandatory to arrange a drainage system:

  • If the house stands on the ground with high water permeability, it is recommended to install a perforated pipe, diverting water to a depth of 1 m. To prevent soil particles from clogging the perforation, it is filled with fine crushed stone or gravel;
  •  If the ground on which the house is located poorly absorbs water, a circular drainage system is organized around the foundation. A ditch is dug along the perimeter, drainage pipes are laid, and wells are installed.

Can I install a window in a built basement?

If the house is already built and a window for the basement is not provided, you can still install it. It is necessary to consider where the room is located: partially above the ground or underground. In the semi-basement, windows are installed without problems. The more difficult situation with basements, located entirely underground. To glaze such a basement must partially excavate the wall, arrange the pit and only then install the window opening.

First, you must design the structure and mount the window lintel. Then, the basement wall is knocked out a hole (aperture), mounted profile, and installed window sills and slopes.

Installing windows is not easy enough since creating a new window will inevitably damage the thermal and waterproofing layers of the structure. As a result, the surface will have to be insulated again, and the installation joint where the window profile is in direct contact with the walls must be worked on very carefully.

The ideal solution for glazing the basement will be PVC windows with anti-burglary hardware and a profile with a closed reinforcement. In addition, a modern basement room should install a window with heavy-duty triplex glass that is resistant to high mechanical stress.

Do not forget about the installation of a protective visor, such as polycarbonate. Such a design will prevent precipitation and direct sunlight from entering the basement.

You were installing a window in the basement of an apartment building or private residence – not an easy task, which should be approached responsibly and professionally. When selecting and installing a basement window, many factors are important: the type of basement, soil conditions, its functionality, and other parameters. If you plan to improve your basement, make it habitable and install windows in it, please get in touch with experienced professionals who competently perform all the work and guarantee a quality result.

You will gain significant extra space by designing a house with a basement.

And, of course, it would be unwise to use the basement only for technical needs and storage of household goods. And to fully utilize the basement rooms as a living room, it is necessary to install windows.

Both for sunlight and natural ventilation of the premises. On a clear sunny day, a pair of windows is quite enough to provide an average level of natural light in the middle-sized basement.

And psychologically, spending time in a room with windows is much more comfortable than in a “concrete cube,” even if well lit with electricity.

The process of selecting and installing windows for the basement has some features.

And somewhat different from that of conventional windows.

The main difficulty is that the basement windows are often located either below ground level or at an elevation of ten to twenty centimeters. This suggests that the windows will carry additional loads, particularly exposed to excessive moisture.

But by paying enough attention to the selection problem and proper installation, you are sure to “win this battle.”

Windows in the basement. What material is preferred

For installation in the basement, you should choose only windows made of modern materials and use the latest technology.

So you are guaranteed to save your money and time.

And nerves, since replacing new windows quickly deteriorated, you will not be happy.

What is the best window to choose? Of what material?

Plastic windows for the basement

Modern windows from PVC – profiles have a soft opening of ten to fifteen percent more than those of the same size made of other materials. And for the basement, fifteen percent is a very significant plus.

In this case, the plastic window will lose its qualities: neither heat insulation nor sound-protective qualities or structural strength.

If the base in your house is high enough, then the installation of metal windows will be very profitable financially. However, if the windows are located above ground level or half-buried, you can not spend money to order unique designs and buy regular budget windows.

The only condition of choice – the window should have opening casements (at least one) and a sufficiently good level of sound and thermal insulation.

Also, worry about high-quality waterproofing of the contact places between the frame and the basement walls. It is best to use polyurethane foam for this purpose. This, although expensive, but effective and reliable.

Aluminum windows for basement

Windows made of the aluminum profile are appropriate for basements only if you do not plan to equip the basement for housing.

Because not such a window can sufficiently insulate the room, even if we are talking about the so-called “warm” aluminum profile.

If you plan to use the basement as a technical room, such as a boiler room or storage room, then the aluminum profile is quite suitable for you. For unheated rooms, its protective qualities are pretty enough.

And since aluminum windows are cheaper than plastic, their installation in technical areas is fully justified.

The number of color variations of aluminum designs is vast, and you can always choose a suitable option for your interior.

Wooden windows for the basement

Windows made of wood in the basement and semi-basement rooms are rarely installed.

Because the simple wooden windows are made using old technology, they will not withstand operation for a long time in the basement. In addition, high humidity, lack of sun, and “drying” effects of wind quickly bring such frames into complete disrepair.

And modern wooden windows are produced by innovative technologies from high-quality wood with various impregnations and coatings, and although durable and “hardy,” at a much higher cost than the most expensive and high-quality plastic. This makes their use of basement premises not quite financially justified.

But if you, nevertheless, stop your choice of modern wooden windows, you will not regret it.

No other material except wood will give you such a cozy and “thorough” atmosphere. And if your house is made of timber with a natural stone finish, the combination with wooden frames will be perfect.

Basement floor. Features of window installation

There are several ways to provide quality natural light to basement and semi-basement rooms.

The first is, of course, the installation of windows.

But a variant using skylights and light pits is also possible.

The option is chosen depending on the design and height of the basement and your personal preferences. It is also possible to combine several varieties of basement glazing.

If the basement of your house is high, then the best option would be to install conventional windows. But, as the saying goes, “cheap and sulfuric.”

Installing windows

To be able to install a regular window, you will need to dig a pit.

Usually, it is finished with concrete or brick. A pit can have both rectangular and semicircular shapes, and its size should be slightly larger than the size of the window.

Sometimes, pits close lattices; this option has a double benefit – and the penetration of intruders will save and secure from falling into the hole of children or pets.

The bottom pit should be deepened by about fifteen to twenty centimeters below the window sill and must be equipped with a drainage grate. Otherwise, you get a window “aquarium instead after a rain or spring flooding.”

The water diversion should be carried out in a storm drainage system or use a perforated drainage pipe, deepening it a meter into the ground and filling around the crushed stone. This way, you get an absorbent well that evenly distributes water in the soil column.

Installing skylights

Tunnel light lanterns are corrugated tubes, covered inside with reflective material and closed on top of a transparent dome.

One end of the lamp is inserted into an opening made in the wall, and the second lead to the surface of the pit. To install, the lantern pit should be closed from above.

Lanterns pass less light than windows but also cost less.

The amount of light depends on the diameter of the lantern, which can have a diameter of twenty-five to fifty-five centimeters, and on the orientation of the dome relative to the sides of the light. Also, ensure that the lantern is not covered by anything, such as a bush, flower bed, or tree.

One light lantern with a diameter of twenty-five centimeters will effectively illuminate no more than four square meters of the room, with a diameter of thirty-five centimeters – up to six meters, and fifty-five – “handle” the room up to twenty-five squares.

You can install a frame with a lamp in some tunnel lanterns. At night, such a lantern will turn into a kind of lamp – a sconce.

Models of light tunnels are available as deaf, with the possibility of opening.

But be careful with the available versions – they can “seep” enough to flood the room with water during the rain.

Installing a skylight

The basement light pit is constructed of polypropylene reinforced with fiberglass, with a protective grid.

It is installed at the window’s location before backfilling the foundation pit.

If the wall outside is waterproofed, light pits are used to ensure a watertight connection: the joint between the structure and the wall is filled with a sealing mass.

Light pits are produced in a wide dimensional grid. Therefore, if there is a need to establish a wet hole at a considerable depth, you can use particular extensions that will increase its height.

There are models of skylights with drainage grates at the bottom, which can be used to connect to a storm drainage system or with wall drainage.

In the arrangement of windows in the basement, there are some fundamental points to be aware of before starting to glaze the basement room:

  • Very often, when installing windows in the basement, use pits, guided by the rule: the area of the bottom hole should be approximately equal to the site of the window, also matters and its shape. Most often, it is rectangular with a long side parallel to the wall of the house, half as wide as a window, and short sides with a length of not more than a meter. The bottom should be at least twenty centimeters deeper than the bottom edge of the window and equipped with a drain for rain and flood water drainage.
  • It is desirable to determine the location and number of windows in the basement before construction; otherwise, you will have to cut openings in the finished foundation, and the “good” will not do. And it will cost a lot of money for such works since while making the window apertures, the layers of hydro- and heat-insulation will be damaged, and the surface will have to be re-insulated.
  • In addition to the grid over the window, it is recommended to make a small visor so that the niches are not littered and do not get atmospheric precipitation. A convenient option with the device of polycarbonate canopies, they perfectly cope with rain and flood waters and are easy to clean when necessary.

A house built with a plinth is externally beautiful, and the presence of windows in the lower part of the building only improves the view from the outside. But in addition to the decorative function, these openings have several other purposes.

One of the essential functions of such windows is the room’s ventilation, which you can not do without in the basement. In attics, such openings are called dormer windows, which are opened to ventilate the room. Basement windows allow fresh air from the street and light the room.

On a sunny day, just 2-3 small openings can give a comfortable illumination of the underground part of the house, which will comfortably spend time in it, if there is a living area or workshops. You can also find photo materials representing the basement’s arrangement and window openings involved in the interior.

Types of basements

The presence of windows in the basement depends on their type and depth. This directly affects the way the room is illuminated. There are several options for arranging window openings, and the design and location options can be found in numerous photos in the public domain.

Semi-open

The easiest way to illuminate a basement with sunlight is when one of the walls is not covered with soil. This type is common when homes are built on a slope.

An opening is installed in the wall, and the room can be considered residential according to all construction standards. However, arranging a bedroom, a study, or a living area is recommended for other purposes. 

It is possible to install not only a window opening and a balcony with a door, thus arranging an additional exit to the street. It would look good to have a small terrace in this arrangement.

Partially sunken.

In such basements, most of the walls are underground. Therefore, illuminating this room will require an arrangement of unique windows, oblong and opening themselves with a hinged device. The height of the window aperture of this type is limited by the size of the above-ground part of the basement.

These places become a vulnerability of the basement not only for the cold but also for unauthorized entry into the house by unauthorized persons. To avoid this, lattices and roller shutters with unique mechanisms against burglary are arranged. But this way to protect windows in the basement can be only in the case of additional protection of the first-floor windows.

Fully sunken

Such a deep basement placement is the most complex and expensive to arrange natural light. Here you need not only a window but also a pit, with a drainage system and a protective canopy over it. Designers have come up with several alternatives, in particular, to make narrow openings in the wall surface of the basement and lay in glass blocks. This will make it possible to make a light belt around the perimeter.

You can make the entire opening with glass blocks, then the amount of light in the room will create the illusion of the overground floor instead of the basement. But these methods are too expensive and troublesome, so resort to the standard pits with protection.

In a cove.

This arrangement of the window opening is made with the structure of the pit, which is concreted, encased with stones, and finished with plastic, wooden, or metal covers.

The size of the pit depends on the size of the window opening, and the shape can be different, even a staircase with ledges. A hole of any condition is covered from above grates, the pit itself, or the window. The crater is closed from above if its size exceeds 0,7-0,8 meters.

The bottom of such a pit is made lower 20 cm than the window sill of the window opening. Therefore, to collect water, it is necessary to slope toward the sill – a trough or pipe.

If the soil is well permeable, then drainage near the wall in the form of a perforated pipe at a depth of one meter is enough. In this case, it is necessary to additionally waterproof the basement walls to protect against water penetration into the basement.

With a light tunnel or light pipe

The light tunnel is a sleeve that is bent according to the configuration of the basement and equipped with mirrored walls inside. This design allows the basement to be illuminated without window openings.

Outside can see only the dome, which due to its transparency, does not spoil the overall appearance of the private house. Shutters or grilles are not installed on it because its size is so small that it prevents unauthorized entry into the room. In addition, a 90-degree turn will not allow a basement view.

But for the same reason, such a tunnel gives much less light flux than a conventional design and is suitable only in cases where the room does not need a lot of light. For example, a diameter of 25 cm will illuminate about four square meters.

The maximum size of the tunnel entrance can be about 55 cm, which gives a good illumination of 55 square meters. Therefore, a daylight lamp can be arranged inside the structure, equivalent to using sconces or outdoor lighting as a small lantern.

A lighted ditch

This pit arrangement is made to increase the basement’s illumination level. The hole with light is made of polypropylene, reinforced with fiberglass reinforcement. The design is protected by a lattice or transparent cover made of plastic. Additionally, needed drainage, which is connected to the drainage or sewerage. Finally, a pit is fixed at the basement wall to the final backfill with soil.

In some cases, pits are built into the waterproofing layer, which protects the basement from moisture penetration, in which case all gaps are filled with viscous type waterproofing.

The size range is extensive, and if the depth of the basement is great, you can lengthen the pit with special inserts. Typically, the cost of such a gridded pit is about $159, and the extension will cost about $64.

Each of the basement window options will allow for quality ventilation of the room, which opens up the possibility of setting up a boiler room or living quarters in the basement. When basement windows are made, extra insulation must be taken care of so that there is no cold intrusion through the openings caused.

Features of basement windows

Windows in the basement are always much smaller than other similar structures in the house. In addition, the thickness of the walls is quite large, which causes light to enter at an acute angle.

It is necessary to regularly clean and washes the glass, as any contamination of its surface leads to 60% obstruction of sunlight inside. In addition, white profiles and made jambs will reflect a large amount of natural light.

Windows, niches, pits, and other types of windows should be provided at the stage of construction of the building. Additionally, it is recommended to make protective canopies against the effects of atmospheric precipitation. Optimal for such purposes will be using polycarbonate, which reliably protects the pit and can be easily washed away with water for cleaning.

Materials for basement windows

Windows in the basement are made low, about 20 cm above the ground, so they are pretty challenging to resist increased humidity. However, the arrangement of windows in the basement must provide the choice of materials such as moisture resistance so that operation is long and trouble-free.

Thus, the wood in the usual form is unsuitable – in a hot time, it will wither up, and in the cold – to swell with moisture and freeze in the expanded form—needed designs, impregnated with memorable compositions with the expectation of such loads.

Plastic

PVC profile, which makes structures, is quite large. But it is this design of window openings that is the most popular. Window constructions made of PVC can increase the light flow by 15% without losing thermal properties and rigidity. Therefore, this material is recommended in the case of a basement that is half underground.

The windows must have a ventilation system and sashes that can be ajar so the room does not accumulate condensation on the walls and other surfaces. Where the opening is in contact with the wall, you need additional insulation and protection against water; installers often use polyurethane foam.

Aluminum

Aluminum structures for the basement are not usually used, and the only exception is an unheated basement with a boiler room or warehouse. However, even in the cellar, you need to maintain a specific temperature, so aluminum is unsuitable.

If the basement is residential and used, aluminum cannot provide the necessary protection from the cold. Such structures are much cheaper than plastic but better than them in terms of thermal insulation. There are many options for aluminum windows for basements for all tastes and needs.

Wood

The basement has a high humidity level, making it impossible to use untreated wood for window openings. But increasingly, builders are offering wood profiles with impregnation to resist moisture for years to come successfully.

Coating with a special laminate, polymers, or compositions gives both the attractiveness of the material and durability without repair in operation.

Windows made of wood are made in different thicknesses; in addition, the material keeps heat well and is environmentally friendly, unlike other types of structures. Furthermore, the wooden profile looks attractive, especially if the house is built from a wood beam.

Conclusion

The type of window profile should be chosen based on the features of the basement and the estimate for finishing or construction. It is best to put plastic windows with maximum clearance and a canopy for protection.

Possible types and shapes of canopies of different materials can be found in the public domain photos or manufacturers’ catalogs. In the case of pits, it is vital to make drains for water and periodically check the hole for defects.

An arrangement of a drainage system is not required in clay soil because the clay will not let water inside. Thus, the soil’s quality also affects the basement windows’ location and appearance.