Whether they’re letting in air or they’re leaking when it rains, it’s time for a replacement when your basement windows aren’t doing their job. It might seem like a daunting task, but basement window replacement or repair is actually a manageable do-it-yourself project. Basically, repairing your window means pulling out the original glass, fixing up the area where it was and re-installing it. If you need to replace your window, follow the same instructions but use a new window instead. It’s easy enough to do; just pay attention to the following tips and you’ll be replacing your basement windows in no time.
These windows are an important safety feature in your home. You need to have windows that are 24 inches by 20 inches in order to provide a safe exit for inhabitants and a safe entrance for firefighters. But because they’re on the ground level, basement windows are susceptible to leaking in water or cold air, as well as being a susceptible entry point for burglars.
Repairing your basement windows is not a project for you to attempt alone. Because they need to withstand burglary attempts and keep out the elements, most basement windows are particularly heavy. You’ll want assistance when handling them. If you’re dealing with any broken glass, make sure you wear thick gloves. Dispose of the glass by wrapping it in newspaper, marking it clearly and placing inside of or nearby your garbage can.
Before pulling out the window, you’ll want to remove the trim and insulation around it. Pry off the trim carefully with a pry bar and set it aside. Pull insulation out with a pair of needle nose pliers and set it aside as well. You’ll be able to reuse both of these things once your window is re-installed
After you and your assistant pull out the window and set it aside carefully, use a dust broom and putty knife to clean away any loose material or old mortar. You want to re-install your window into an even, clean space. Bits of dirt will compromise the seal, weaken the installation, and create an opportunity for water or air to find its way inside.
Apply an even layer of caulk all around the opening. Use your putty knife to even out any thick globs. Install the window carefully, making sure to press on the edges and not in the center. Then add another layer of caulk on the inside, making sure the window is doubly sealed in.
If there are any gaps between the window and the wall, fill it with spray insulation. You’ll add the insulation that you pulled out of the original window on top of this, but make sure you fill any holes, no matter how small, with spray foam.
When it’s time to re-install the trim, try adding a thin line of caulk to the back of it before screwing or nailing it to the window. The caulk will help keep any water or air from getting in between the trim and the wall. But you’ll still want to securely fasten the trim in place.