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Enlarging Basement window - tips?

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  • May 11th, 2011 8:35 am
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Member
Dec 27, 2006
207 posts
10 upvotes
London

Enlarging Basement window - tips?

I have the typical small basement window, and I want to enlarge it by cutting 10 inches or so down into foundation and making it deeper so it is a legal 'egress' for bedroom.

Any advice or tips? What should this job cost typically?
12 replies
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 22, 2007
6026 posts
968 upvotes
Mississauga
In the average house with a poured concrete basement the metal frame of the window is set in place and the concrete is poured around it when laying the basement foundation wall. If you are thinking of enlarging said window frame then the frame and 8" (approx) poured concrete will need to be cut also. Then a new frame and window with maybe a lentl can be installed.

Cost depends on too many variables such as:

Location
Whether poured or block wall
Is basement finished
Hieght and access to outside window
Who you contract to do the opening
Cost of window can be anywhere from $150.00 up depending on size and option.

I can list more but I would imagine you get my point.
Newbie
Jun 10, 2009
12 posts
I just did this a couple months ago. I did most of the work myself.


Best to check with the city if you need a permit first.
Then once you confirm the window size with the city. Order it since this takes the longest if it's custom sized. About 4-6 weeks maybe.
Once you get the window and are ready to do it. CallBeforeYou dig so they can mark any gas lines etc.
Dig out the hole.
I hired a concrete cutter to come in and cut the concrete for $400 since we had 10inch pored concrete. You could rent a saw and do it yourself. It took him 30 minutes probably. Well worth the money.
Rent a chipping hammer for $50 or so to break up the concrete block.
Install window frame and window about $450.
Install window well ~$100
Profit.

So all said it cost me about $1000 and my own labour.
I got a quote from a contractor for $4000, so it was worth it.
Deal Addict
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Jun 12, 2006
2065 posts
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Imrik wrote:
Jul 9th, 2010 11:57 am
I just did this a couple months ago. I did most of the work myself.


Best to check with the city if you need a permit first.
Then once you confirm the window size with the city. Order it since this takes the longest if it's custom sized. About 4-6 weeks maybe.
Once you get the window and are ready to do it. CallBeforeYou dig so they can mark any gas lines etc.
Dig out the hole.
I hired a concrete cutter to come in and cut the concrete for $400 since we had 10inch pored concrete. You could rent a saw and do it yourself. It took him 30 minutes probably. Well worth the money.
Rent a chipping hammer for $50 or so to break up the concrete block.
Install window frame and window about $450.
Install window well ~$100
Profit.

So all said it cost me about $1000 and my own labour.
I got a quote from a contractor for $4000, so it was worth it.
wow $4000 seems like a lot. is it fairly into the ground?
"He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither" - Benjamin Franklin.
Newbie
Jun 10, 2009
12 posts
Billa-786 wrote:
Jul 9th, 2010 1:06 pm
wow $4000 seems like a lot. is it fairly into the ground?
Well like I said it only cost me $1000 to do it myself.

I'm sure that quote was inflated, from reading online, quotes can vary greatly for this type of job. Since I did the work myself depth shouldn't be an issue, it just requires more digging.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Mar 30, 2004
914 posts
8 upvotes
Newmarket
Funny you should ask, I am currently doing it myself.
permit from the town to do 5 windows: $125

Steel lintels, 2 per window, one for the floor, one for the bricks.. home depot price~$45/each for 3.5"x3.5"x5'4"
price from http://www.mansteel.com/ was about half that.

I used my SDS hammer drill to drill out the old mortar, after I tapconned in a board to hold the bricks right above the opening. seeing how well the bricks held in place with the brick ties, I am not even sure that was needed, but I did it anyways.

on the inside, in the basement, I made a temporary wall, supporting the floor joists, then installed a steel lintel in place of the sill plate, packing non shrink grout between the steel and the concrete foundation wall. This was approved by the town of Newmarket as a way to hold up the floor.

Once the floor was secured, I started building the wall up on the sides of the window opening. matching tinted mortar color is not something I am good at, but the next windows after the ones in the picture actually ended up pretty good.
the day after the sides had been done, I placed the steel over top, overlapping the sides by a minimum 6", then filled in the rest of the bricks.

The window in the pictures had to be moved a bit to line up with the upstairs window, hence the opening was made bigger than the steel, I then had to pour about a foots worth of concrete to hold the inside steel, before bricking and such. Good times.

The next step is renting the concrete saw for cutting the actual window opening, then placing the window there. if you are up for doing the work, it is pretty inexpensive, I can only imagine what replacing my windows by a pro would have cost.
I am going from ~16"x30" windows to 36"x49" windows on the one side of the house, and slightly smaller on the other :D


Image
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We have enough youth.. what we need is a fountain of smart
Jr. Member
Aug 18, 2005
102 posts
4 upvotes
Rent on of these:

Image

Buy the chain for it (~$200).

Firmly mount a level 2x4 as a horizontal guide outside.

Start cutting.

$300 for a weekend install (I cut 2 windows).

I would probably hire out the cutting if I had to do it again (about $400 per window in Calgary).

If you can find a place that makes "Top hung casement" windows, you may be able to avoid digging a window well and still meet egress. Post some pictures of the windows (inside and out) for better advice.

PM me if you have any questions.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Mar 30, 2004
914 posts
8 upvotes
Newmarket
who rents the concrete chain saws?.. I did look for one, but came up empty handed :( .. was thinking I had to go with the 14" diamond saw + my trusty roto hammer.
We have enough youth.. what we need is a fountain of smart
Newbie
Sep 4, 2007
11 posts
1 upvote
Imrik wrote:
Jul 9th, 2010 11:57 am
I just did this a couple months ago. I did most of the work myself.


Best to check with the city if you need a permit first.
Then once you confirm the window size with the city. Order it since this takes the longest if it's custom sized. About 4-6 weeks maybe.
Once you get the window and are ready to do it. CallBeforeYou dig so they can mark any gas lines etc.
Dig out the hole.
I hired a concrete cutter to come in and cut the concrete for $400 since we had 10inch pored concrete. You could rent a saw and do it yourself. It took him 30 minutes probably. Well worth the money.
Rent a chipping hammer for $50 or so to break up the concrete block.
Install window frame and window about $450.
Install window well ~$100
Profit.

So all said it cost me about $1000 and my own labour.
I got a quote from a contractor for $4000, so it was worth it.

yea wow...$4000 is way too much for it. That's just out of line. i called this guy over today. he gave me qoute for 1000 for one window 23x30 size window. Just considering if that's a good deal.
Deal Addict
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Mar 31, 2005
3115 posts
183 upvotes
Calgary
moe458 wrote:
May 10th, 2011 1:10 pm
yea wow...$4000 is way too much for it. That's just out of line. i called this guy over today. he gave me qoute for 1000 for one window 23x30 size window. Just considering if that's a good deal.

While $4000 is a lot, anything that has to do with cutting concrete near your foundation is going to cost you a lot. Regular windows are expensive, so this level of work is bound to be costly. I'd say that if you price it out and your materials will cost you close to $1000, then I'd be worried about a contractor that says he can do it for that. Even if he owns his own equipment. Check him and other work he's done thoroughly. A screw up on this job will be expensive to fix and can be a liability to your house.
Member
Oct 1, 2008
387 posts
61 upvotes
Toronto, ON
TotallyKiller wrote:
May 10th, 2011 3:00 pm
While $4000 is a lot, anything that has to do with cutting concrete near your foundation is going to cost you a lot. Regular windows are expensive, so this level of work is bound to be costly. I'd say that if you price it out and your materials will cost you close to $1000, then I'd be worried about a contractor that says he can do it for that. Even if he owns his own equipment. Check him and other work he's done thoroughly. A screw up on this job will be expensive to fix and can be a liability to your house.
$4000 is probably for a window that will be below grade. If so you need to dig down to put weeping tiles, remove all the soil, put a window well, cut the wall, install the window, and then get rid of a large piece of concrete you cannot pick up. Most companies won't want to tackel this type of job and therefore charge accordingly as it is alot of labour. If some one is charging $1000 to $2000 it surly is not enough.
Deal Addict
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Mar 31, 2005
3115 posts
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Calgary
adanac7152 wrote:
May 10th, 2011 4:48 pm
$4000 is probably for a window that will be below grade. If so you need to dig down to put weeping tiles, remove all the soil, put a window well, cut the wall, install the window, and then get rid of a large piece of concrete you cannot pick up. Most companies won't want to tackel this type of job and therefore charge accordingly as it is alot of labour. If some one is charging $1000 to $2000 it surly is not enough.

My thoughts exactly. And I'm pretty sure this has to involve a permit doesn't it? Because the size of the window has to meet some minimum safety requirements as a point of egress? Not exactly the most expensive part of the work, but still something needed.
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Oct 19, 2008
4582 posts
744 upvotes
Whitby
Since you have some flexibility in window size explore all the clearance windows available. There are at least 5 places in the GTA selling windows manufactured to the wrong size, projects cancelled/whatever....great savings if you find one you like. There are a few web sites listing availability, I bought a window off a semi trailer parked in Whitby full of windows (Recycle store)....brand new, unscratched....$40 for a $400 window.
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