OK, this is one of a few posts about adding an egress window in an old house – didn’t I just say that in the heading? I wanted to warn you that if this is not something you have considered, then these posts might seem pretty long and tedious. But for those who need or want one – you might find this handy.
We covered digging in a previous post – but we’ll have to dig a little more before we’re done. And I might say – I’m not done, as this is a work in progress. Here is where the egress window is going to go. Go here to check out the requirements for an egress window – this is a big job and you don’t want to goof up the size and placement on these puppies.
First was finding the right kind of window. You can use a variety of window styles – as long as you meet the requirements in the link above. Oh, and it’s a good idea to check with your local codes to make sure there’s not something additional needed. Casement windows are a good choice because of the single opening allowing a smaller overall size. But after lots of research I chose an Aluplast tilt and turn window. It opens inward like a door or can be vented at the top. Shown here, I’ve added the nailing fins that snap on the frame with a little help from a rubber mallet.
First I made a frame of 1 X 10 AZEK that fits up against the interior of the window frame and nailing fin. I routed the frame sides to receive the top and bottom pieces. I like to do this to keep the frame square front to back.
Next the window buck (frame that goes against the concrete) was made from 2X12 kiln dried pressure treated lumber. Please use kiln dried treated lumber – the stuff at the big box stores is not kiln dried and is nearly impossible to get straight. This stuff is almost like finish milled lumber. The buck is slightly larger than the AZEK frame.
I used an old mounted map to make a template of the outside of the window buck. It’s a lot easier to handle to make the marks on the basement wall. I use a template anytime I’m not sure of the exact location – that window buck is heavy.
The good thing about old houses – the cheap ones that is – is they typically have concrete block walls. I would not attempt this if my walls were poured concrete. But if you have block walls it’s a pretty easy project – sort of. First find a full block that you can chip out the mortar at the top. A hand sledge will take care of it with little effort.
Once you have the first one out use a hand sledge to break the web of the block next to it. Once the web is gone the front and back of the block will break away easily. Do this until you have all the blocks removed that don’t need to be cut.
So that’s it – nothing pretty. It has been pretty simple up to this point – we’ll see how it goes from here.