Adding an Egress Window in an old House #2…the unpleasant post

If you’ve followed along with this blog over the years you might notice that I don’t complain very much – after all, this is my hobby. I love renovations – the work itself is therapeutic to me. But it’s the designing and figuring this stuff out in my head that is my most favorite.  I love the mental challenge of each project. This egress window has tested me physically as well as adding a little mental confusion along the way – and a couple of calamities thrown in for good measure. Oh, and one other thing – this project is like everything else – overkill. I’ll do more than what’s normally required to complete a project like this – but it’s a hobby.

0 respiratorHere’s a selfie of the results of cutting the foundation. It looks like I have multiple chins, but it is in fact brick and concrete dust caked to my skin. I had to hose off outside before my wife would let me come inside.

1 sub sillBack to the window. The sub-sill is added to the bottom of the window cut. The piece is marked in two spots to reference the hollow core of the concrete block below.

2 anchor boltsHoles are drilled in the sub-sill and anchor bolts are attached.

3 level sub sillAnchoring cement is used to fill the cement block voids were the anchor bolts are located. The sill is leveled. The anchor cement sets in 20 minutes.

4 anchor boltsThe sub-sill can then be removed to add adhesive for final installation.

5 waspenatorOh, I forgot this part. Here is a picture of the ‘Waspenator”. This hole was dug for several weeks before I could get to this point. In the mean time wasps had found this to be a really great place to hang out. With my first ladder step down into the hole  I was greeted by lots of unhappy wasps. Some of you might remember that it was two years ago this week that a wasp instigated my ladder fall that put me in a wheelchair for six months. I’ve figured out that if  you just move normally and not over react you’ll be fine.

But I never forgot what they did to me.

So the first day “Waspenator” and I dispatched 77 critters to Wasp heaven and the second day added 28. I quit counting after that. I keep my swatter handy and pick off one or two a day. But it seems I don’t have many left to swat. Revenge is so sweet.

6 second sillA second sub-sill was made from kiln dried treated lumber (see how pretty this stuff is). Holes were partially drilled to clear the bolts of the first sub-sill.

6 window test fitThat was temporarily placed along with the window buck assembly and the window to make sure they fit.

7 coring bitNow the crappy part. The window well needs to drain in case of a large rain storm. As usual it’s gotta be the best I can do. Here is a 3 1/2″ coring bit attached to my hammer drill – it’s just the right size for a 3″ PVC pipe. The hole needs to go through the foundation at the basement footer into the interior drain system that was installed earlier. This required me to dig a pit another three feet down. I had to drill this upside down with my head in the hole. It took several hours. No fun here.

8 drain testBut after a few muddy noisy hours we have made it to the promised land. I’m checking the drain and it works fine.

9 drain cementedOnce the pipe is placed hydraulic cement was used to seal the pipe to the foundation.

10 drain and windowThe drain is 9′ from the surface.

11 rain drainOf course it rained every day due to remnants of Hurricane Bill. I spent a couple of hours each day last week pumping out water and digging out mud. Fun, fun, fun! But the drain worked.

12 poision IvyOh, one more thing – in the middle of all this I got a great case of Poison Ivy when I decided to clean up some bushes in our back yard. The one (and only) day I decided to wear shorts, I might add. I called my Doctor who put in a prescription – when I went to pick it up the bill was 235.00. What? So I politely declined and went home and ordered this stuff Mean Green Hand Scrub and I will tell you it really worked magic for me. The 64 oz tub was a little over 30.00. Take that big Pharma .

Till next time.


6 thoughts on “Adding an Egress Window in an old House #2…the unpleasant post

    • Hi Jo! Thanks – I think I obsess over the details because it’s my hobby – no pressure to get it done in a hurry – but I’d like to get it done eventually. That hand cleaner works magic with poison ivy rash- stops the itch right away for about 12 hours. Use it again for another 12 hours of relief. I’ll always keep a jar of this stuff handy.

  1. Hi Curt. I have never heard of an egress window before. I have looked it up and not found it in my (British) dictionary. Does it have something to do with being a window that it below ground level? It has certainly been a lot of hard work to install.

    • Hi Jacqui – In the U.S. to meet modern building codes, the below ground level of a house has to have an alternate way to escape in case of fire. It must be installed if a living space or bedroom is built. It is a lot of work, but it’s just one shovel full of dirt at a time.

  2. All good renovation deeds end in poison ivy. I am glad the over the counter stuff did the trick.

    I am curious as to how the window well pvc pipe connects to the foundation drain. (forgive me if this was covered in a previous post). This is one project I am intrigued with and the draining of the window well seems to be of utmost importance here. it is looking good!

    • Greetings – yep, that pesky poison ivy was not a fun diversion. Yes, getting water way from the well is really important. There are several ways to drain. In my case I have a french drain system that is inside the perimeter of the basement.which drains into a sump pump and pumped outside. Newer homes typically have an exterior foundation drain and you could tie into that. A third option is to dig a dry well and have the drain go to that in the yard. The dry well will have to be lower that the window drain – so that could be quite deep.

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