Install More Than One Egress Window In A Basement

Basement egress windows provide a number of benefits, including increased natural light, fresh air circulation and escape access in case of emergency. Installing multiple egress windows in bank formation can multiply the natural light and quickly change and open up the feeling of a basement. With the extensive excavation required in placing basement egress windows, as well the heavy concrete cutting, this is a job best done by a professional or at least an experienced pair of DIYers.


Choose Location and Windows

1. Choose a location free of complicating factors, such as utility pipes, plumbing lines, meters and the like, or plan for their relocation. Mark the rough location of the windows along the exterior elevation with spray marker or string and mark the mirror placement on the interior foundation wall with masking tape. Once you have a rough location and measurements in hand, purchase windows in the desired size, style and operational design. If the size, number and proximal placement of windows will compromise the structural integrity of the foundation wall, a new header beam in either steel or engineered lumber may be required and should be purchased and delivered to the site at this point. Once the window selection has been made, a final measurement can be determined for the rough window openings to be cut. Use the manufacturer’s specified opening measurements plus the width of the rough framing. Mark these final cut dimensions on the interior foundation as a cut guide and use on the exterior to determine excavation requirements.

2. Start excavation on the exterior elevation. You will want to dig out a window well that exceeds the width of the windows by a minimum of 4 feet on each side, exceeds the depth of the windows by at least 3 feet and slopes out away from the windows by at least 7 feet. This can be done with a mechanical excavator so long as you are sure that there are no buried lines in the vicinity. If you are unsure of what is buried beneath, shovels are the safest bet.

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3. Tent and tape off the interior work space to contain the debris field and prevent the concrete dust from flowing into the house. Following the masking tape diagram, begin the interior cuts for each window or the bank of windows. Once the interior cuts are made, make the exterior cuts along the previously laid markings. If needed, place temporary support beams and install new permanent header beam/s. Remove concrete debris and clear area.

4. Build out rough frames for each window from treated lumber, ensuring that they are plumb and level and secure to the foundation with masonry screws. Place window assemblies in the rough openings and secure the flange to the rough frame with nails or otherwise in keeping with the window manufacturer’s specifications. Confirm again for plumb, level and the smooth opening and closing of the window.

5. Spray insulating foam into all crevices between the rough frame and window and between the rough frame and the foundation and use fiberglass insulation for larger openings. Follow this process from both the exterior and interior exposures.

6. Patch the exterior trim in keeping with the original materials, be it siding, stucco, brick or shingles. Patch interior plaster or wall board; then cut and fit interior wood trim work to finish the windows.