Install New Vinyl Window In Old House Adjust Rough Opening Glass Block Basement Windows – 7 Steps to Get it Right the First Time

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Glass Block Basement Windows – 7 Steps to Get it Right the First Time

Glass block basement windows seem simple enough to do – take a few blocks, mortar them together, remove a frame, and then put them into the opening. However, like most skilled trades it looks easy when a professional who is armed with the tools and tricks of the trade is doing it. The key to a successful basement window project in remodeling is to have a logical process to get the job completed.

Learn 7 steps to get this work done right the first time.

Step 1) – Determine what the foundation is made of and take your measurements – Most foundations have masonry openings made of poured concrete or concrete blocks with the occasional wood frame opening (this is more common in walk out basements where the lower level is above the ground level of the land around it). For masonry openings measure from the top of the sill to the bottom of the header. For a frame opening measure the area that will exist after the window sashes will be removed.

Step 2) – Evaluate the need for block air vents and a dryer vent – It’s always best to maximize air flow and ventilation to have a healthy and mold free home. Vinyl framed energy efficient air vents can be added to create an operable window inside a secure glass block panel. Dryer vents, exhaust power fans, and fully removable sash windows are also available.

Step 3) Consider colored and etched blocks for style – Your block window does not have to look like everyone else’s – add style, design, colors and tinted blocks. A project in Alabama used a step down color block window instead of stained glass to increase safety against heavy wind loads. In addition, the faces of the blocks can now be etched with personalized custom images or stock patterns to tie into your interests, hobbies, and personal tastes.

Step 4) Order the prefabricated glass block panel with mortar or silicone joints – Prefabricated block window assemblies will save you time, money, and improve your finished quality. The decision between silicone and mortar joints is driven by personal taste and which processes finished window size will best fit your particular window openings. The main advantages of mortar joints is the ability to vary the size of the joint and the traditional look that matched well with brick veneer and block basements. The top advantages of silicone joints are they can be put into tighter fitting openings and also the all glass look of the panel. If you aren’t sure of what will be the best choice for your home or building call a block specialty window fabricator with your opening sizes for recommendations on the best jointing process.

Step 5) Remove the old window sash and/or frame – In masonry basement windows remove the window sash and frame. This is best accomplished by removing the sash first and then collapsing, cutting or grinding out the old frame with a pry bar, saw, or grinder. For frame openings, in most cases, you will remove the sash only.

Step 6) Set the window level and plumb and wedge it securely in the opening – Place the window in the opening and use a level to ensure the correct location. Next, use a wood window wedge to keep the pre-made panel in place.

Step 7) Secure and seal the window into place – For masonry openings add water to pre-mixed block mortar mix (these are available in 50 lbs. bags), mix with a hoe or trowel, and fill the sides, tops and sills (this can be done with a pastry bag or tuck pointing tool). For frame openings use spray foam insulation between the block panel and the window frame, then install wood stops around the panel as needed, and then install aluminum or PVC coated coil stock over the wood framing on the outside.

If you’re still not sure you want to tackle a glass block basement window installation call your specialty contractor for an estimate.

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