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Basement Reno: Window Replacement…Hopper? Glass Block? Slider?

November 10, 2011

If I had bottomless pockets I would live in a different house…..just kidding, I would put egress windows in the basements custom made to match the other windows in the house. I would also replace the other basement windows with double pane hopper style windows. I say this because I have been researching the price of replacing the basement windows.  I had no idea these tiny windows would cost more to replace than standard size ones and that only a handful of companies would do the work.

Like most parts of the renovation, I started out with a plan of what I wanted and it slowly morphed into what is possible and affordable.

Home Depot came out to give me an estimate, and strangely they sell the windows I want online for $60 but would charge $350-400 for each installed.  The estimator said it would only take a few hours too. That is quite the labor charge! I also did some research and found out that Home Depot doesn’t actually do the work. They supply the product and estimate and then hire a random subcontractor to complete the work. The sub with the lowest bid wins…..this is why they work has such mixed reviews. Depending on where you live in the country and the quality of the work that the sub who won the bid does, you could end up with a satisfactory job or a shitty one.

SO HD was out for price and quality.

I then called around to all of the window companies you see on TV, Hanson’s, Wallside etc… Did you know that they refuse to replace basement windows? They will only do full egress windows. So what does everyone with tiny basement windows do?

I did find a Michigan window company that would replace them, but for the same price as HD. So good quality but high cost.

I moved on to having our carpenter Brian do it. I can purchase the windows and then he can install them. I don’t have an estimate yet, but Brian is very reasonable so lets say $100 in labor for each window. = $160 per window and there are 6 windows = $960 😦  That’s on the conservative side too.

Yet, more issues cropped up:

  • The window below the exterior water faucet should be bricked up. One time this past summer I turned the sprinkler on ( manually attached to this faucet) and I THOUGHT the valve that connects the faucet to the hose was turned to close…it was not. The window well filled up and water can pouring through the window into the basement and all around the furnace area. What a mess. Geoff was livid, but he got over it. The basement isn’t finished so the clean up was not too big of a deal since everything just flowed to the drain in the floor. Now, if we finish the basement and this happens again it would ruin the carpet and sub floor and cost alot of money to fix. We decided that bricking the window up is the best idea. The window will be enclosed in the furnace room anyway.

  • One of the windows is smack in between what will be the family room and the what will be the furnace room. This window will have to be removed because a wall will need to run right through the middle of it.

  • Currently the dryer vents through one of the glass window panes in what will be the laundry room. So a hopper or a slider will not work there. This window will need to be bricked up too.

  • The coal shoot! SO cool that our house has a milk and a coal shoot. No cool that the coal shoot is rusty and leaky. We should have this bricked up too.

This leaves us with only 3 windows out of the 6 to replace and a lot less natural light.  We could have our carpenter do them with hoppers/ sliders and have a mason come out and brick up the rest, OR, we could have them all done with glass block.

Hopper/Slide = $480 + masonry services so probably close to $100/window = $780.

6 glass block windows + turing the coal shoot into a window = $470.

I had two companies give me estimates on glass block. Once came in at $498 and the other at $470. I like that one guy actually came to the house to measure while the other wanted to me measure and call them back.

I really hate the look of glass block. I think it’s dated and tacky. On the flip side:

  • It does allow a lot of light in that bricking up the coal shoot, furnace room window, laundry room window and wall window would eliminate.
  • It is 1/2 the price of other windows.
  • It is airtight and will be very efficient.
  • All of the windows would be consistent

UPDATE:

So we decided to go with glass block. It ended up looking pretty good, since the blocks mimic the paned windows:

We had then remove the coal shoot and replace it with a window

you can see how badly the windows had deteriorated

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Joanna permalink
    October 10, 2015 3:05 PM

    I am just doing research for basement window replacement, and came across you. Where are you in Michigan? I need to replace about 3 windows too – no idea it would be super costly!!

  2. michelle permalink
    May 20, 2012 2:58 PM

    i think it looks great! found ur site while searching for my own basement window renovation. i didnt know most companies dont like to do small basement windows. looks like i will have to hire a handyman for the work….

    • May 22, 2012 6:14 PM

      Thank you 🙂 it was a surpise for us too and that’s why we went with glass block. I’m happy with the decision. They are easy to maintain and keep all of the bugs out.

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