Removing a Basement Window

With many basement windows having metal frames there are several reasons why you might want to remove basement windows in order to replace them. Firstly being made from metal, they can be prone to distorting causing the window panes to shatter; and the unsightly rust that can accumulate in the sub-ground level moist conditions can actually go on to weaken the integrity of the whole window frame.

Another factor to consider is that metal window frames are rarely good insulators meaning that heat can all too easily be lost through it. The solution, of course, is to fit a modern energy efficient window frame and glazing - but first you’ve got to get that old frame out.

Removing Metal Sash Window Frames

Before starting this job do investigate carefully to see if the basement window frame is bearing any structural load. If it is, no matter how small the window frame might be, be sure to buy or hire some support props from your DIY store, so that there is no risk of the brickwork collapsing when the old window frame is removed and before the new one is installed. Start by cutting the sash cord and simply let the weights drop, you should then be able to lift the bottom sash followed by the upper sash window out of position.

With either a hand-held metal saw, or preferably a hand-held power saw, cut the bottom of the metal fame all the way down, through the sill, to the masonry grouting. Place a piece of timber under a jimmy and lever out the bottom of the frame, working from one side to the other to try and lift the whole piece evenly.

With the bottom piece removed, you should then be able to pry out the side pieces too, with the top piece almost falling out when these are removed. Tidy up the underlying masonry and grout before starting to fit the new window. If the frame has been riveted into place, then you will invariably need to saw the rivets out, which will considerably add to the time you should allow for this job.

Removing Casement Window Frames

First unscrew the opening casements and remove them. If the window has a central mullion and transom simply saw them at their ends to remove them too. Then, remove any wall rendering near to the fame jambs with hammer and cold chisel.

Saw through the jambs on either side of the window frame about 100mm above the sill. Then simply lever the jambs out with a jimmy, once these are out the frame head and bottom should be easy to pull out as well.

Safety First

Removing any window frame always gives rise to the risks of harm due to broken glass; so when tackling this job please do wear adequate eye protection and gloves.

For sash windows and opening casements you should be able to remove those without breaking the glass. However, a fixed casement presents a different problem and it may well be better to remove the glass before trying to cut though any part of the frame. To do this tap the glass gently, toward the exterior and away from you, with a hammer until it breaks. Working from the top down, remove any pieces of glass still in the frame by either tapping them out with the hammer or gently working them loose with your hand.