5 Things to Know about Basement Replacement Windows

July 16, 2010

One way to brighten up your basement is by replacing the windows. Basement windows are an important consideration because they provide ventilation and an escape route in the event of an emergency. Another benefit is that the right window can let natural light into an otherwise dark room. If you want to use your basement for additional living space, and it has small windows (or no windows at all), increasing the natural light will make your new space infinitely more inviting.

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Basement Replacement Windows: What You Need to Know

If you're ready to renovate, here are 5 tips to consider about basement replacement windows before getting started:

  1. Calculate your natural light needs. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the best way to ensure you are providing adequate natural light is by making sure the unobstructed area of glass in a window is at least 5 percent of the floor area of each room.
  2. Comply with code. Check all applicable building codes to find out if there are any natural ventilation requirements for new living areas in existing houses. Also check the requirements for windows in living areas used as a means of escape--there might be placement and minimum size requirements.
  3. Secure windows near grade. If your basement window is near grade, consider locks or other security measures.
  4. Buy new windows specifically made for basements. Basement windows are unique in that the window will be more susceptible to weather. Water can pool against a basement window, so it's important to select a replacement window designed for your location. Make sure the windows are installed correctly and properly sealed to prevent leaks.
  5. Boost your double panes with low-e. Most people buy double-pane windows thinking they'll save money on their heating and cooling bills. While double-pane windows will reduce heat loss, your savings really depends on your climate. If you live in Central Texas where winters are mild, your potential savings are very small. Increase it with a special coating called low-emissivity (low-e) that will reduce heat gain in your new windows. Low-e windows aren't just for Southern climates, though. There are also low-e coatings with high solar heat gain coefficients for northern climates to really boost the effectiveness of your double-pane windows.

Whether you plan to use your basement to create additional bedrooms, office space, or to house the family foosball table, you'll want attractive, secure windows that let in ample natural lighting.

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