Window Pains

You know, we still have eight big 'ol basement windows to put in. And with the winter months nearly all up on us, that's a big concern. Without the windows, the pipes could freeze just as quick and easy as they did before we had a basement!

Mike tried cementing one in about a month ago - but plain cement is too juicy and rocky to really work well. It just flowed out the sides and made a big mess. So, naturally, we called a mason. He told us that the kind of windows we have are supposed to be put in before the foundation is poured. *sigh* And they're really hard to put in after the fact. The quote he gave us reflected that - $1200 to $1400.

No way did we want to pay that. That's waaaay too much. So, Mike got creative and fashioned a set of window forms made of 2X4's and plywood and bought some masonry concrete mix.

His plan was ingenious. First, he'd put in the window. Then, he'd tape off the interior border with good duct tape. (Not that junky job lot stuff - actual, for ducts duct tape.) Then he'd put on the exterior form, which covers the entire window hole, and feed through two long, thick screws through pre-drilled holes. Then, he'd put on the interior form, lining up the screws with the pre-drilled holes in the interior form.

And then he'd wrench a nut on each screw until the two forms were as tightly squeezed together as possible. This would prevent the concrete from leaking out all over Z place.

Once all that was in place, he'd mix the mason's concrete and pour it in over top of the forms - on the two sides of the window and on top of the window. He'd smooth the concrete on top of the window to match the level of the foundation. And then, leave it to dry.

With only two forms and a lot of labor involved, we can only do one window per day. Last night we completed the first one - a test. We'll see how good it works when we take off the forms today. But it seemed to work perfectly - the forms held in the concrete, none dripped anywhere inside or outside!

The only concern I have is the bottom of the window. Mike thinks that enough concrete will seep in there to hold it in. I think a layer of concrete should be put on the bottom before the window/forms are put in. Mike's also concerned about the masonry concrete forming a strong bond with the foundation concrete. If the bond isn't strong enough, he may have to rough up the surface of the foundation concrete in the window hole to allow for a better grip.

Tonight we'll see! If all goes well, we'll do another window - and in 7 days, all the windows will be in!