STEP 3 – REMOVING CONCRETE / MORTAR
As expected, this is the most time consuming, physically challenging part of this project. Although slinging a 3 pound mash hammer feels easy at first, try swinging it hundreds of times in a confined space and you can appreciate hard manual labor!
As seen in above pictures, I need to remove quite a bit of mortar from the bottom sill. I intended to leave the side sills intact as much as possible because I had no reason to remove them. Before getting started, make sure to wear your safety goggle at all times, as well as some type of ear protection.
I decided against renting a power tool because I was concerned of peripheral damage to the foundation cinder blocks. Rather than creating more repair work, I reasoned that it would be more time efficient to manually chip away the mortar. As previously stated, my main tools were 3 pound mash hammer and a couple of cold chisel with point and spade tips.
Before starting, I examined the bottom mortar sill for any cracks as a starting point. Switching between pointed and spade tips, it took about 1.5 hours to complete.
STEP 4 – DRY / TEST FITTING WINDOW
Whew. That was some hard work! Now before we get all excited, let’s dry fit the window. Please note that I had to go through several iterations of chipping off high points to get the window to fit into the opening. As always, please take your time and try to chip off little at a time.
STEP 5 – CLEAN SURFACE
Perfect fit. I am not too concerned about small gaps on the bottom as they will be sealed by an expanding window foam. But for now, grab yourself a can of compressed air or if you have one handy, turn on the compressor and clean off the dust. You want a good solid bonding between caulking/foam against all surfaces so take your time and clear off any small debris /dust from the surface.
STEP 6 – CAULKING THE WINDOW
First of all, I used a clear caulk because it gave me most flexibility in terms of it blending it with the surrounding color. Although the caulk is white when first squeezed out, when it dried it became clear. Also, I planned on attaching the window frame to the bottom of the sill plate so I DID NOT caulk the bottom of the window. However, I laid down 2 separate caulking tracks on the top part of the window as well as caulk line on the bottom of the sill to ensure a solid seal against draft.
STEP 7 – SEALING THE WINDOW WITH EXPANDING FOAM
There are numerous types of foam sealants out on the market. You need to make sure to purchase one that is specifically made for windows and doors because foam sealants can be powerful enough to warp or bend window or door frames.
I no longer recommend Dow Chemical’s Great Stuff for Windows and Doors because they use a dispensing system that is highly unreliable. Just for this project, I had purchased 2 cans per window (total of 8 cans for 4 basement windows) and 5 cans did not dispense! In addition, Dow Chemical’s dispensing system is made such that it is virtually impossible to re-use half-full cans. Instead, I recommend using Dap Tex Plus 18836 Window and Door Foam Sealant 12-Ounce cans. It costs around $1.25 extra but its dispensing system is reliable so it will be more economical in the long run. If you purchase through Amazon, make sure to buy extra for future projects to save on shipping cost.
STEP 8 – FINISHING TOUCHES
For the sake of image clarity, I had to use pictures from 2 basement windows
Alright, we are almost to the finish line. After couple of days, liquid foam has turned hard so it was easy to cut off the excess. Any sharp utility knife will do but if you don’t already own one, get Stanley 10-989 Contractor Grade Swivel-Lock Retractable Utility Knife. This knife has a gentle curve that save your knuckles from being shredded by a hard concrete surface! Once the foam has been cut, take a 6 inch drywall taping knife and scrape off the excess. There are so many uses for this taping knife so dedicate one for use around the house. Any kind will do like MARSHALLTOWN The Premier Line M5763 6-Inch Flex Joint Knife with EMPACT Handle but avoid buying plastic ones as the blades will not survive being scraped on a hard surface.
To repair the damage, I needed a bag of mortar mix. Because this was my last window, I decided to purchase a small, ready mix bag from a local big box store. I don’t recommend buying this online due to shipping cost though Sika Corp. 05MG060 Sika Mix & Go
When mixing mortar, ALWAYS add less water than the stated amount. You can always add more water later; if you have too much water, the only way to fix it is to have more dry mortar to mix in. As far as the consistency is concerned, think about a peanut butter jar that has been sitting out. Very easy to spread, but not drippy. If you have a large chunk to repair, you will need to do it over the course of several days by adding a layer each time. If you were to place a large amount of wet mortar in one place, it will most likely droop as well as form a crack. The pictures I have is from my coating and you can see the depression on the left side of the window. I will be revisiting the window when the weather gets little bit warmer to add a final coat.
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