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Replacing Leaky Rotted Basement Windows – Part 2 of 3

Transporting new vinyl replacement slider basement window

If you came to this page via a search engine, you may first want to FIRST read Replacing Leaky Rotted Basement Windows – Part 1 (click here)


  • It took about 3 weeks for the windows to come in and my Dodge minivan was awesome in carrying all 4 basement windows as well as 2 double hung windows with seats folded down
  • As instructed by the manufacturer, I immediately removed all shrink wraps when I returned home to reduce the risk of frame warping (fig.2.1)
  • Upon inspecting 4 basement slider windows, I noticed that window corners had excessive “left-overs” from soldering two joints together (fig.2.2 and fig.2.3).
Fig. 2.1
Fig. 2.2
Fig. 2.3
  • I knew these protrusions would interfere when squaring, plumbing and/or leveling a window, so I took my trusty Stanley SurForm Planer and filed them down
  • Please note that each swipe removes quite a bit of material so you should take your time in filing them with little pressure
Fig 3.1
Fig 3.2

Fig 3.3
Fig 3.4


  • This is the part where it gets a bit messy with rusted nails sticking out and concrete pieces flying all over the place
  • If you have any glass windows or any other breakable objects near by, either cover them up with a sturdy cardboard or relocate them temporarily

Make sure to wear your work gloves, goggles and ear protection when hammering away. It will be hard to continue when your ears are ringing and can’t see when small concrete shards are hitting your eyes.

First thing I had to do was remove the bottom bracing that was installed as a window “lock” (fig.4.1). At the same time, also removed hinges that were screwed to the top header jamb (fig.4.3).

Fig 4.1 – Remove old window and trim
Fig 4.2 – Remove bottom security bar
Fig 4.3 – remove hinge hardware
Fig 4.4 – Exposed window frames

Unfortunately, the window itself was caulked to the frame so it was impossible to remove the glass window so I placed a tarp outside and using a brown paper bag as a cover, I gently broke the window glass outward (fig.5.1). I then removed the window frame itself and interior trim pieces (fig. 5.2, fig.5.3 and fig.5.4).

Fig 5.1 – Use brown paper bag to break glass
Fig 5.2 – Glass safely removed
Fig 5.3 – Remove bottom trim
Fig 5.4 – Remove bottom window frame


  • Once the window and interior trim pieces were removed, it took about 20 minutes to completely remove the supporting frame. I took my time taking out one component out at a time so I did not encounter any problems.
  • I DO NOT recommend using a heavy duty demo tool like a Stanley 55-099 FatMax Xtreme Fubar Functional Utility Bar. This tool just has too much power that just may create more problems like breaking chunks of the foundation cinder blocks. For that same reason, I DO NOT recommend using a power tool to chisel off concrete either
  • My game plan is to assess the exposed wood frame from inside before attempting to remove it as the window has sloped mortar built up against the wood frame.

Interior Trim Assessment

  • Fig 6.1 through 6.4 shows you the top, side + blind stop trim and bottom frames as well as mortar used on the header as a “spacer”.
Fig 6.1 – Remove top frame and mortar
Fig 6.2 – Remove blind stop and side jamb

Fig 6.3 – Mortar gap
Fig 6.3.b – Rim joit
Fig 6.4 – Side jamb and sill

Removing the bottom frame

  • I used a corded reciprocating saw to cut the bottom frame in half; if you don’t have a reciprocating saw, you can use a circular saw (make sure to set the proper cutting depth) or a handsaw
Fig 6.5 – reciprocating saw
Fig 6.6 – cutting bottom frame

Fig 6.7 – Using a crawbar to pry off the bottom frame
Fig 6.8 – Remove once nails have been popped off

Removing the side frame and blind stop

  • I was surprised to find out that my side frame was built up with mortar from the outside
  • I had to chisel the side mortar carefully as to not damage the rest of the area
  • Once the bottom frame piece was removed, I went ahead an pried off both side jambs using a crawbar
Fig 6.9 – Remaining parts
Fig.6.10.a — mortar side sill
Fig 6.10.b – Remove side jambs
  • Gently pull the top header frame partially, keeping in mind that top mortar “spacer” may fall off
Fig 7.1.a – Remove top header and mortar
Fig 7.1.b – Alternate view
  • Next, we remove both top and bottom blind stops (in my case, I had a mortar build up on the outside)mortar “spacer” may fall off
Fig 7.2 – Remove side blind stop
Fig 7.3 – Separating blind stops from mortar

Removing exterior mortar sills

  • 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
Fig 8.1 – Chiseling mortar – left side
Fig 8.1.b – Mortar leftovers
Fig 8.2 – Chiseling mortar – right side

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.

Fig 8.3 – Breaking mortar and concrete
Fig 8.4 – Removing large chunks of mortar base

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.

Fig 8.5 – bottom mortar sill removed
Fig 8.6 – damages to the foundation blocks

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.

Fig 8.7 – Rough opening after cleaning up debris
Fig 8.8 – making sure bottom is level

Whew. That was some hard work! 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.

As you can see from Figures 8.7 and 8.8, there is no way to absolutely remove all imperfections.


The last part of my post is to clean up and install a brand new basement window!

Please continue on to my post, Replacing Leaky Rotted Basement Windows – Part 3 of 3


Thursday 14th of October 2021

this post seems very useful and applicable for my project. the problem is that almost all of the photos aren't rendering (tried using phone and computer, with different browsers on each). Any chance you can get the photos working again?

Anna Vermaire

Thursday 23rd of August 2018

Where did you order your windows from? I measured my basement windows + frames as 34.75x19 inches, but am having a hard time finding anything online that is this size.


Tuesday 28th of August 2018


I got mine from Lowe's. BTW, when ordering, I would shrink the actual size by about 3/4 inches...


Sunday 2nd of June 2013

Can I put ceramic tile over an epoxy-painted concrete floor?


Tuesday 18th of June 2013


I would follow what the epoxy manufacturer says on this matter. Though as a general rule, I don't like to lay tiles on any painted surface because if the paint peels off, tile would become loose.

Replacing Leaky Rotted Basement Windows – Part 3 of 3

Sunday 12th of February 2012

[...] This post is Part 3 of the Replacing Leaky Rotted Basement Windows article.  If you missed Part 1 of 3, click here.  For Part 2 of 3, click here [...]

Replacing Leaky Rotted Basement Windows – Part 1 of 3

Sunday 12th of February 2012

[...] Click here to read about Replacing Leaky Rotted Basement Windows – Part 2 of 2 or [...]