Egress Windows - cutting wider

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bylandorriver
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Egress Windows - cutting wider

Post by bylandorriver » Wed Jan 01, 2020 11:35 pm

The windows in my basement (5 of them) are about 20” high x 32” wide. I would like to put egress windows in at least 4 of these, 1) to meet code for bedrooms and 2) to let in more natural light. I can cut down and put in 30” wide x 48” tall windows and not have to have stamped engineer plans. Since I would really like a lot of natural light, I wanted to explore the effort to cut the window openings to 40” wide. Can I figure out the header needed for this? Also, is there a source to learn how to construct this? I am pretty sure House-Improvements.com doesn’t have a video on it.

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A. Spruce
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Re: Egress Windows - cutting wider

Post by A. Spruce » Wed Jan 01, 2020 11:57 pm

Single story or two story home over the basement? The reason this matters is that it will affect the header size when you increase the width.

What is the current header dimension and type, i.e., solid beam, laminated beam, engineered beam?

Overall, this shouldn't be too big a deal.
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Shannon
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Re: Egress Windows - cutting wider

Post by Shannon » Thu Jan 02, 2020 6:25 am

What is the depth of joists used in the floor framing above right now and approx . age of house?
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bylandorriver
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Re: Egress Windows - cutting wider

Post by bylandorriver » Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:08 am

It is a single story, built in 1972 in Denver, CO. There does not appear to be a header associated with the windows (attached pic). The joists are about 7.5 inches deep from the interior of the foundation wall. Though, they don’t sit on the foundation, they sit on a 2x4 sill plate, I think is what it is called (attached pic). The joists are 2x8s, 16” on center and about 14’ 6” long. As I take these measurements, it appears the foundation is 9” thick.

Other question, as I was looking around, I noticed the joists kind of look like they buckled a little bit. There is a little bit of a crack and bow the length of the joist (attached pics).
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A. Spruce
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Re: Egress Windows - cutting wider

Post by A. Spruce » Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:57 am

Cracking and bowing joists are a common thing and usually nothing to worry about. If either become excessive, then corrective measures will be needed.

Looking at the window encased in the concrete wall, I'm betting that there is a metal support within the head space of the window because concrete is weak and wouldn't support the house over that window otherwise. If you cut the area larger, then I would say that a new steel support would be needed. What I've seen is a heavy piece of angle iron, something along the lines of 3" x 3" x 1/2". I would say that an engineer or an experienced foundation contractor needs to be consulted.
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Shannon
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Re: Egress Windows - cutting wider

Post by Shannon » Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:11 am

Locally in my area (no earthquakes) that concrete section above the window would have rebar re-enforcment and that is it. The rim joist of the floor system above along with the re-enforced concrete is generally the main "header" needed for narrower windows like what you have currently . That is in my area anyways.
I do agree with spruce though since you are increasing the window to such a wide width an engineer would be best. My guess is either they will recommend a size of angle iron to cut into the concrete for added support or cutting the concrete out completely and adding a wood header.
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bylandorriver
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Re: Egress Windows - cutting wider

Post by bylandorriver » Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:43 pm

Is there a good place to look for these engineers? I actually work with engineers but they are roadway, water, and bridge engineers. I will ask one of them, but I wonder if they don’t have the expertise in home stuff. As in, it would take them a while compared to someone that does it more often.

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A. Spruce
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Re: Egress Windows - cutting wider

Post by A. Spruce » Fri Jan 03, 2020 1:03 am

You'd be looking for a structural engineer, there maybe specialties depending on the trade, I do not know. If you work with them, I'd start there.
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Shannon
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Re: Egress Windows - cutting wider

Post by Shannon » Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:01 am

Your engineer coworkers may have friends who are structural engineers . Otherwise open the phone book or search online.
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bylandorriver
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Re: Egress Windows - cutting wider

Post by bylandorriver » Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:31 am

Cool, thanks!