Basement Window - Needs Lintel?

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Posted by: from St Albert
5/14/2013 at 11:20:13 AM

I had three basement windows replaced last year and one of my windows is now losing concrete about it's self. There was likely a crack that was letting water in (I found some in my basement drop ceiling at this window this spring) and when the water would free it seemed to be breaking off the above concrete.

If you look at my attached photo you can likely see that the concrete about the window is very small and that there is wood now exposed where the concrete fell away.

I'm trying to decide If I simply need to seal this exposed area to keep it water tight/free or if I also need to add some type of metal lintel about the window as well.

This specific wall is load bearing, and these windows were not enlarged when they were replaced.

The home was built in 1987.

I appreciate any advice you might have, including where I might go for further inspection... should I ask a foundation company for example?

~ Robby

basement window - needs lintel?
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Date/Time5/14/2013 at 3:59:23 PM


All windows and doors must have a steel lintel. Whomever built the house without it is a fool. If it was a production house built by a large builder you should threaten to publish their name and perhaps they would come install one for free.

From the look of the photo's the window will have to come out to provide room to cut the proper opening for a lintel to be installed. Then the window can be re-installed.

Any competent contractor can dothis for you.

Good luck with it.

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Olivia from JDesigners in Ajax
Date/Time5/14/2013 at 7:51:10 PM

Definitely need lintels.

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Date/Time5/14/2013 at 10:28:06 PM

It does seem to be a foundation problem and would be a good move to talk to a foundation expert.

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Date/Time5/15/2013 at 3:01:59 PM

From one of the pictures I can see wood above and the concrete looks only 2" thick. A steel lintel won't work because they are 4" tall usually and you don't have the room for it. They used to use steel framed basement windows that were structural and would support the weight of the wall above. If that's what was taken out you need to put one back or re frame the floor joists so you have a proper header over the window opening. If the basement is not finished, it's the cheaper option overall. For the water, some simple flashing over the window and tucked under the siding should solve the problem.

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R in St Albert
Date/Time5/15/2013 at 3:56:00 PM

Thanks for the considerate replies everyone! It's much appreciated!

James From Pheonix: Much of my basement isn't finished. What type of company should I approach in order to "re frame the floor joists so you have a proper header over the window opening"?

~ Robby

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