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Posted by: from Ajax
5/6/2012 at 7:46:55 PM

Replacing a basement window. If the original builders steel window frame is removed do I need to insert a lintel before insertinga new casement window?

The window is approx 14 inches by 30 inches. The basement walls are poor concrete and the house is 25 years old. The basement window is directly under a kitchen window which has a lintel.


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Date/Time5/6/2012 at 8:02:45 PM

There is only one answer: Yes.

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Date/Time5/7/2012 at 12:32:19 AM

Hi David

The reason you have lintels above each window and door in the house is to stop the bricks above the windows and doors from caving in on the frame.

If it starts to cave all the wall above it will shift and cracks will happened around the envelop of the house.

The style of window and location has nothing to do with it.


Harry C.

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David in Ajax
Date/Time5/7/2012 at 8:34:14 AM


So what type of cost would I be looking at to replace./add a lintel?


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Date/Time5/7/2012 at 11:48:50 PM

Hi David,

Its a big range to give you a cost.


Harry C.

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Date/Time5/8/2012 at 9:06:48 AM

Hi David,

The lintel transfers the load above to the sides of the opening, letting it continue to the footings and ultimately the ground below.

Most basement windows are located at the very top of the foundation, often with the tops of the windows exposed and flush with the top of the foundation.

If your house is wood framed, then you will require a wood lintel above the opening which should already be there since there is an existing basement window you are replacing. If you are enlarging the window (i.e. for a basement bedroom egress window) then you must open up the framing above to install the larger lintel. DO NOT compromise the bearing points of the lintel even if it seems like a lot of work for only a couple of inches. In most cases this can be done with very little trouble from the basement.

Second issue is brick. Regardless of whether your house is a wood framed structure with the proper wood lintel above, if you have brick veneer, that load must also be transferred as the brick veneer sits 1" outside the wood framed structure. This is done with pre-primed angle iron. The specific dimensions should be determined by what it is carrying (i.e. stone or brick (concrete or clay) etc.). These are installed internally, meaning with the 3 1/2" flange holding the brick and the taller flange (which resists deflection) inserted into the air space behind the brick or stone. Try to get 6" of bearing on either side of the opening.

Having said this, unless you are enlarging the window opening, these should remain unaffected by changing the window and you may not have to change anything.

Good luck.

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