Helpful Tips to Choosing Basement Windows
When evaluating a home’s windows, basements are often overlooked. Since they’re often partially below-grade, your basement windows are less noticeable. Although we often overlook them, you need to give them deliberate attention.
When a basement is mostly or partially underground, you need to maximize the amount of ventilation and light available, especially if you use your basement regularly.
Most basements have a limited area in which to put windows, and the standard double-hung windows won’t work because there isn’t sufficient space. Some people install glass blocks in the foundation to provide light, but the light from glass blocks is diffused, and they don’t allow for sufficient ventilation.
What are the choices when selecting basement windows? Here are some tips for choosing the best basement windows.
Types of Basements
The primary factor to consider when choosing your basement windows is the basement you have. An unfinished basement that’s underutilized doesn’t need a fancy basement window. However, you need to be more careful when choosing windows for a finished basement that you frequently use as a TV-room, bedroom, or some other purpose.
If your basement is unfinished, you probably spend little time there and most likely use it for one of three purposes:
- Washer and dryer
- House mechanical units such as cooling and heating systems
In such a case, it’s more sensible to invest your money in getting good windows for the rest of your house where you spend a lot of time.
You don’t want to buy a window that will fall apart in a few years or allow lots of air to come rushing into the house. But you also probably don’t need design features like upgraded hardware or interior colors, or extremely energy-efficient windows.
The biggest concern for windows in an unfinished basement probably concerns the style: slider, glass block, or hopper windows.
In a finished basement, there are many more factors to consider. Since you’ll be spending more time in your basement and may need cooling or heating then energy efficiency is the first big factor. Installing an energy-efficient window will help you save more money on heating and cooling costs.
The building code in your area may revive you to install an egress window for your basement. If an opening doesn’t already exist, cutting one out will increase costs. However, it will give you flexibility in choosing the type and size of windows to install.
Design choices such as colors and grids are also more crucial for finished basements. The colors of the basement windows need to blend with the colors of the rest of your windows. You may prefer a wood grain interior to match the color scheme, although white usually works fine.
Basement Window Sizes
Basement windows are available in various sizes. Although there are some fairly common sizes, there is no uniform standard size. The best option is to choose a window that’s customized for the size of your window opening while ensuring it has an airtight fit.
You may also choose stock sizes from your local lumberyard or big box. However, you may have to rework the frame to fit the stock size.
Energy might escape your home through the basement, and if you don’t do something about it, your energy bills will soar. When shopping for a basement window, ensure it can efficiently regulate the temperature in the room to make your home more energy-efficient.
For your new basement windows to be energy-efficient, they must be Energy Star-certified and rated to provide superior thermal protection. Basements tend to remain cool. So your furnace has to work extra hard to maintain your desired temperature. Installing an energy-efficient window will allow your basement to heat up faster.
Allow as Much Light as Possible
Naturally, basements are dark. So the more natural light you can let into the house, the less you will depend on lighting. Choosing basement windows in terms of their brightness comes with several considerations. They may not be as tall as the ones upstairs, but most come with an added width as compensation.
Fixed windows allow plenty of light, are highly affordable and are easy to clean.
Airflow of Basement Windows
Your basement will always smell like a basement, and there’s nothing much you can do about that. Since you’re sitting underground, the air will be slightly different, and you can detect this by the smell. For everyone who owns a basement, the ability to let fresh air in and the stale air out is crucial.
This is where hopper windows come in. Hopper windows are an excellent choice for the basement because they draw in plenty of air from the top, and this is perfect for ventilation.
Basements are often empty, and intruders often target them to enter your home. To ensure security and protection, you need to install a basement window that has a robust locking system.
For example, dual-locking window designs provide enhanced protection for your basement since they make it difficult to open or break in through the window from outside.
Basement Window Functionality
Your home needs multiple exits on all floors in case of an emergency such as a fire. But many people forget how important it is for basement windows to open. If you ever need to move things or pass a hose in and out of your house, having an open window that you can easily reach from outside will come in handy.
Double or single-sliding windows allow plenty of fresh air in and can easily slide open, and you can lock and seal them for additional protection, safety from intruders, and protection from the elements.
Every home is unique and has its own particular needs, so the best way to find out the right windows for your basement is to consider the above tips.