Basements are great places to hang out and play in on hot summer days, but they can also be a dangerous place to be in if a fire starts and the stairway out of the basement becomes blocked with smoke and flames. One way to make the basement safer is to install an egress window that you can use to escape from if you, or anyone else, suddenly becomes trapped in the basement during an emergency. Here is how you can cut through a concrete wall to install an egress window in your basement.

You Will Need:

  • Concrete Cutting Saw
  • Small Excavator
  • Sledge Hammer
  • Masking Tape   
  • Hearing Protection
  • Breathing Mask
  • Protective Eye Wear
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pencil

Check Local Codes

Many municipalities have specific building codes you will have to follow when installing egress windows for a basement. The codes cover how large egress window should be and how big the window well should be that the window will open out into on the outside of the foundation. This is to make sure it will be big enough for an adult-sized person to escape and large enough for rescue personnel in full protective gear to enter into the basement to save anyone who needs help.

Create a Window Outline           

You should create an outline of the window frame on the inside wall of the basement's foundation.  You should measure the dimensions of the window frame and then mark those dimensions on the concrete (make sure you allow for the width of the saw blade in your measurements) with a pencil where you want the window.

Place masking tape along the pencil markings to give you a stable reference line that you can easily see as you cut the wall with the concrete saw.

Excavate a Window Well

You need to remove enough dirt on the outside of the foundation to put in a window well where you are going to install the egress window. The window well needs to be big enough for the window to open all the way.

Cutting the Window Opening

Take the concrete cutting saw and start cutting along the masking tape outline. You should also cut grooves within the outline to weaken the concrete and make it easier and safer to knock the pieces out of the foundation.

Check the foundation wall on the outside of the house to make sure you have cut all the way through the concrete. If you haven't cut all the way through, you should finish cutting the outline and grooves from the outside of the wall.

You should use a sledge hammer to break the concrete apart once you have finished cutting the out line and grooves all through the wall. The concrete should easily break apart and fall to the floor. You can start to install the window frame once the concrete has been knocked out of the foundation wall.

For more on concrete breaking, click on this link or do an online search.