A concrete wall is an impenetrable barrier. It will keep you safe from intruders and the elements. Unfortunately, a concrete wall also blocks your view of the outside world. Adding a window to your concrete wall will give you the view you want, while maintaining most of the security the original wall offered. You can install a prehung window or you can design, frame and install your own portal to the world.
Things You'll Need
- Tape measure
- Fine-point marker
- 4-foot level
- Face shield
- Dust mask
- Safety glasses
- Work gloves
- Drill with 18-inch masonry bit
- Concrete saw
- 2-pound sledgehammer
- Hand grinder
- 2 treated boards, 2 inches by 10 inches, 10 feet long
- Circular saw
- Caulk gun
- Tube of construction adhesive
- 7 treated boards, 2 inches by 4 inches, 10 feet long
- 16d galvanized finishing nails
- Razor knife
- Tube of 30-year silicone caulk
- Wet rags
Stretch your tape measure up the wall in the area where you want to install the window. Place a mark at 3 feet from the ground and another mark at 6 feet high. Hold the pull blade of your tape measure where you want to place one side of your window, then stretch the tape horizontally across the wall. Make a mark on the wall at the pull blade and another mark three feet away.
Hold the level against the wall horizontally, lining it up with one of the first two marks you made. Adjust the level until the bubble is resting in the center of the tube. Draw a line across the wall following the side of your level. Make another horizontal level line at the second of your first two marks. Hold the level vertically in line with each of the marks in the second set. Draw a vertical line at each point to complete your 3-by-3-foot outline.
Put on your face shield, dust mask, safety glasses and work gloves. Hold your drill with an 18-inch masonry bit at a 90-degree angle to the wall. Drill a hole at each corner of your outline, drilling completely through the wall at each point. Start your concrete saw and hold it firmly with both hands. Saw along each of the lines in your outline.
Go outside and hold your level up between each pair of drilled holes in the wall. Draw an outline from hole to hole, as you did on the interior side of the wall. Cut along the outline with your concrete saw to finish cutting through the wall.
Go inside and strike the wall with a 2-pound sledgehammer to break out any concrete between your cuts. Cut away any rebar inside of your cutout, using the hand grinder.
Measure and cut a treated 2-by-10-inch board with the circular saw to fit each side of the hole in your wall. Slide each board into place, making each flush with the outside edge of the wall. Mark the inner edge of the window lengthwise along your boards. Remove the boards and cut along those lines to trim them to the appropriate width. Insert a tube of construction adhesive into your caulk gun. Apply the adhesive to the back of each board and put them back into place.
Measure and cut treated boards for the top and bottom of the hole; these boards will rest between your side boards. Cut the boards so that they fit snugly within the frame and trim their widths as needed. Apply adhesive to the boards and wedge them into place.
Cut a treated 2-by-4-inch board to fit along each side of the hole, inside of the 2-by-10-inch frame you created. Apply adhesive to the back of the boards and place them 1/4 inch from the outside edge of the wide frame. Nail the smaller boards to the larger ones with 16d finishing nails. Repeat the process for the top and bottom of the frame. Cut a second set of 2-by-4-inch boards to match the four boards you just mounted. Stack them out of the way for later.
Measure the distance between the inside edges of the upper and lower trimmed 2-by-10-inch boards in your frame. Measure the distance between the inside edges of the trimmed 2-by-10-inch boards on either side of the frame. Mark these measurements onto your plexiglass. Lay the T-square along each line as a guide for your razor knife. Score each line several times with the razor knife. Gently snap the plexiglass at each scored line to create your windowpane.
Remove the adhesive from your caulk gun. Insert a tube of 30-year silicone caulk into the gun. Cut the end of the tube at an angle with a utility knife. Apply a bead of caulk along the inside edge of each 2-by-4-inch board that is nailed into the frame. Slide your plexiglass pane into the hole and press it against the caulk.
Apply a 1/2-inch bead of caulk around the inside perimeter of the plexiglass. Slide your stacked 2-by-4-inch boards into the frame and press them against the caulk. Fasten them to the trimmed 2-by-10-inch frame by hammering in 16d finishing nails.
Cut a 2-by-4-inch board that is 5 inches longer than the bottom of the wide frame. Mark the center of the cut board and the center of the frame. Apply adhesive to the back of the cut board. Hold it up to the wall, 1/4 inch from the top edge of the frame's bottom wide board. Line up the center marks and push the board onto the wall.
Take a measurement from the top of the 2-by-4-inch facing that you just mounted. Measure up, 1/4 inch above the bottom side of the top trimmed 2-by-10-inch board in the frame. Cut two of the 2-by-4-inch boards to this length. Apply adhesive to each of these boards. Mount them along the sides of the window, 1/4 inch from the inside edge of the frame and with their outside edges aligned with the ends of the bottom piece of facing.
Measure, cut and fasten a 2-by-4-inch board that runs along the top of the side boards you just mounted. Cut this board so that it is long enough to run from the outside edge of one side board to the outside edge of the other.
Make a 2-by-4-inch frame around the window on the outside of the wall, following the same steps as for the interior side. Attach your boards 1/4 inch away from the inside edge of the trimmed 2-by-10-inch frame.
Caulk the seams of your window frame on the inside and the outside. Wipe each seam with a clean, wet rag to smooth the caulk.
Tips & Warnings
- If you have a premade window, use its dimensions to mark the edges of your opening. Ensure that the marks are level.
- Safety glasses and work gloves are required when using hand and power tools.
- A face shield and dust mask are necessary when cutting concrete.
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