Basement windows are those windows that are installed in a basement with a view of primarily providing natural light and ventilation. Typically, structures with basement are raised above the ground level by nearly a meter in order to accommodate these windows.
One of the first things that you should consider is the main purpose of the basement. This will give you the best parameters to decide the size of the windows and their overall numbers. Usually, basement windows are between 0.3 to 0.7 meters in height while their width is usually around 1 to 2 meters. Since drawing in natural light is one of the most important functions of any basement window, they usually have glass panels embedded in a wooden or metal frame. You can opt for a clear glass that will not only draw in light but also allow you a view of the surroundings, or you can choose a glass with frosted patterns if privacy is your priority.
Next, you must consider the weather patterns. Frequency of rains, snowfalls, high moisture, excessive dryness, etc. all play a major role in deciding the type of basement window that you should opt for. In case of heavy rains or sunlight entering the basement directly, you can opt for overhangs that can provide the desired protection. Further it also recommended to install metal flashings on the sill and if required on the sides in order to prevent accidental seepage of water around the window. Sound is another aspect that you will have to consider while opting for a basement window. Especially for houses near the main street, disturbances caused due to sound can be a nuisance not only in the basement but also to the floors above. In such cases, it is essential to opt for windows with good acoustical properties. This could be by opting for double glass units or adding sealants around the operable panel. Installing sealants can also prove to be beneficial from the point of fire resistance. Depending upon the use of the basement, you might also have to consider adequate security measures. One of the simplest ways to go about it is to install horizontal metal bars along the window. For added security you can install micro switches which give out an alarm in an event of an unauthorized attempt of entry.
There are few different types of basement windows that available in the market. Few of the popular kinds are awning windows, hopper windows, and sliding windows.
Awning windows are one of the most common basement window types that you can find in the market. These windows are typically hinged at the top and open outwards. As a result of their outward opening mechanism, they can be kept open even in moderate rains without the fear of water entering inside the basement.
Hopper window differs from awning windows in their opening direction and mechanism. Unlike awning windows, hopper windows open inwards and the axis of rotation could be on top or on the bottom. When you open the window upwards, there is an automatic latch that locks the window and prevents it from closing. In both the windows, weight of the window pane is critical especially when they have to be operated manually. Overall, one can conclude that awning windows can be installed in conditions that offer more installation space and hence provide better ventilation quality, while hopper windows are more suitable for tight spaces although the quality of ventilation gets slightly compromised.
Basement sliding windows work on the same principles of a normal sliding window. As a result, it is recommended to opt for these windows only when you will have a spacious basement with considerable amounts of activity that demand good light and ventilation. Owing to their mechanism and design, sliding windows demand larger space than the other two windows, but on the other hand, they provide considerably better quality of light and ventilation.
These are rust-free and are resistant to damage caused by moisture. They can be cleaned easily, are durable, as well as are an inexpensive option for long term use. They can be also be manufactured with a host of colors and styles.
Wood has consistently been one of the most popular materials for fabricating windows. Apart from it being strong and easy to work with, it is also highly aesthetic and complements most of the other features of the house. That’s why wooden windows are so famous.
Fiberglass has slowly grown in popularity in the past few years. Fiberglass is a considerably durable option and can be installed in the interiors as well as on the exteriors with equal effect. It is one of the strongest and durable materials but is relatively expensive.
Aluminum is one of the most commonly available construction materials that is preferred by architects and developers. Aluminum frames offer solid durability, are easy to maintain, and are not very expensive to install.
As explained before, the first step is to get a good overview of the available space and the activities that will take place in the basement. Next, you can approach a contractor or a fabricator who will guide you with the products available in the market as well as help you with the installation. These professionals are widely spread across Malaysia and can also help you with basic repairs or upgrading the existing windows.