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Basement Window Header

Porsche998's picture

Doing some reading I have seen the requirements for various sized headers over windows depending on the span.  While thinking about this, I ran down to my basement (house built in the 20s) and confirmed that the basement casement windows had no header but the bottom of the sill was at the top of the windows.  Is this typical in modern construction?  Is the lack of header due to the fact that the window is in concrete? If this is present construction, is it becuase the window span is about 32" or can longer windows be placed in the foundation without headers?

The basement is a full basementwith concrete walls.

Thanks for any information


(post #90783, reply #1 of 5)

I sure SEE a lot of basement windows without headers. But that doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Would you put a 32" window in an exterior frame wall with no header? Of course not. So why put in a basement window, which has floor load in addition to the roof load, without a header?

You may get away with it, if it's on a gable wall or if the floor runs perpendicular to it. But I think it irresponsible.


(post #90783, reply #2 of 5)

A friend of mine just bought a house built in the late 60's.

There is NOTHING over the top of the windows.

It uses the common inward opening metal hopper windows. They are set in flush with the inside of the foundation wall. And the sill plate is flush with the outside of the foudnation wall.

There is a 2" gap between the top of the window and the sill plate. In a couple the stuffed some FG insulation. But that does not stay in place and of course does not stop air movement.

I and figure out some "sill plate" extensions now to seal that area.

. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #90783, reply #3 of 5)

Doesn't the ribbon joist act as the header?

(post #90783, reply #4 of 5)

The rim joist could help support the wall and roof above.

But - It may not be adequate to hold up the roof. And the floor joists may only have one or 2 nails through the rim into the joist.

With floor trusses, there is sometimes just a 2X4 ribbon board across the ends. No way would that be enough to act as a header.


(post #90783, reply #5 of 5)

You're right. And if it's 32" wide, there's going to be at least one joist in that space.