Our New Basement Windows

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Universal Windows Direct. Right now, you can buy one window, and get one free, along with zero interest and zero payments for 24 months.

If you remember this post from earlier in the year, our basement is on our 2022 home goals list. However, I wasn’t really planning to start working on it until the fall, because we’ve had so much going on around here recently, with the construction of our two bathrooms. Instead of waiting six months, we decided to kick off the basement makeover with a bang…new basement windows!

Our Glass Block Windows

Our old glass block windows

Our home is over 100 years old – it was built in 1921 – and the foundation and basement are original. We have five windows down there and they’re all glass block.

Broken glass block windows

The glass block windows are horrible. Many have broken blocks, which always freaked me out a bit, especially with tiny children’s fingers around here now.

Broken glass block windows in our basement

There were gaps on the edges of some of the windows which were probably bringing bugs into our home. Yeesh! Plus, we could never open and close the windows so you couldn’t even get fresh air down in the basement.

Our old glass block windows

Overall, they’ve just been pretty crappy and we vowed that we would tackle them once the first and second floors of our home were completed. Now that they are complete (holy smokes, that’s wild!), it’s time to shift our focus to the bottom level of our home.

Using Universal Windows Direct Again!

Free home upgrades - rearrange your furniture!

You might remember this blog post and this one detailing the process of installing new windows on our first and second floors. We’ve loved our experience with Universal Windows Direct and we chose them again for our basement project.

Answering your replacement windows FAQs

Side Note: In our new main bathroom, we recently installed a shower window from a different manufacturer. The only reason we went with another brand is that my contractor sub-contracted the window out, since we hired him to do the entire bathroom. The sub-contractor he uses only stocks another brand of window. I just don’t want you guys thinking I’m not being authentic…I truly do love Universal Windows Direct and that’s why 95% of the windows in our home are from there!

Our old glass block windows

Honestly, I wasn’t even sure what kind of windows they could do in a basement and if their team could remove our heavy glass blocks. When the team came out to measure, they said the glass blocks wouldn’t be a problem to remove, which was so great to hear.

If you remember from my first post about our windows, I had Universal Windows Direct give me an estimate for every single window in our home. They offer a price lock guarantee, per window, for up to two years. So if you need to do your entire home in phases, as we are doing, they will honor that original estimate.

double hung windows

I knew that I wanted windows that could open and close, so we could get some fresh air down there. I also wanted some sort of privacy film on them so you couldn’t look straight into our basement and I chose their obscure glass frost. We decided on double-hung sliding windows…but hung sideways! We opted for white vinyl on both the inside and the outside. We have vinyl all throughout our home because they’re the most affordable, energy-efficient, and require virtually no maintenance.

I placed my order, and about eight weeks later I got the call that they were ready to be installed. It honestly kinda crept up on me since I’ve been so preoccupied with the bathroom construction projects. It was kinda fun to think about working on another space too!

The Window Install Day

Installing new basement windows

The team had six windows to replace – five in the basement, and another in the kids’ bathroom – and it took them about four hours from start to finish. They were speedy! (I didn’t get any pictures of them taking out the glass block because I was with the kids and didn’t want them to be near any flying glass). The installers used mallets to bang out the glass and then they quickly cleaned up the mess from each window area.

Adding new windows to the basement

Then, they grabbed the new windows, fit them in place, and added spray foam to the edges to fill any cracks and make sure everything was sealed tightly. In just a few hours, the ugly glass block was gone and our new beautiful basement windows were installed.

Our New Basement Windows – Before & After

Our old glass block windows in the basement
Our new basement windows

I can’t get over how much cleaner, brighter, and better our basement looks already! While the entire space still needs so much work, the new windows really do make it feel polished and new.

How to open vinyl windows

They’re also incredibly easy to open. You just unlock and slide right open.

Opening the windows in the basement

We’ve never been able to get fresh air in the basement, so it’s been really enjoyable opening these bad boys and letting the air flow on in! I know Finn appreciates it down there when he’s working.

Our new glass block windows

And the privacy film works great. The windows just look clean and bright, but you can’t see directly into the basement from the outside.

Let’s Talk Cost

Our new windows in the basement

Whenever I discuss new windows, I’m always bombarded with questions about cost. There isn’t a typical “one size fits all” pricing structure for windows because there are so many different ways to customize them. Homeowners can expect to pay $800-$1200 per unit at Universal Windows Direct and that includes labor, along with removal and disposal of the old windows.

adding new windows to the storage room

Also, be on the lookout for deals throughout the year. I know Universal Windows Direct currently has a buy one window, get one window free promotion, along with zero interest and zero payments for 24 months. So there are always financing options if you need them!

We’ve enjoyed energy savings since upgrading most of the windows in our house, and we know our new windows will be great for resale someday too!

You can tilt out your windows to easily clean them

If you have more window questions, including cleaning, maintenance, best kind for your home, etc., I answer all of those FAQ in this blog post. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re on the hunt for new windows for your home.

What’s Next?

Getting new windows in the basement

This was the first of many projects that you’ll soon see in the basement. I’m still working on an exact plan for down here, but we will be replacing the carpet, painting everything, upgrading the doors and trim, and creating a designated playroom for the kids. New basement windows were Step One for this multi-phase project and we are so pleased with how they turned out!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.