When working with a smaller space it is imperative to utilize your square footage as efficiently as possible. The townhouse that I’m remodeling has a useable basement, but I wanted to turn it into a pleasant living zone.

I have already written several posts on deepening the basement, and extending the foundation. Today, I’ll tell you about another basement project, adding more natural light.

The basement had two standard basement windows on the south side of the building. These windows did provide some light, but the area was still dimly lit. The only reasonable way to increase natural light was to put in larger windows, and to increase the size of the window wells. In addition, I felt that larger windows would allow a safer egress in an emergency situation.

I had to enlarge the window openings by cutting through eight inches of concrete; to do this I used a concrete chainsaw. A concrete chainsaw is powered by a hydraulic system that uses an external engine. Like the O-ring saw that I talked about in previous posts, it requires a water connection for cooling and lubrication of the blade.

I used a mini excavator to create much larger window wells. The wells larger size and their white coating will allow a significant amount of light to enter the basement. The windows will be custom ordered to fit the new openings. They will not only be much larger, they will offer a bigger escape opening in case of an emergency.

My plan is to turn this ordinary basement into a pleasant and bright music studio… but, more on that in future posts.

Using a concrete cutting chainsaw on the inside of the basement. It was an arduous task.
I went outside to cut the top portion of the windows. Note the three hoses, two for hydraulics and one for water.
The large external engine for the concrete chainsaw.
Pushing in the old concrete with the excavator’s bucket to create a larger window opening.
You can see the much larger window openings, as well as the two cut-out concrete pieces. They will be broken up into smaller pieces for removal.
This gives you an idea of the size of the old window wells. I’m using a grinder to cut through the metal so I can remove it.
Using a mini-excavator requires practice.
In any digging project there is always a lot of earth to move around. Here I’m removing one of several piles.
The excess soil will be taken to an EPA approved dump.
You can’t always use a machine to do all of the work. Here I am getting rid of concrete and rocks.
Despite using an excavator it took many hours to create these two new wells.
These window wells will replace the older, much smaller ones.
Securing a new window well to the foundation. You can see how large the new wells are!
The window well installed. I’ll need to fill the area with dirt and modify the drain before the job is complete.
The two new wells from the back of the house.
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