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I am planning to replacement my basement windows (see this related question) and was planning to remove both the glass and frame. A window vendor advised me not do this claiming that the steel frame is supporting the concrete and removing it could cause the foundation to crack. They recommended that I re-use the frame (which is in bad condition on the outside). I would prefer to remove the steel frame since in its current condition, I don't think it is able to keep the water out. I suppose I could try and repair the frame (bang it back into place, use an abrasive brush to remove rust, re-paint and caulk all seams) instead.

Is foundation cracking a realistic risk and are there any other risks in removing it to warrant keeping it instead?

Full Window

Outside 1

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Home Depot has in-store stock of a vinyl window that would fit inside the frame as an added point for keeping the frames.. –  Steven Sep 30 '12 at 21:20
    
how much concrete above the windows? Your pic doesn't show –  shirlock homes Sep 30 '12 at 21:32
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Ok, hard to say without personally looking, but do you see any diagonal cracks from the frame to the top? I am leaning to remove the frames is th concrete is solid, but if there ar flaws, then you are indeed stuck with rehabing the frames and use some sort of replacement window. Put some good pics on. –  shirlock homes Sep 30 '12 at 22:21
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I should say, 8 inches of solid concrete should not fail if the frame is removed, assuming it verticals are solid –  shirlock homes Sep 30 '12 at 22:23
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Even if it does fail, the house is not going to fall down. Just have to fix the upper, over window concrete wall, not that difficult. I have taken them out intentionally and replaced windows and rebuild the wall. Little mini jack hammer, a steel lentil, and fill a form with concrete. Sounds hard, but not really –  shirlock homes Sep 30 '12 at 22:25

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Looking at the pictures I would say leave the steel and clean it up. The steel may be a lot tougher to remove then it looks. Might have pins into the wall or be hooked into rebar. It also looks like the steel was there when they poured the wall, making it real tough to remove. IMHO it might prove easier to cover the stuff with then remove it.

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Agreed. Remove the window, leave the frame, de-rust it, paint it, and drop a new insert window into it. That's often the simplest answer for wooden basement-window frames too, if the frame isn't rotting out. Insert windows will cost you a bit of glass area, but they're easy. –  keshlam Oct 3 at 13:30

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