So, I've got these short 11x32 inch windows that are original to the house, there's five of them. They're metal, single pane, and have large gaps between the frame and window. I've tried going to the big box stores to have some custom ones made but the smallest size they can make is 12" tall. We really dislike the look of glass block and even then, they aren't optimally sized at 4", 6", 8", or 12". I had bought some plexiglass to glue to the window frame and then I was going to clean them up, paint them and add a bunch weatherstripping. But, I'm doubting that plan now. I should mention that I do care about looks since we are about to finish the basement.

Any ideas? Here's photo of the current windows.

Basement window 11x32

  • Do you want/need the windows to open, or is a fixed "picture" window acceptable? Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 17:07
  • 3
    You might want to try an actual window company. They don't have standard sizes.
    – JACK
    Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 17:14
  • The metal window may very well be 11 inches tall but you need to measure the rough opening. There could be a thick layer of mortar above and below the window so your rough opening could be as large as 13 inches. Also, make sure to consider at least one egress window if it's being finished into a living space.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 18:43
  • Do you have to worry about egress?
    – JACK
    Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 20:46
  • The gaps around the window don't look to bad. Wrap with trim and the gaps are gone. I can see the concern about single pain glass. Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 6:28

1 Answer 1


The window frame shown in the picture looks like it would clean-up, paint, and trim-out to leave a clean finished appearance. I'm guessing that the existing window opens and the lever, at the top-center of the window, is for locking the window closed. If that's the case, the window design is allowing for light and for controlled ventilation in a very small opening. If the window shown in the picture is the metal, hinged, swing-out opener that I'm familiar with, I know that they are expensive and a desirable solution for small basement window openings. The metal components can be much narrower than wood or vinyl window frame components, maximizing the basement's small wall opening for light and air.

I wouldn't advise sealing-up the basement window/vent openings with glass block or any other material. Ventilation can be important for a basement.

If the existing windows are simply a no-go, reach outside of the local big-box home supply store. A handful of 800 calls will give you a good idea whats available in custom order. If you have a non-typical design in mind, talk with some local tradesmen.

  • This doesn't deal with the single pane glass, maybe not so bad in a basement. And small windows. Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 6:30

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