My basement has the original steel (I think) framed windows in place from 1962, when it was built. I've removed windows in block before, at my previous house, but this one does not seem as clear. As you will see in the pictures, above the window there horizontal metal surface that appears to be attached to the window. It appears to be approximately 4-5" wide, and appears on both sides of the glass. The vertical part of the frame is approximately in the middle. I'm not sure if it truly is a part of the window, or something else, like a beam. It appears to be one piece with the frame

Essentially, my question is two fold. First, does this window somehow provided structural integrity to the block wall? Two, how should I start removing it - simply chip away the mortar on the perimeter?

Note: The window pane tilts in, and was removed for these pictures. Also, there is some white quarter round a previous owner had in place to pinch plexiglass in front of the window, trying to seal it. It's unrelated to the window itself.

Edit: Some details on the house... built 1962. Brick veneer. Block foundation wall.

Window as a whole

Close up of horizontal metal at top

  • Hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like there's a seam between the window frame and the metal header. You might want to shoot some rust remover onto the seam to see if they are really separate pieces. The top looks pretty thick to be part of the window.
    – Comintern
    Aug 2, 2014 at 3:22
  • @Comintern Yes, it is pretty thick. After doing some more research, I think it is a steel lintel to support the brick facade. I will take some more picture and investigate further, but it'd appear to be a setup like this: bjhowes.com.au/images/stories/Lintel%20Picture%201.gif - there seems to be two parallel planes of bricks, which would pinch together two steel angles like in the drawing Aug 3, 2014 at 1:44

1 Answer 1


I have removed these before. A cut at the bottom bar, which is not anchored into the sill the way the sides and head is. When cut, the 2 bottom corners can draw in, allowing the flanges on the sides to begin to withdraw from the groove they are mudded into. You may want to nick the upper inside corners to make it easier to bend inwards. They might even snap there for you too. If they only bend in at the bottom, that will still have the lower corners raised above the bottom masonry sill by a few inches. With that the head that is keyed in at the top can be tapped down to release it, one corner at a time.

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