I am in the process of finishing a bedroom in my basement. I need to add a window to the room and the selected wall is poured concrete. I need to know if I have to add a header above the window in the concrete.

The building inspector was of no help.

  • The wall is parallel to the floor joists above
  • The roof slopes towards this wall
  • The desired window size is 4' x 3'

I would like to simply cut the hole for the window and frame it with some pt 2 x 12. The main reason for avoiding the header is aesthetics. There is no siding on this portion of the house and I want to avoid having to side it.


  • 1
    How much concrete will be left above the window once you cut it out?
    – Drew
    Apr 13 '15 at 15:43
  • Approximately 16".
    – Lefka
    Apr 13 '15 at 15:47
  • 2
    An engineer needs to be involved with this. It also will depend on how thick the wall is. A 12" wall will obviously be stronger than a 8" wall. There should be rebar in the wall, but is it in the right place over the new window? If there is only one, will that be enough? The good thing is, the floors are not bearing on it, that is a big help, but the roof is. So the next question would be, is the subsiding under the siding strong enough to hold up that short section of roof over the new window? That is were the engineer comes in. If it was a non bearing wall, there would be no issue, IMHO...
    – Jack
    Apr 13 '15 at 16:30
  • It's an 8" wall and there is rebar in it. I would think the subsiding would be just fine considering the concrete actually ends after about 14 feet when a different room begins. The concrete goes from 8' tall to about 3.5'. In fact, my neighbor's house is the exact same model as mine but has 3.5' tall concrete on this wall the entire length of the wall. What would you suggest I do from here?
    – Lefka
    Apr 13 '15 at 16:35
  • 1
    Do not make assumptions about your house's structure based on your neighbors, even if they look similar. There may be differences you can't see (different rebar, different foundation, etc.). It is not uncommon for houses in a development to have minor differences, especially in the basement/foundation.
    – Hank
    Apr 13 '15 at 18:53

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