What Is A Window Well?
A window well is a small area dug out next to a basement window. Window wells are typically made of metal and are designed to keep soil and debris away from the window. Window wells come in various sizes and depths, depending on the homeowner’s specific needs.
You can think of window wells as something like mini retaining walls. They come in two shapes: Half Moon (Round) and Egress (Rectangular). You will often find them around basement windows (or should). Window wells help to keep your basement from flooding through the windows.
Window wells help to provide natural light to a basement, creating a brighter and more inviting atmosphere in what is otherwise often considered a dim and dungeon-like space.
What Is A Window Well Cover?
A window well cover is a protective structure used to cover the top of the window well. This cover is typically made of a strong, durable material designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, keep debris from accumulating in the window well, and prevent water from seeping into the basement.
Window well covers come in different shapes and sizes and can be customized to fit the specific dimensions of the window well. They also come in a range of colors and styles, allowing homeowners to choose a cover that matches the aesthetic of their home.
In addition to protecting from the elements, window well covers can also enhance the safety of a basement. By securing the opening around the window, these covers can prevent children and pets from accidentally falling into the window well.
What Do Building Codes Require?
Building codes typically require window wells to meet specific criteria to ensure their effectiveness and safety. For instance, the well should be wide enough to allow easy escape from the basement through the window in an emergency.
In addition, building codes may require installing window well covers to prevent debris from clogging the well or rainwater from flooding the basement. The code may also specify the type of material used for the well. Building codes also usually require that window wells not obstruct the functioning of the window.
Do I Need A New Window Well?
Like anything else in your home, the windows in the basement experience the ravages of time. Exposure to the elements can cause the mortar joints and seals around the window to wear away, allowing water to enter the basement. This seepage will be seen around the window frame and pooling on the floor below. You might come home after the wall has dried, and all that’s left is a puddle on the floor.
Why Do I Need To Replace My Window Well?
Common reasons you might need to replace a window well include the following:
The window well is buckling
This is caused by pressure from dirt and water pushing in on the window well over time. This leads to a few issues:
- Water/debris intrusion into the window well – A buckled window well can allow water and debris to enter the well. This can clog your drain and flood your basement.
- Basement window frame deterioration – When the window well buckles in, the window frame is no longer protected, allowing water to get between the window frame and the foundation and then seep into the basement.
- The window well cover no longer fits – As the window well buckles, the top will change shape, and the cover will no longer fit. Without a decent cover, critters, debris, and water will get into the well, causing many problems.
Read more about – Tips for Controlling Basement Dust Mites
How Is A Window Well Replaced?
We have an entire page devoted to window well installation, including photos and videos.
When Do I Replace My Window Well?
There are several signs it’s time to replace your window well. Some are obvious, and some take a little investigation:
- You have flooding in your basement under the window well – While this isn’t a death sentence, it does point to a more significant problem—time to inspect your window well.
- Your window well overlaps the frame of the window outside – As stated above, this can cause water to leak through the window frame and into the basement.
- The window well is bowing in – This signifies a potential collapse. If the window well collapses, the window could break, allowing dirt, water, and animals to enter the basement.
- An inspector tells you there’s a problem – If you’re selling your home and an inspector tells you there’s a problem with a window well, contact a foundation repair contractor and ask for an inspection.
How Much Does It Cost To Have A Window Well Installed?
The cost of window well installation depends on various factors, including the following:
- The window’s size
- The material used to construct the window well
- The type of window well cover
These variables make it difficult to estimate the cost of window well installation without an inspection. However, you can expect to pay anywhere from $900-$2,200 depending on size per window well.
If you think the window wells in your Chicagoland home might have a problem, contact The Real Seal today to schedule an appointment. If we find a problem, we’ll give you a repair estimate.