Window Wells

Window well cover installed (4)Window wells are small semi-circular corrugated steel or plastic “wall” structures positioned outside basement windows that allow more light to enter and keep soil and water away from window.  Some window wells also allow you to climb out the basement window in an emergency.  They are usually a few feet or a meter deep and filled with a small layer of gravel to drain the well. Window wells are both practical and decorative and, with minimal upkeep.

Window wells, when installed below grade on the exterior of a home, must also include a working drainage system. In the absence of drainage, window wells fill up and the water simply pours through the seals of the window and into the basement. Windows are designed to shed water, but they’re not usually waterproof. An actual drain pipe can be installed in the window well, to take water down to the perimeter drains, and away from the house.

Window well covers installed

Exterior drain: Installing a drain in your window well involves manually digging down along the basement wall, right to the base of the home’s foundation. A drain pipe is then installed to drain water away from the well, instead of filling it up. It extends from about 4″ below the window sill, all the way down to the top of the weeping tile or perimeter drain. Gravel will then be shoveled in to direct water to the pipe, and to allow any excess water to drain away.

Interior drain: With this method, instead of connecting the drain to your weeping tile or perimeter drain, you will be directing the water inside your house. A hole is drilled though the foundation wall, below the window sill. A pipe is placed in the hole, and down the interior wall to connect to a sump pump.

If you haven’t got a drain in your window well, and want to install one, you should seriously consider calling a professional. It’s a fairly major undertaking, and if not done properly, could cause even bigger problems.