How To Choose and Install a Window Well
How To Choose and Install a Window Well

If your house has a basement and that basement has windows, odds are it also has some window wells. Window wells are shallow holes—usually rectangular or semi-spherical—dug out in front of the basement’s windows. Window wells allow sunlight in while keeping water and soil out, as well as providing a means of escape from the basement. Subject to building codes, window wells are best built by experts. But if you have some construction knowledge, here’s how to choose and install a window well.

Measure Twice

As with any construction project, you should always get the correct measurement down before you do anything else. Measure the window’s length and width, then add six inches to the width and eight inches to the length for the well’s dimensions. The well itself should be deep enough for the window well wall you’ve picked out and plan to install. Many kinds of walls are available. They’re made of metal, plastic, and fiberglass, but if you’re good with masonry or pouring concrete, stone and concrete make longer-lasting walls. Keep the dimensions in mind when digging the hole.

Dig Once

Digging a hole seems like an easy task, right? But you’ll need to take multiple things into account before you stick your shovel in the ground. First, call your local utility companies to check and see if you need to watch out for any water, gas, electrical, cable, or other pipes and lines that might be buried below. One careless nick and you may lose power or, even worse, your life. Do your back a favor and toss the excess soil into a wagon or wheelbarrow. As for the hole’s dimensions, make them five inches deeper and six inches wider than what you recorded earlier.

Drill, Drill, Drill

Twist and turn a hole into the center of the freshly dug hole using a tool called an auger. Keep going until you hit gravel. This will hold the drain. Purchase a perforated tube and drain cover at the hardware store. You may need to have one specially cut to fit the hole. Place the tube then surround its sides and the bottom of the well with gravel to allow drainage.

Place the Wall

We’ve addressed most of the steps regarding how to choose and install a window well. Now all that’s left is to place the wall. Make the ends align with the foundation. Pre-drill holes and screw the wall into place. Keep things tight. Fill the bottom of the well with two to three inches of gravel and use the dirt you dug out to fill the space between the wall and the outside of the wall. Finally, either purchase a plastic cover to keep water, pests, soil, and plants out, or contact a window well company to install a more permanent and secure polycarbonate cover.


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