Window wells are not a special fixture in and of themselves, but they do give you something that is otherwise unheard of: daylight in the basement. Window wells also ensure that your view from these windows is also something other than dirt. Aside from giving you a room with a view, window wells have another important function that we will be discussing today.
What are window wells?
A window well is a half-circle that surrounds a basement window, constructed off a strong barrier made either out of corrugated galvanized steel, plastic, masonry, or even pressure-treated wood. In essence, a window well acts as an opening to the outdoors and can even potentially be used as an escape route in times of emergency.
Another reason to install window wells is if there is considerable moisture building up around the window. For the windows that are at or below grade, a window well can keep soil away from the foundation walls and allow for proper grading as well as drainage (which needs to be installed into the well).
How do you maintain window wells?
Window wells, just like many other fixtures, need to be maintained. Proper maintenance includes preventing water from building up around the window and routinely removing debris that might fall inside. You don’t want debris congesting the space between window and window well for some apparent reasons. You might not be able to escape when needed, and water could potentially leak into the basement. If you find yourself cleaning out the window well rather often, you might want to consider getting a bubble cover for the well that shields the space from water, branches, and other things.
Building codes and window wells
Depending on where you live, there may be specific building code that defines how big the window well can be. For example, if the local building code says the basement window needs to be able to provide egress, then the window well dimensions might be quite large. Further, this emergency exit may need to be fitted with a ladder or steps to aid in escape. Ideally, the horizontal dimensions should be wide enough to allow for the window to be fully opened and for an adult to fit through.
Now that you know what window wells are for, are you considering installing a few? Window wells are indeed a useful addition to any household with basement windows, especially if said basement is finished and used for more than storage. Be sure to keep these spaces well maintained and covered throughout the year, and you can enjoy added security and daylight in the basement throughout the year.