Walking down a city street, you might notice that a lot of the buildings feature windows right at the sidewalk level. They often have a space around them with the appearance of an oversized flower pot or bucket sliced in half. These are known as window wells, and they are important in almost any sort of basement finishing treatment. Windows allow for a way of “egress” or exiting the building if the stairs are inaccessible. They are also ideal for bringing in light and air when the basement is dark and even damp.
Yet both windows and window wells need to be installed properly since they are responsible for retaining the soil in the area around the window, preventing leaking or unwelcome drainage into the well itself, and allowing proper light and ventilation through the window.
If you have window wells (and almost all buildings do), you might already know that they are ideal gathering spaces for leaves, debris, snow, and more. They cannot be ignored. In fact, one waterproofing article says as much, pointing towards overlooked window wells as one of the biggest “don’ts” of basement waterproofing projects. In other words, if you are looking to ensure that your basement is waterproofed properly, one thing you do not want to do is ignore or overlook the window wells in any way.
What Water Wells Need
Properly installed, they can drain properly without any leaks inside of the basement, and their drains should be designed to prevent easy clogging. They shouldn’t need covers, though millions of people use them, and should ensure you have a functional way of escaping the basement if there is no other way available.
Now, that is not to say that you can ignore them. As the home or property owner, it is up to you to be sure the wells are regularly (i.e. seasonally) cleaned, windows washed and checked, and so on. If you can do that and have no problems, then you should enjoy a good experience with those windows and window wells for years to come.
Unfortunately, not all installers are experts in basements or drainage and do not manage to install the wells properly, whether at the time they are installed or when replaced or upgraded. In the past, we have warned our readers about steps or procedures that might be necessary after any sort of foundation repair, but did not mention the need to ensure that the window wells are still in top condition. Your foundation repair professional should have explored this issue for you, but if they did not and the basement still seems to experience leaks, or the wells themselves are prone to flooding, it is time to have experts come in and save the day.
The Foundation Experts have many services relating to your home or other property’s foundation. Whether it is the excavation of window wells, installation of them or repair, they can help you ensure that your basement remains dry and your window wells serve as they were meant to!