Window wells are necessary for basement windows fully or partially below grade. They enable windows to be functional which help bring in natural ventilation and sunlight into your basement and brighten up an otherwise dark and drab room. Without proper care and cleaning however, they can also leak and bring in water into your basement.
Some of the common problems homeowners may come across with their window wells include:
1) Becoming clogged with debris over time – Make sure to take a walk around your house on a regular basis and clean out the window wells that have collected leaves, garbage etc.
2) Inability to drain properly – this can be related to debris but even when clean can be a problem and could use a closer look by a Home Inspector
3) Old age – nothing lasts forever and eventually woods rots, metal rusts and concrete spalls
So what can you do as a homeowner? Consider the following tips:
- Ideally, the bottom of the window well should contain several inches of gravel to allow water to drain from the well
- A drainage pipe, filled with gravel (to prevent it from collapsing, but still allowing water to pass) should extend down to the drainage title around the perimeter of the footing (if one exists). As an alternative, a clear plastic dome can be installed over the window well to keep water and debris out. To see our illustration of these tips, click here.
Window Wells can be a complex matter and homeowners may find it helpful to consult a Home Inspector. As one of the largest Home Inspection companies in North America, Carson Dunlop can help you with your window wells and many other aspects of your home. To learn more about our Home Inspections, please click here.