Window Wells: A Useful Waterproofing Tool

April 20th, 2017

In some locations, asking a waterproofing specialist to install window wells beneath some types of basement windows represents one of the smartest investments a homeowner will ever make in a property. This deceptively simple technique has helped save some households literally thousands of dollars and hours of aggravation repairing rotting basement window frames. It can help reduce the heartache which accompanies a messy, but necessary, basement cleanup effort in the wake of waterlogged conditions.

On the other hand, an incorrectly installed window well sometimes aggravates flooding problems and potentially causes more problems than it solves. Three essential elements contribute to satisfactory window wells: (1) careful installation, (2) the concurrent use of suitable basement drainage technologies and (3) suitable window well covers. Well-designed window wells assist the process of maintaining secure, dry basements and contribute to the enjoyment real estate owners obtain from their properties.

Why Window Wells Often Promote Drier Basements

The Canadian Institute For Catastrophic Loss Reduction (the “ICLR”) recommends the use of well-placed window wells as an important tool for reducing basement flooding. When situated around all the windows in a property lying close to the surface or below the surface, excavated window wells may offer valuable assistance in preventing water from seeping through windows during periods of heavy rain. Without a well, water might begin trickling from the ground through the window frame.

When installing a window well, a waterproofing contractor must always consider drainage issues. In addition to providing suitable drainage for window wells, it may become necessary to modify the nearby landscape terrain to ensure water will flow away from the well, not back towards the structure. The well itself should fit securely against the building’s foundation in order to prevent leaking. To promote better drainage, the ICLR recommends placing gravel and course soil in the bottom of the well.

Some Benefits And Hazards of Window Wells

Window wells typically permit more natural light to enter a dark basement. They may contribute to a more open, comfortable downstairs living space. By clearing the area around the window, window wells also sometimes permit easier egress from the lower levels of a home during fires. Today, building codes in some locations may require the installation of window wells around bedroom basement windows under certain circumstances.

However these structures do carry potential disadvantages, too. Uncovered open window wells pose a serious potential hazard to young children, pets and wildlife. Tragic accidents have occurred when youngsters sustained injuries tumbling into open, uncovered window wells. Wildlife also sometimes become hurt or trapped in these locations. Additionally, unprotected window wells may provide hiding areas for burglars seeking access to a home through lower-level windows. These outdoor sites also sometimes readily collect fallen leaves and other windblown debris. Fortunately, today technology exists to help maintain window wells in safe, secure, attractive condition.

Concurrent Basement Drain Technologies

Whenever you request the installation of a window well, you’ll want to ask your waterproofing specialist to ensure the basement furnishes suitable concurrent drainage. Cracks in a residential foundation might cause water to seep indoors, even when window wells promote better drainage around exterior windows.

Essentially, window wells serve as important tools promoting drier basements. They won’t eliminate the need to ensure adequate drainage exists within the basement itself. For this reason, installing a sump pump in interior drains in the basement often represents a useful preliminary or concurrent project.

Window Well Covers And Guards

To eliminate the undesirable aspects of window wells, homeowners today can rely upon innovative technology for obtaining secure, well-designed window well covers and guards. A number of companies manufacture decorative, sturdy products designed to avoid the problems sometimes associated with window wells in the past.

You can obtain sloping window well covers and guards today in a variety of styles and colors. These home accessories help ensure rainwater will flow away from the well and the foundation of the home. Comprised of sturdy, durable materials, they will prevent young children and animals from falling inside steep wells. They also enable homeowners to secure windows more effectively against intruders.

A Popular Home Improvement

Investing in window wells for ground-level or subterranean windows can increase the utility of basements. While not a “cure-all” solution to waterproofing, this helpful strategy often helps create a more comfortable, secure basement. Window wells can reduce losses and inconvenience caused by waterlogged, rotting basement window frames. They may help prevent dampness and mold from becoming serious concerns the lower levels of a residence.

For additional information about this topic, or to schedule an appointment for experienced basement waterproofing services, simply call us. We welcome your inquiries and look forward to serving you!