Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Window Wells In New Homes

Window Wells In New Homes

Q:

What are the pitfalls in having window wells around the basement windows in my new home?

A:

Since window wells are at their basic premise something that keeps the ground away from a below grade windows that are located in the basement then you have to start by talking about the implications of having basement windows that are far enough in the ground to warrant needing window wells.

Window wells should always be a last resort, they should not be what you strive towards when you are building a custom home. That's not saying that you can't have windows in the basement of your new home, the windows in your new home should be set high enough that you do not require window wells. If the land that your building your home on doesn't allow you to get away without having window wells then there are certain things that you should think about when planning to put window wells in for the homes below grade windows;


  • Raise the level of the house out of the ground so that they entire window in the basement doesn't have to be below grade. The less your in the ground the less chance that you end up with water problems. This must be done at the time of setting the height for the first floor of the house. The higher you are able to set the first floor of the house the higher the basement floor will be and the higher out of the ground the basement windows end up.
  • Do not build your window wells to tight around the window. If you install the window well to close to the actual window frame you could end up damaging the window or the caulking around the window and this will cause leaks.
  • Install a drain in the bottom of the window well, connect to the house weeper or run it away from the house as a gravity drain.
  • Fill the bottom of the window well up with gravel, this will help stop plants growing up around the window.
  • Make your window wells out of a material that will last a long time. Make them out of a material that can withstand the pressure of the ground around it when the ground has become saturated with water from heavy rains.
  • If at all possible only install window wells where you are able to slope the ground away from the house, this will create natural run-off of water.
  • Don't make your window wells bigger then they need to be, the bigger the window wells the more water they are likely to collect in them.
Remember that at there core a window well is there simply to hold the ground away from the window so that the window can allow light into the basement and a little fresh air. So don't overthink your window wells, the simplest idea's are usually the ones that last the longest.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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