Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Is there another way to handle below grade windows without having to install a window well?


Is there another way to handle below grade windows without having to install a window well?


Window wells are the simplest thing to do when you have (or want) windows that are below the finished grade of your home. They allow natural light into the basement of your home.

There is one other way to handle windows that are below grade. Instead of building the conventional window well, you build an area that is lower than the window that slopes away from the home. This will allow the water to natural run away from the window area, allowing more light to come in the window.

In homes that do not have the ability to allow for the window well to be dug out and sloped away to facilitate natural water runoff then you can build a large well area. These area’s can be as big as you want and can be used as landscaped seating areas with fire pits or any other kind of feature that you can dream up. What you have to make sure of is that there is either a gravity drain in the bottom of the well or there is an electric sump pump well so that any and all water will be removed before it turns into a pond or swimming pool.

These large dugout areas’s (as long as the water is controlled) are a great landscape feature and allow so much more light into the basement of homes. If you have the ability to build one I would recommend it over the conventional window well.

The dugout areas are usually best if they are constructed out of natural stone, this helps to ensure that the retaining walls will not have to worry about rot or heavily water logged ground that can cause collapses with lighter material (wood). If these areas are built properly then they should last as long as the home that they are built around.

Remember that window wells are simple and cheap but they are also allow the least amount of light into a window that is below grade.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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