Window wells let you add more natural light and fresh air to your basement. They’re made by digging an open area around the foundation and keeping the soil from collapsing back by lining it with a strong material like metal, plastic, or concrete. This way, you can have much larger windows installed than would otherwise be possible for a basement.

Window wells are sometimes required, as emergency exits, by residential building codes.

We offer customized solutions for window well installation, so they not only meet the functional requirements of your home, but also add to the beauty of its exterior.

Popular Types of Window Wells

Beyond size, the major difference among window wells is in the type of lining used. Cost, appearance, and durability varies depending on the materials used in the lining. We’ve installed many window wells and can help you choose what’s best for you.

Here are four popular types of window wells: 

Metal, typically galvanized steel. Window wells made from this are strong, durable, and designed to withstand heavy soil pressure and severe weather conditions. They’re also resistant to rust and corrosion. Metal window wells are great if you need something tough and like practical designs.

Plastic, usually high-quality polyethylene. This material is tough and durable enough to be used in things like hard hats, industrial storage containers, outdoor furniture, and car gas tanks. Window wells made of plastic are relatively light weight, come in many shapes and sizes, and are an affordable option. They are well suited for areas with lower soil pressure and where extreme weather is less common.

Concrete, usually rated at a strength of 3,000-4,000 PSI. Concrete is a very strong and durable building material, can be poured into custom-designed shapes, and is well suited for extra-large window wells. Because concrete is naturally porous and it’s important to keep the inside of the window well dry from groundwater, we use waterproofing additives and seal the concrete to create a water-resistant barrier.

Brick, which can come in a variety of color options. Like concrete, brick is durable and can be placed to create custom-designed shapes. Brick has a classic appeal and is the perfect choice to match the exterior of some homes.

If you’re interested in using a material not listed here, like stone or wood, let us know!

Shapes and Sizes of Window Wells

The most common shapes are square, rectangular, rectangular with rounded edges, and semicircles. There is no single “best” shape, as what’s right for you depends on your style preference and the lining material. 

Window wells can vary a lot in width, depth, and height.

The width is generally determined by the width of the window,  plus a few inches of space on either side.

The projection, or how far the well extends away from the house, is usually at least 36 inches, to let in air and light, and to give enough space for exit in case of an emergency.

A window well needs to be deep enough to reach below the window itself. This helps to protect the glass and prevent soil and water from entering the basement through the window when opened.

The overall depth will depend on the grade of the ground and the size and position of the basement window relative to ground level.

The height of the window well is typically a few inches above the ground level, to create a barrier that prevents soil and water from entering the well.

Do You Need Window Wells?

Not everyone needs window wells. If you have a basement that you rarely visit, live in a dry climate, and in an area with a low water table (meaning that flooding is less likely), and local building regulations don’t require them, you may be completely fine without window wells.

They are recommended if one or more of the following situations apply to you:

  1. People spend a significant amount of time in a basement not originally designed for continuous use. This often applies to older homes. Window wells add natural light and ventilation, helping to turn an “old stuffy basement” into a pleasant and safe place to live and work.
  2. You live in an area with high rainfall or high water table. Properly installed window wells, combined with landscape grading, help prevent basement flooding and groundwater leaking by managing water flow.
  3. Local building codes require window wells to create secondary exits in case of a fire.

Preparation and Installation of Window Wells

Here’s an overview of the process to install window wells:

It begins with a thorough assessment of your property, considering factors like soil type, landscape slope, drainage patterns, and potential basement window locations. This helps determine the best type of window well for your home.

Having the right landscape grading is very important for window well installation. No one wants rainwater runoff to collect in the window well, which can happen if the grading doesn’t take into account the location of the window wells. Fortunately, we have a lot of experience with landscape grading and yard drainage.

Based on the site assessment, we help you select the right materials (metal, plastic, concrete, brick, etc.) that match your needs in terms of durability, aesthetics, and budget.

We carefully excavate around your basement to the required depth and width. The selected window well is then securely installed, anchored to the foundation to withstand soil pressure and weather conditions, and we install a drainage system at the base of the well to prevent water accumulation.

Finally, we expand the existing window opening or create a new one in the foundation, and install the new window.

Ready for a hassle-free, professional installation experience? Let us help you enhance the beauty, functionality, and value of your home. Contact us today to get started.

Contact us today to get started. We serve the entire Twin Cities area.