Window wells are a wonderful but often overlooked addition to a single-family home.
Let’s face it, if all a basement window offered was a close-up view of dirt it would be neither very attractive nor very useful, hence the window well. The window well allows the basement window to serve not only as a source of daylight in what is usually a dark space but as a welcome opportunity to let in fresh air.
For all their appeal, window wells do have a bit of a downside. First of all, they have a tendency to serve as sort of an unintended wastebasket for grass clippings and other yard debris and as an occasional refuge, accidental or otherwise, for small critters like squirrels, rabbits and skunks.
Of course, like any opening in the ground, they accumulate water when it rains or the snow melts and this water often finds its way into the basement.
Luckily, there’s a way to enjoy the advantages of window wells without turning them into a zoo or an aquarium – custom window well covers.
Custom Window Well Covers – How and Why
Let’s get one thing straight – we’re not talking about those plastic bubbles that are sold in the big box hardware store. Yes, they are readily available and inexpensive but they rarely fit, break easily and force you to drill into your siding to attach them. Forget them.
A custom window well cover is made specifically for your home and your window wells. In order to understand how great they are, it helps to understand the form and function of the window well.
After a foundation has been completed and backfilled, excavations are made around each basement window. Ideally, a drain is installed in each window well pit and routed to drain tile, a sump pump or out to daylight.
A window well liner, generally corrugated steel, is fitted and bolted to the foundation walls to hold back soil and provide an entryway for light and air. The liner should be securely attached to the wall with no gaps.
Homebuilders usually stop there, leaving it to the homeowner to install a custom window well cover. Without a cover, the debris that accumulates in the window well will quickly clog the drain and cause water to accumulate. Even the newest, best basement window will eventually allow that water to seep in and the homeowner will spot the telltale drizzle of water down the wall.
Okay, so a window well cover is pretty important but why a custom cover? Here’s a few reasons:
- Strong polycarbonate plastic lets in light but keeps out debris, animals and intruders. It is cut to fit each window well exactly.
- Anodized aluminum mounting and reinforcing strips strengthen the cover and will never rust or discolor.
- Stainless steel clips keep the cover attached to the window well through even the strongest storms.
- Beefy internal locks keep the window well secure but release easily for cleaning and maintenance.
Considering that installing a custom window well cover is an integral part of keeping a basement dry it should be no surprise that the best source for custom window well covers is a full-service basement waterproofing contractor. Basement waterproofing experts can also evaluate and upgrade window well drain systems and even install new liners if needed, all in the interest of keeping the basement dry and healthy.
At U.S. Waterproofing, we view basement waterproofing comprehensively, helping customers manage water outside their homes before it gets into the basement and recommending and implementing the best ways to keep it out once it gets there. We have installed window well liners, drains and custom window well covers for thousands of our more than 300,000 satisfied customers in the Chicago and northwest Indiana areas, so why not ask for our free advice?
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