Are You Looking for New Basement Windows?

Are You Looking for New Basement Windows?

Lawrence Construction replaced basement windows and added window wells

A window well is semi-circular excavation that surrounds a basement window. It is typically constructed from a solid barrier made from corrugated galvanized metal, masonry, plastic or pressure-treated wood.
Window wells are usually installed for the following purposes:
  • emergency egress. If the window serves a living area — as opposed to an unfinished basement with exposed utilities (see our article on Non-Conforming Bedrooms) — emergency escape at a minimum of two locations is required. Window wells allow windows to be used by escaping occupants and emergency crews attempting to enter the house;
  • to prevent moisture damage to basement windows that are at or below grade. The window wells keep the soil away from openings in the foundation walls while still allowing proper grading and drainage away from the house, and
  • to allow sunlight into a below-grade room that would otherwise require artificial lighting.

Window wells are often covered to prevent falls, as well as to discourage small children, A deer fawn that has fallen into this uncovered window well was successfully rescued by a Bountiful, Utah, emergency crew.pets and wild animals from entering the wells and becoming trapped. For instance, a deer fawn made news in Bountiful, Utah, after it was recovered safely after falling down a 12-foot-deep uncovered window well. Covers will also prevent the accumulation of twigs, grass, mulch and blowing snow that would obscure sunlight and complicate emergency escape through the well. Covers may be locked from the inside to prevent unwanted intrusion.

Window well covers, however, can block sunlight, ventilation and emergency egress, especially if they become covered in snow and ice. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure that the cover is cleared of snow and has not been frozen shut from ice. No items, such as garden hoses, potted plants or tools, should be placed on top of window well covers. Note that covers that are locked from the inside to prevent unlawful entry will be inaccessible to fire crews and first-responders.

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