Window Well Repair 101
If you have a home with window wells, it’s likely you understand the importance of keeping them clean so they don’t clog up and cause a flood type situation in your basement. If you find yourself here because you have a wet basement or your basement has flooded because of a faulty window well, you’ve come to the right place.
Chances are your window well area has one of or a few of the following issues: no proper drainage has been built into the well, usually in the form of a deep layer of gravel or drain pipe that leads down into the weeping system OR there is a blockage in the well that does not permit the water to drain properly.
When water leaks into basements through a window, people often have their windows replaced unnecessarily, assuming that a poorly fitting window is the problem. Windows are designed to shed water, but they are not waterproof. So if water is backing up in the well, it will naturally find a way into your house through the window, no matter how tightly it is sealed.
How is a window well supposed to work?
A window well is designed to do two things;
- Hold back soil from coming into contact with a basement window
- Allow outside light into the basement.
Once installed you have created an area where water can collect and pose some problems. So from a functionality standpoint the well really should have an actual drain pipe installed to allow water to flow downwards into the weeping tile system. However in some instances just having a fairly deep layer of gravel is sufficient enough to absorb the water that enters the area as it can be absorbed into the soil beneath.
If you don’t have a drain in your window well, and want to install one, you should seriously consider calling a professional. It can be a fairly major undertaking and if not done properly, could cause even bigger problems.
How to properly install a new window well
- Excavation is performed in front of the window right down to the weeping tile.
- While there, it is recommended that a weeping tile test be performed to ensure that it is draining as it wouldn’t make sense to connect a window well drain pipe down to a weeping tile drain that does not work.
- A 4″ drain pipe is installed to approximately 4″ below the height of the window sill.
- Window well is fastened to the wall with concrete fasteners
- Excavation is backfilled with native soil
- Gravel is poured inside the window well to facilitate drainage into the newly installed drain pipe. Option: backfill the entire excavation with 3/4″ clear gravel – this will guarantee that any water that enters the window well area will drain quickly to the weeping tile system.