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Question DetailsAsked on 8/6/2013

How to re-do window wells for basement including composition of fill?

my window wells are basically non-existent which is causing heavy rain to leak into my basement and cause some damage. I'd like to do this project myself, and wondering what others have done in terms of depth of hole below the window sill, and then what materials are used...granite stones, mesh, other drainage materials? Thank you kindly for your help and advice.

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The first thing to do is make sure roof and yard drainage is away from the house, so all you have to deal with is normal rainfall in the immediate window area.

There are standard corrugated metal window wells you can buy at your local builders supply, that you drill holes in the foundation wall and bolt to it (with a gasket or thick bitumastic sealer between) with concrete anchors or expansion bolts. This keeps the surface and shallow water out of the immediate window area.

You can also get fancy and do a terraced window well with steps to let in more lights, though of course that also catches more rainwater.

There are also depressed window splash blocks, basically, with acrylic plastic cover that lets the light in but keeps rain out, if surface runoff or infiltration is not a problem. If you go that route, be sure it is well vented, so it does not trap moisture and rot the window that way - I am not a fan of them as they tend to make for a humid hothouse environment around the window.

For areas with torrential rains or a overhanging roof with no gutters (a bad thing by itself, as it dumps the water right next to the foundation), they also make cheap (about $20) acrylic half-dome covers that you can put over the well to keep the debris, rain, insects, and frogs out. If you don't use that, some people form a mesh basket in the bottom to lift out with the debris when desired, or put a mesh over the top to keep the larger debris out.

If the area by the foundation is otherwise dry, you put about 6 inches of fine gravel in the bottom of the well to eliminate standing water and consequent mosquito habitat. Not sand, as it stays wet too long which promotes insectsw.

If you have high water table conditions or intermittent surface flooding at the foundation, then the bottom is usually concreted about 4 inches thick (you can use sackcrete) with bitumastic seal at the wall and well metal. Depending on the situation at depth you may drill a hole with a fence post digger and install a sealed-in PVC pipe and fill it with gravel to drain the well about 3-4 feet down if the water problem is only at the surface, or if due to chronic high water table or high water table during storms, then the concrete is made solid at the bottom so water does not come in the bottom, an acrylic cover used if needed, and the well rigged with a small rubber tube so you can use a boat bailer to pump it out as needed, which should be infrequent if the gasket or seal to the foundation and concrete plug are done well.

You can google window well installation on the web and find lots of instructions on how to do it.

haven't priced it, but I would guess all told about $200-300 per window materials (about 200 for the well liner itself), or about $600-800 installed professionally.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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