What to Know About Window Well Installation

Windows are essential components of our homes, providing natural light and ventilation and improving aesthetic appeal when placed with purpose. Below ground level, windows require additional protection and structural support due to exposure to potential damage from the elements. Window wells serve as barriers between the interior of a building and the surrounding soil or debris.

Don’t DIY

While you might be tempted to install your own window wells, there are several things to consider before digging in (pun intended). DIY projects are often appealing because they offer the potential to save money while also allowing you to get your hands dirty with a fun home improvement project. However, we do not recommend installing window wells without the help of a professional. Numerous things can go wrong if you don’t have the knowledge, experience, or tools to install them properly.


Choosing the Right Window Well: Materials, Dimensions, Shapes & Styles

Selecting the right window well for your building will depend on whether it’s for a residential home or a commercial building. In either case, you’ll want to consider various factors when choosing the material, dimensions, shape, and style of your window well. We touched on these briefly in our most recent blog, Window Wells 101: Exploring Materials, Covers, and Drainage Solutions, but here, we’ll explore additional advantages and potential disadvantages to each.


Window Well Materials

Here are the three most common window well materials and things to consider with each type.

  • Precast Concrete

This material is typically more expensive than others but offers top-notch durability for high-traffic areas like basements used as playrooms or workshops. It is also a popular material for commercial buildings with high-security areas.

  1. Plastic 

A more budget-friendly option is plastic, which can suffice for frequently used spaces. They are lightweight, easy to install, and often come in pre-fabricated sizes. However, plastic window wells are far less durable than other materials, and we don’t recommend or install them for our customers for that reason.

  • Steel

Steel is a popular material for window wells in commercial buildings because it can withstand higher levels of wear and tear. It offers a good balance of affordability and durability, making it an optimal choice for most residential buildings, too.


Window Well Dimensions 

Local building codes will dictate minimum size requirements, which can vary depending on the type of building and its occupancy. However, window wells typically range from 3 to 4 feet wide, 5 to 8 feet long, and 3 to 4 feet deep, offering some flexibility within those ranges. For commercial buildings, egress window well requirements might be stricter to accommodate more occupants. Before you begin a window well installation project, check with your city’s building code enforcement department to ensure you have the appropriate dimensions. 


Window Well Shapes and Styles

Rectangular shapes are most common for ease of installation alongside foundations, but rounded options can add a softer touch to residential buildings. Commercial buildings often prioritize a clean and modern aesthetic; therefore, rectangular shapes are more common. However, the shape and style you choose will depend on your goals and preferences for your basement’s aesthetics.


Benefits of Professional Window Well Installation

As alluring as the idea of DIY installation may be, hiring a team of experienced professionals can provide peace of mind that no cost savings can compete with. A professional window well company will ensure your window well meets all code requirements, guaranteeing safety and proper drainage to protect your foundation. 

Plus, they’ll have the experience and know-how to complete the installation process efficiently and quickly, minimizing disruption to your home. Ultimately, the investment will be well worth it and will save you money in the long run by avoiding having to fix any mistakes you’re likely to make if you install it on your own.

DIY improvisation might work for some home improvement projects but not for installing a window well. Proper installation is critical to provide adequate drainage, efficiency, and safety. We recommend hiring a team of window well experts, like our team at Steelway, for the job!


Steelway: Your Experts for a Brighter Basement

At Steelway Cellar Doors, we’re experts in cellar doors and window wells, and we know how important it is to have a window well system that functions optimally–and safely. We fabricate made-to-order steel window well covers and work closely with contractors, builders, architects, and homeowners to ensure your basement is bright, safe, and functional. 

Contact us today to learn more.