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How to Prevent Basement Window Wells From Flooding

Basement Window Wells

Window well drainage is a very common problem in people’s basements and is a major basement waterproofing problem. When the basement windows haven’t been installed properly or have inadequate drainage, water that has accumulated pours into the basement through the windows resulting in basement flooding.

Window wells must be installed in basements where the window sills are at the level of soil corresponding to the window or at a level below that. They are usually made up of galvanized steel and they are installed to prevent rainwater and water from melted snow from seeping through the windows and flooding the basement.

So when a lot of snow melts or when it rains heavily and there are large amounts of water accumulated, the window wells collect and contain the water and prevent the water from reaching the basement windows. If they cannot contain the water, they help drain out the water so that it doesn’t collect by the basement windows.

Problems occurring with window well can be divided into four categories –

  • Poor installation
  • Wrong window well sizing
  • Contamination of the gravel layer
  • Lack of sufficient drainage

By hiring a basement waterproofing contractor and fixing these four problems, you can prevent basement window wells from flooding the basement.

  1. Poor installation – this is one of the major causes for inadequate window well drainage and water penetration and seepage into basements through the windows. A poorly installed window well will not help prevent water and sediment from entering the basement.
  2. The wrong window well sizing – window well problems can also arise from incorrectly sized window wells. Sometimes a window well is not deep enough or is not wide enough to fit the window size correctly. This is probably because the measurements weren’t taken properly and standard window well sizes were used instead of custom window well sizes.
  3. Contamination of the gravel layer – poorly built window wells that don’t drain properly are because of debris and soil accumulation and contamination in the gravel layer of the window well. The gravel layer of the window well loses its draining abilities when it is contaminated by soil and sediment from outside.
  4. Lack of sufficient drainage – when water enters a galvanized window well it should not be allowed to accumulate and must be drained out. If a lot of water enters the window well, stronger drainage provisions, apart from the gravel layer must be provided to drain the water. Installing a window well drain or cover will help drain out large amounts of water and prevent it from seeping into the tiles.