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Beepster 04-30-2012 03:46 PM

Window Well (lack of) Drainage
Hey gang,

I installed an egress window last fall as a part of my finishing of the basment. Now that spring is here, I want to finish the window well outside. I am thinking of using treated 4x4, stepped on the outside edge as i am over the depth limit (44") and need steps.

My question is what do i do to keep the window well from filling up with rain in case of a heavy rainfall? I do not want a cover. They are all ugly. Plus this is a custom window well. I have everything properly sloped so that nothing will run in.

Our property slopes to the street and the window is on the side towards the rear. It does not slope enough that I can put a drain in the bottom and dig a trench to the street.

Do i just dig a little deeper and fill with pea rock? Do i build the timbers up above the ground and wrap the exterior of the window well with plastic so that nothing will sep in?

There is not much help with searching "window well" here.


itsnotrequired 04-30-2012 03:55 PM

what type of soil do you have? if sandy, you are in luck as water should drain quickly. throw down some 1" stone or similar, 6" deep or so with geotext underneath to keep sand out. did down deep enough so the stone isn't right below the window, leave a gap of a few inches for freeboard.

if you have clay soil, you have a bigger issue since it won't drain as fast. you'll have to dig out more soil and put in more rock.

does a sloped roof drain into the window area? if not already there, put in some gutters to keep all that extra water away from the well.

hand drive 04-30-2012 06:01 PM

if you do not have to dig to deep, you could do the stone idea and just make an extra trench that leads away from the window well and fill this trench with the stone. dig a hole a few feet away from the trench and dig the trench over to the hole. any water build up in that area will follow the trench over to the hole and disperse itself under the ground.

the thickness of the stone in the well and trench should be at least 6 inches. Be sure and do not dig the trench so that it channels water back to the well, maybe 12 inches lower than the well bottom height.

Ravenworks 04-30-2012 06:09 PM

I would use retaining wall block instead of timbers because they look nicer and you only have to do it once.

jomama45 04-30-2012 07:35 PM

Assuming the foundation has an draintile system in place (I hope it does if you just sunk alot of money into the basement) you simply dig a hole all the way down to the washed stone that's covering the exterior draintile. A typical post hole digger is large enough diameter. Fill the column with stone after testing that the water will subside rapidly when exposed to a garden hose at full blast for a few minutes. Lay at least 4" of stone at the bottom of the well to allow water to perk to the column of stone, and as stated above, be sure to leave the stone a few inches below the window.

Beepster 05-01-2012 05:29 PM

Thanks for the replies. I got a pic on the street side of the window well looking back.

House is built in the Twin Cities in 1957. No sump system inside and I assume no drainage. I beleive the soil to be mostly clay. It was a ***** to dig the hole. Stone walls are still in the mix. I don't plan on being here too long, but want to do it right the first time. Gutters and landscaping are rock solid. There is no moisture issue in the basement.

As you can see in the pic, the back downspout empties right above the hole. I plan on having that dump into the drainage pipe in the pic and having that buried and running around the window well towards the street. It will then hook up with the front downspout and run to the driveway to dump. If I could snap my fingers, I would run this drainage pipe down under the bottom of the window well and forward to the front downspout. That would be too deep of a trench to dig as the hill gently slopes down.


mae-ling 05-02-2012 12:12 AM

There are plastic covers you can get, they help to keep a lot of water out

Beepster 05-02-2012 10:11 AM

OK, I give up on this picture thing. Cell phone pic is also too big. I don't know how I did it before. And i don't have time to figure the resizing procedure out. I tried the nondownloadable one in the "how to" link and that didn't work either. When i get home, I have way too many things to do than sit around for an hour trying to figure it out.

I believe I am going to dig down further, 12 inches or so, and even run a post hole digger hole at the front of the window well hole down a foot or two just to do it to the nth degree. I may try and find a metal grate to put over the hole so i don't have to fill most of the space with rock.


Ravenworks 05-02-2012 03:48 PM

You'll want to use stone to control erosion,or concrete.

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