Basement Window Well Maintenance Guide

Posted by:

Around 14,000 Americans face some kind of water damage incident in their homes every day. Water damage costs billions of dollars each year and has a way of evolving into bigger and bigger problems in no time. 

A window well is a common vulnerability for water damage in homes. When there’s a defect in the window well, the elements can easily sneak in and wreak havoc on your basement with very expensive, necessary repairs. Weatherproofing in a basement should always include the window wells for full security. 

After installation, there are also things you can do to keep your window wells from becoming a source of problems in the future. We’ve put together a list of some of the best window well maintenance tasks for you to focus on. 

Regularly Check for Debris

The best thing you can do for your basement window well is to regularly check it for debris and junk that you don’t want in there. For many reasons, you don’t want any window well to fill up with excess leaves, branches, or fly-away garbage. 

One of the biggest benefits of a window well is that you get natural light in a place where you wouldn’t normally be able to. So the last thing you want is for that natural light to be swallowed up by things that have fallen into the window well. But beyond the aesthetics, too much stuff in the window well can make it hard for you to see what’s going on underneath. 

This lack of visibility could be hiding a major problem. It might also be a perfect place for mold and mildew to grow, which can end up causing other problems as well. It’s best to clean out the window wells on a regular basis to keep them as clear as possible. 

Pay Attention During Weather Changes

This cleaning out of basement window wells is especially important during seasons changing when the weather can be a bit more unpredictable. A change in season is also a great time to do an inspection of the whole system. 

If it begins to rain more, you have more opportunities to check for signs of water damage that could be coming from a damaged window well. This timeframe also gives you a schedule for maintenance which is very helpful in making sure that it actually gets done and isn’t forgotten. 

Fit Properly with Tight Seal 

Possibly the most important step of window well maintenance is the initial installation. When a window well doesn’t have a tight seal, it’s the perfect place for water to get into the window well and eventually into the home. 

Even if you’re satisfied with the installation of your window well, it’s important to check on the seal as it ages. The ground or the house can shift ever so slightly which can loosen the seal or even cause gaps. If you find a problem in the seal it will likely be enough to add some caulking to close the gap. 

But don’t hesitate to call a professional if there seems to be more gapping than you can fix on your own. 

Inspect Any Drainage System

Depending on where you live, what the climate is like, and the layout of your property you might have a drainage system attached to your window wells. This is very common in areas with heavy rainfall. 

If your window well has a drainage system, it’s crucial to inspect them to make sure it’s working how it’s supposed to. 

Drains can easily get clogged with dirt, leaves, or other debris causing a backup and excess water to stay in the window well. It won’t be long before that water finds a new place to go (hint: inside your basement!). So making sure all pathways are clear and pipes are intact will prevent several issues. 

Install a Covering 

In many situations, it’s a good idea to add some kind of covering onto your window wells to keep out anything you don’t want to fall down in there. 

A cover will prevent a lot of the leaves and plant debris that can fall in but, more importantly, it will keep out any animal that may fall in. If an animal falls in, there’s a high chance that some damage will be done to the window, surrounding house material, or the window well itself. Keeping them out eliminates those problems altogether. 

There are several different types of window well covers you can choose from to match your specific needs as well as the desired look you’re going for. And you won’t have to lose all of your natural light either! 

Replace Ground Covering 

After installation, most window wells will be filled with a gravel ground covering. The gravel serves many different purposes both increasing the functionality and the look of the window well.

Because it’s in the elements, a lot of times the gravel will begin to get mixed with excess dirt that blows in and sometimes can be completely taken over. It’s a good idea to replace the gravel altogether every once in a while. This will also give you the perfect opportunity to do a full inspection and locate any problems. 

New gravel also gives a fresh, clean look to your window wells that’s much more appealing. 

Best Maintenance Tips for a Window Well

It’s most homeowners’ worst nightmare to walk into your basement and discover there’s water where there shouldn’t be. There’s so much peace of mind and confidence that comes when you know you’re taking care of any potential vulnerabilities. 

Maintaining a window well doesn’t require much time or effort. But regularly checking in with the system to make sure it’s functioning properly will be a huge benefit down the road when you catch or prevent any problems before they become huge ones. Just being aware of what’s going on is the most important thing!

If you’re in need of some expert weatherproofing to keep your basement nice and dry for years to come, contact us today!