Are your window wells filling up with water when it rains and flooding your basement? Are you tired of cleaning leaves and debris from your window wells? Then it might be time to cover them up!
If you are planning on covering your basement window wells, here are some ideas that will help. From DIY projects to prefabricated covers (with a little bit of safety considerations thrown in for good measure) check out our 14 Basement Well Cover Ideas.
Perhaps you are planning on covering your window wells due to water collecting in them which can potentially flood your basement. While covering your window wells can alleviate this issue, you’ll also want to address any drainage issues. Are leaves clogging the drain pipe in your window well? Is the soil around the window well graded properly for runoff? Check out this article for a simple drainage fix for your window wells.
Something else you’ll want to consider is if your basement window is simply for ventilation or is an Egress window. Egress windows are essential if your plans include turning all or part of your basement into a living space; especially if you have no other direct access to the outdoors from your basement. Any covers you include over an egress window well must be easily removable from the inside for safety considerations.
Water is not the only safety concern when it comes to window wells. Window well covers also protect from intruders (both animal and human) as well as leaves and debris. More importantly, they keep children and adults from accidentally falling into the window well. Prefabricated flat window well covers can be purchased in all shapes and sizes. Once installed, they will keep your wells protected from the elements and are sturdy enough to stand on.
If you are handy, there are all sorts of DIY basement window well covers that will protect your wells as well as a prefabricated cover. In this video, the owner uses ¾ Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT) and greenhouse roofing to construct a window well cover very similar to the flat prefabricated models. If you already own or can borrow an EMT bender, this is a relatively inexpensive way to cover your window wells.
An even simpler and less expensive DIY project is to build a wooden frame with a screen. While this method will not keep out water and is not as secure as a prefabricated well cover, it will keep leaves and debris away from your window wells. Furthermore, the wood can be painted to match your house or surrounding fencing, making the design aesthetically pleasing.
As well as flat designs, there are also prefabricated bubble covers for window wells. As with the flat covers, these come in many shapes and designs and can be purchased to fit almost any window well. These bubbles are made of durable polycarbonate and allow for head clearance inside the window well. Since they are clear, they allow for a lot of sunlight to enter through the window.
While not the same shape as prefabricated bubble covers, egress window well covers can also be built with the same head clearance that bubble covers provide. Here, the owner has created an egress window well cover out of wood and plexiglass. The use of plexiglass allows sunlight to enter through the basement window, providing the same amount of natural light as a bubble cover.
If your egress window is lower in the ground, here is a great DIY window well cover that might fit your needs. Made with with a simple wood frame, corrugated plexiglass roofing, and plexiglass sides, it will also allow a lot of light to enter the basement window. The swinging lid can be easily lifted in case of emergency.
Another product that can be purchased to cover window wells is Adjust-A-Grate. These are prefabricated aluminum grates that can be adjusted to fit over any window well. As with the other prefabricated items, this product comes with installation instructions. While grating does not prevent water and other elements from entering the well, they are great at protecting against intruders and accidental falls into the window well.
Aside from falls, there are other safety issues to consider with window well covers. If your concern is intruders entering from a basement window, some of the prefabricated options come with locking kits. These kits are designed to keep intruders out but have a simple release on the inside to allow quick exit from your basement in case of emergency.
Of course, not all basement windows are egress windows. Some are simply for ventilation. The window wells for these are typically a lot smaller than the wells for egress windows. Of course, there are as many prefabricated options to cover these wells as with larger wells. If you want to build your own covers for these smaller wells, there are just as many inexpensive DIY projects available to you.
There are many companies that will make custom grates for your window wells. As mentioned before, grates will not keep water from entering your well, but depending on the size of the grating, it can keep out animals and debris. A bonus with custom grates is that they can be designed to lie flush with the ground, or a wooden deck if your deck is built over a window well.
Speaking of decks, there are also safety considerations if you are building a deck that will cover an egress window. Either the deck will need to be high enough for people to escape under it or will need a hatch for people to climb through to the top. The codes for building a deck over an egress window vary in different areas but this article is a great start.
Of course, you always have the option to go without a cover for your basement window wells. Open window wells can add visual appeal to your basement window both outside and in. Properly designed window wells will drain adequately, and with a raised lip, will be easily seen to avoid accidents. If terraced, they can also be an effective emergency exit.
So, there you have it, our 14 Basement Window Well Cover Ideas. Whether you are looking to cover a small well for a ventilation window, or a large well for an egress window, we hope these ideas have given you a jumping off point.
If you decide to go with a DIY project or with something prefabricated, remember your safety considerations, and you can surely find the best way to cover your basement window wells.
What do you think? Any ideas we left out? Feel free to leave a comment below!