An egress well for a basement window helps brighten the dark space and provide a safe exit point. This feature can be made of landscape timbers, blocks, wood, plastic, or metal. All are great choices, and can even be painted on the inside. The corrugated metal window well is the most economical and simplest of installations. Read on to learn how to make one yourself.
Step 1 - Measure
When measuring, note that the well should be 3-inches beyond the window on both sides. It needs an 8-inch allowance below the window opening and 2-inches above the finish level. Allow the depth of the hole measurement to reflect space for drainage gravel to reside. That, along with any building code requirements, determines the size of window well kit you will need. The hole for the well should be approximately twice the size of the actual well. Use the strings and stakes to mark the area. Prefabricated corrugated egress wells come in a square or rounded design.
Step 2 - Dig the Hole
It is advisable to use a backhoe to dig the hole. Use one yourself or hire a professional to dig the hole.
Step 3 - Drainage
Once the hole has been dug, install a separate drainage runoff line or connect the drainage line to an existing drainage system. Cover the bottom of the hole with the drainage gravel at 6-inches deep. The gravel should go a few inches beyond the well window frame. Refer to local building code requirements on drainage.
Step 4 - Window Installation
The window should be installed and sealed according to manufacturer’s instructions. If the window or opening has been installed, skip this step and go to step 5.
Step 5 - Install the Window Well Kit
It is advisable to have two people lower the well kit into position. Follow the manufacturer’s directions. Once the well is placed in the hole, the flanges will be lined up within equal distance of both sides of the window. The kit will include gaskets and seals that need to be installed before attaching the well to the wall. After the well kit is installed, add approximate 5-inches of drainage gravel to the exterior lower rim.
Top off the interior drainage gravel to the recommended depth. If local building code inspection is required, have that done before back filling the outer rim of the well. Once the well has passed inspection, fill in the back area with dirt. Top off with drainage gravel or landscape the area.