How to Build an Egress Well Cover

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Egress windows are large windows that, as the name suggests, you can exit from if the need arises. When installed in a sunken basement wall, an egress window will exit into a window well. The well, in turn, leads up to the yard, and anyone leaving by the egress should be easily able to climb out. However, while an egress window and well are great for safely escaping your home, it's also a good safety precaution to put a cap on top of your well to keep out debris and stop people from accidentally falling into the well.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Metal grate
  • Hacksaw
  • Plexiglass sheet or fine wire mesh
  • Screws
  • Construction adhesive
  • Hinge
  • Drill driver
  • Measure the top of the egress window well. Make a small drawing of the well, noting the measurements on it. Make your cap at least one inch larger on three sides of the well so it covers the well entirely.

  • Lay out your grate. The grate acts as the basic cap over your well. If the grate isn't sized for your well, cut it to size with a hacksaw. For additional protection, and to keep leaves and debris from falling into your well, you can glue a piece of plexiglass over the top of the grate, or wrap the grate in fine mesh.

  • Place the grate over the top of the egress well and check for gaps. Once the grate is in place, attach a hinge to the well wall and the grate. The hinge, or multiple hinges if you want to add additional strength, must allow the grate to be pushed up so a person can climb out of the well.

  • Exit through the egress window. Oil the hinges for ease of use.

Tips & Warnings

  • For ease of opening and closing, add a pull ring to the top of the grate so you can pull it open. Keep a stick or other tool in the well to help you push the grate open from inside the well.
  • Test your egress grate regularly to be sure it works. One test a month will be enough to catch problems before they get serious.

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