How to Use Window Wells to Prevent Water in the Basement


Without the proper drainage system, window wells do nothing to prevent water in the basement. In fact, without adequate drainage, they can actually hold water against your foundation and basement windows during a hard rain. Over time, this can cause structural damage to both the windows and the foundation of your home. Get the most from you window wells by installing an adequate drainage system while adding window well covers.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Pea gravel
  • Masonry mastic
  • Masonry bolts
  • Masonry flanges
  • Geotextile drainage fabric
  • Window well cover
  • Dig out the existing window well. Dig the well out from the back, remove all masonry fasteners and pull out the well.

  • Dig a hole for new wells. To install new wells, dig a hole 4 to 6 inches deeper than the well itself.

  • Back-fill the hole. Lay four to six inches of pea gravel in the bottom of the window well hole.

  • Top with Geotextile drainage fabric. Cut the fabric to fit on top of the pea gravel. The fabric helps prevent the gravel bed from clogging up with dirt and debris and is available at most major home improvement stores.

  • Cover the gravel bed with dirt up to the bottom of the window well.

  • Install the window well. Attach the well with masonry flanges and bolts to the foundation of your home. Cover the cracks with masonry mastic to seal.

  • Cover with window well covers. These removablel transparent covers allow light to get in while keeping dirt, debris and water out.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always check the window seal for leaks. Water will seep in through your basement windows if the seal is weak. If you find weak places in the seal, re-caulk them.
  • Avoid making the gravel bed to shallow. The gravel bed is what aids the drainage of water away from your basement windows. If it is too shallow, water will not drain adequately.

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  • Photo Credit soupirail 1 image by Nathalie P from
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