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The High and Dry Blog

Toronto’s structural clarity in a sea of confusion.

What is a Window Well?

In order to finish your basement, especially when preparing it for rent, there are certain codes that a building has to stand up to. Many of them for basements regard windows, window wells, and safe sizes for windows to be.

If you have a window at the basement level, it is most likely surrounded by a Window Well. These areas can be shaped in many ways, but traditionally are half circles with gravel at the bottom. Window wells keep debris and soil away from the windows so that they are still able to be opened.

Why Are Window Wells Important?

Window wells are critical for waterproofing in a basement. Without them, the likelihood of flooding and interior damage is increased significantly. Window wells provide a predesigned basin for precipitation and runoff to sit rather than seeping into your basement.

Drainage for window wells comes twofold. Either the window well has an exterior drain that redirects gathered liquid to another location, also known as a weeping tile. Interior drains will redirect the buildup to your sump pump, where it is removed from the foundation.

What if My Window Well is Flooding?

If your window well is flooding, there is likely a blockage in your drainage system. It’s advised that you take a look and see if there is enough visible debris buildup to remove the problem yourself. If the standing water has no apparent blockage it may be best to contact a professional to do the maintenance.

What If I Don’t Have Window Wells?

If you have below-grade basement window openings but don’t have window wells, your home may not be up to code. This can be a major detriment to your home’s value, and expose you to potential fines from the government unless fixed.

If your basement is finished or zoned for rental, you will need to have window wells as a safety measure. Window size specifications are for fire and emergency safety. The size of windows for this will expose your foundation to moisture without a window well installed.

There is a way to get window wells installed properly. GJ MacRae installs and maintains window wells. 

Reach out to us here to get a quote.