If You Like It, Put a Lid On It

Posted on October 17, 2012 | in Thoughts | by

An egress well cover or grate is a smart investment for your basement window well.

Egress window wells are an essential for your basement. Not only are they legally required by building code; but they’re a vital safety feature that could help people escape from the basement in the event of an emergency.

But adding basement windows requires a few adjustments around the rest of the house, too – especially in the yard or garden.

John Symon, a customer from Bethlahem, Pa., explained a couple of issues he ran into:

“I finished my basement last year,” he emailed to tell us, “and couldn’t be happier. I added an egress window to meet national building code and it added a lot of natural light to my basement.”

But a few months after digging out and installing the window well, he got an unexpected visitor.

“One morning, I was enjoying my coffee in the kitchen when I heard a ruckus downstairs.” Running around to the back of the house, John immediately spotted the problem: “It was a bear!”

Apparently a small black bear cub, separated from its mother, had stumbled into the window well that night – and despite the molded ladder, couldn’t get out again.

“The poor thing was terrified!” John explained. “And so was I. I kept thinking its mommy was going to turn up at any second – and she’d have been mad.”

Animal control was on hand to fish the frightened bear out and return it to the wild – but the adventure highlighted a problem John hadn’t thought of when he’d first installed the well:

“Having that big hole open on the side of my house was going to be a problem.”

Fortunately, there are a variety of solutions available. Well covers and grates are an affordable solution and are available to suit almost installed window well.

  • Polycarbonate covers: Tough and durable, these covers combine the lightweight construction of a plastic cover with the weight-bearing properties of a metal grill – supporting up to 500lbs. The major advantage of these covers is that they’re light enough for even children to lift up from underneath – which is important when trying to escape. They are also clear, which allows natural light to filter through. The major advantage of a cover is that they insulate from cold air; helping prevent heat-loss from basement windows.Polycarbonate egress well covers can protect your well from debris, rain, snow, even wild animals from falling in.
  • Metal grates: Made from aluminum or powder-coated steel, grates cover window wells are a “grate” choice in high traffic areas – strong enough to support when a car tire or mower accidently rolls over them. Unlike solid covers, they allow snow and rain to fall into the window well; which can help keep them visible during inclement weather and allow sunlight to filter through. Although heavier than polycarbonate covers, the bars are easy to grip, making them versatile and easy to open.Metal Egress Well Grate

While covers are not required by building code, any covers or grates you do install are required to be code-compliant. All the covers available on EgressWindows.com meet code standards; and are also designed to perfectly match items from our range of window wells. This makes installation easy.


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About Me

Hi, I'm Jeff. I will be using this space to share my thoughts and opinions that I have accumulated over many years in the building industry. My hope is to also teach and inspire.

This will also be a location for important industry news and product information. Featured items and sales can also be found here. Subscribe, or check back often to keep up to date on what is happening in the world of Egress Windows.

I welcome comments on any of the posts and I would love to get suggestions from you for topics you would like to learn about in upcoming posts.

Jeff Ommundsen
(229) 234-7377
President of Shop Egress Windows, Inc.