When you’re adding an egress window well to your finished basement, make sure you take the water table into consideration.
Water can make or break a basement refurbishment, as any homeowner will tell you – and adding a means of egress can play an important part in that.
Sump pumps and drainage can help prevent basement flooding; but heavy rain and storms can still have devastating consequences if you don’t take precautions.
So when you’re considering adding an egress well to your finished basement, make sure you give some thought to how that might impact the way water moves around your home. For example, if your house is on a slope, make sure you install the well on the lower side – so water will drain away from it. Otherwise it could end up filling up with water just like a real well.
You should also consider how the area surrounding your window well might affect the movement of water. We recommend using pea gravel as backfill on most window wells (all of them except the Rockwell Premier and Elite Egress Wells) not just for the support, but also because of the superior drainage it allows.
One element that’s often overlooked is roof drainage – we’ve even heard they story of one customer who installed his new window well so close to the existing drainpipes that they drained directly into his well instead of around it!
If you can, make sure your guttering and roof drainage flows away from your wells (and, if you haven’t considered this already, always towards the lower side of your home.)
On the bright side, if they’re installed properly, egress window wells could actually help reduce the risk of a flooded basement; and certainly won’t make any existing problem worse. What’s more, the safety advantages they provide end up being more than worth the time spent planning where to put them.
In fact, while most people only think of egress windows as protection against being trapped in a fire, they’ve also saved lives for those trapped in other types of disasters; including flooding.
When storms hit Scranton, Pennsylvania in 2010, for example, one family was actually trapped inside their basement when the interior stairs collapsed. If they hadn’t been able to escape through their egress well, they most likely would have drowned in the subsequent flooding.
So water flow and the risk of flooding shouldn’t make you hesitate about installing egress window wells. In fact, quite the opposite: They could end up being one of the smartest home improvement investments you can make.