Basement Window Wells: Safety, Natural Light and Ventilation
Basement window wells are perfect for allowing a little sunshine into the lower level of a home. Take these steps to ensure proper installation or preservation of an existing window well.
A basement window well can be a welcome source of light. Here's how to let in a little sunshine — and keep your basement secure and ventilated.
Window wells are made from a variety of materials, including metal, wood and concrete (concrete is the most durable). A new basement window well is most often a do-it-yourself home project with the most difficult part being the digging of the hole.
Marvin All Ultrex Casement Windows
Marvin's All Ultrex casement windows are available in custom sizes of 1/64" increments. The windows are made with Ultrex, a fiberglass product that's eight times as strong as vinyl. The windows have folding handles and use a single-handle multi-point sequential locking system for security. All Ultrex casement windows come with the option of ultra energy efficient LoE3-366 glass, which delivers a U-value and solar heat gain coefficient equal to or less than 0.30, thus qualifying for the energy efficiency tax credit. For more information, visit marvin.com.
Pella Architect Series Casement Windows
Pella Architect Series casement windows feature the Pella patented Integral Light Technology for the look of true divided light. The windows are available in wood exteriors as well as low-maintenance EnduraClad, an aluminum cladding that resists fading and chalking for years. Pella Architect Series windows are available with advanced low-E insulating glass with Argon. For more information, visit pella.com.
Hy-Lite Energy Star Awning Windows
Hy-Lite's Energy Star awning window combines the decorative sparkle of privacy windows with the energy efficiency of low-E windows. By using tinted acrylic blocks, these windows limit solar heat gain and help protect interiors from harmful UV rays. For more information, visit hy-lite.com.
Weather Shield Life Guard IG
These storm-resistant French Doors have extruded-aluminum exteriors and wood interiors, as well as thick door panels that provide the strength necessary to accommodate large, heavy pieces of glass. Laminated interlayers help the glass remain intact even if hit by windborne debris or sudden pressure equalization. For more information, visit weathershield.com.
Simonton Profinish Brickmould 600
Designed exclusively for use in newly built homes, energy efficient ProFinish Brickmould 600 windows combine the look of wood windows with the advantages of vinyl. Additionally, the windows feature low-E glass and an advanced spacer system that minimizes condensation and keeps the glass warmer. For more information, visit simonton.com.
The Select line offers low-maintenance extruded aluminum-clad or primed-wood exteriors and warm pine interiors. Available as casement, awning, double hung, and gliding windows; and center hinged, French in-swing, French out-swing, French sliding and traditional sliding patio doors, as well as pictures, bows and bays; complementary specialty shapes and sizes and transoms are available. For more information, visit crestlinewindows.com.
Pella ThermaStar Windows
Pella's ThermaStar windows feature maintenance-free vinyl frames with low-E insulating glass, which meet Energy Star requirements for every region of the United States. The vinyl frames are excellent insulators and never need painting, staining or refinishing. For more information, visit pella.com.
Weather Shield Life Guard IG 2
These insulated casement windows have no exposed fasteners and no snap-in jamb covers to help ensure the heavy-duty hardware will provide years of trouble-free service. The glass has a laminated interlayer designed to remain intact even if hit by windborne debris, as well as provide protection against an implosion that can result from impact fractures. For more information, visit weathershield.com.
Simonton StormBreaker Plus
These vinyl windows with impact-resistant glass have received Dade County (Fla.) approval for its double-hung, picture, geometric, casement, no-hinge casement and awning styles. The windows' triple-stepped, sloped sills are angled downward to force water away from the window; the vinyl construction provides excellent insulation. They have a tilt-in, lift-out sash for easy cleaning. KeepSafe Maximum laminated glass helps to provide protection from intruders as well as storms. For more information, visit simonton.com.
These double-hung tilt windows allow both sashes to tilt into the room for easy cleaning on both sides. The vinyl-clad wood windows feature a new design for high efficiency in coastal areas, and can be combined for dramatic picture windows, bay windows or other configurations. For more information, visit weathershield.com.
Marvin All Ultrex Awning Windows
Marvin's All Ultrex awning windows are made with Ultrex, a fiberglass product that's eight times as strong as vinyl. The windows resist dinging, scratching, warping, corrosion and fading, and they're available in six exterior colors -- including dark colors such as ebony. All Ultrex awning windows come with the option of ultra energy-efficient LoE3-366 glass, which delivers a U-value and solar heat gain coefficient equal to or less than 0.30, thus qualifying for the energy efficiency tax credit. For more information, visit marvin.com.
Weather Shield 2
Weather Shield's flagship line includes its casement, which open a full 90 degrees to provide maximum ventilation and easy cleaning. Featuring extruded aluminum exteriors and wood interiors, the windows can be combined in a wide variety of configurations. They are available with the optional Energy Sash, which increases energy efficiency. For more information, visit weathershield.com.
Crestline VinylCrest 200
The extruded dual-wall, multi-chambered frame reduces energy loss and sound transmission. It also has a stepped exterior profile and a sloped sill, as well as stiffeners in the check rails and fusion-welded corners to strengthen the unit. Available as single- and double-hung, glider, casement, awning, bow and bay, direct set picture, and specialty shaped windows, as well as narrow-stile and French wide-stile sliding patio doors. For more information, visit crestlinewindows.com.
Weather Shield Proshield
These vinyl-clad wood windows feature a new design for high efficiency in coastal areas. The casement window opens a full 90 degrees to provide maximum ventilation and easy cleaning. The wide range of sizes permits a custom look for almost any application. For more information, visit weathershield.com.
Pre-existing window wells require thorough maintenance to ensure outdoor dirt, debris and water do not enter the space. Take extra precaution by using a window well cover to protect your basement from water damage.
Basement windows can be an important egress system in the event of an emergency. But if you can get out, that means intruders can get in. Look for locking systems, from a simple window bar to a whole-home alarm, to protect your safety and security.
See also: Planning a Basement Remodel
- Subfloor Options for Basements
- Crawl Space Issues and Solutions
- Finishing Basement Walls
- Multifunctional Family Basement
- Heating Your Basement
- Best Bets for Basement Lighting