Do you often feel drafts in your basement? Is it the one place in your home you avoid hanging out in because it’s always colder than the rest of your house? If this sounds like you, window well covers could be exactly what you need. In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of these covers as well as how to go about installing them.
What are window well covers?
A window well is the space that’s dug out next to the exterior of a basement window. Typically, this dug-out space is surrounded by a barrier made from metal or plastic that makes the shape of a “U.” This barrier is what we call the “cover” for the window well. While covers are commonly made from metal or plastic, it’s become increasingly common to have rocks or gravel along their base.
Are basement window well covers necessary?
Unlike the windows on any other level of a property, basement windows fall either at or below ground level. This means that they deteriorate much more rapidly than higher-placed windows. So, if you’re asking yourself, “Are window well covers necessary?” the answer is a resounding “Yes.” After all, no one wants to walk downstairs to a cold, flooded basement.
Do window well covers keep water out?
When installed correctly, covering window wells does an airtight job of protecting your basement windows from harsh weather, like storms and heavy rains. These types of covers encompass the entirety of the window and are made to be leak-proof.
Plus, covering your basement window wells plays a key role in draining excess water runoff away from your home’s foundation. In turn, this prevents rainwater from seeping into your basement through the window frame.
Using window well rocks
You can supplement your window covering with rocks to boost its water-draining abilities. Adding window well drainage stones block moisture from leaking into your foundation. Also, try laying a few inches of gravel for window wells along the bottom to discourage water pooling near the window frame. The gravel will enable water to seep into the dirt.
In addition to its drainage powers, rocks at the base of a window well are also aesthetically pleasing. Choose gravel or stone that complements the color and style of your window’s exterior so it goes with your home’s overall look.
Are there other benefits to covering window wells?
As if avoiding the stress and chaos of dealing with an unexpected basement flood isn’t enough of a perk, these window covers do more than keep water out of your home.
Window covers aid in keeping drafts out of your basement, which improves insulation. So, they help you save money on your utility bill by supporting your home in energy conservation.
Additionally, covering your window wells shields your basement from the sun’s harsh UV rays. But, some natural light will still be able to shine inside. This means that your basement will look brighter and more spacious.
How to install window well covers
Before you pull up the Youtube videos and DIY guides on how to install basement window covers, you must know the type of cover you need. The last thing you want is to spend time and effort installing a cover to find out that it doesn’t properly fit your window. In this case, you’d have to take it all apart and go back to the drawing board.
So, how can you ensure you choose the right cover for your window wells? Let’s go over how to figure out what type of cover you need.
Know your type
The type of window well covering you need depends on the shape of your window, as well as your preference. Whether you have round or square window well covers, you should make sure the cover you choose is slightly larger than your window well.
In regards to your personal taste, you may opt for metal vs plastic material for the cover. Likewise, you might decide to add gravel or stones along the bottom of the well.
Get out the old measuring tape
Once you know the type of coverage you need, you’ll need to learn how to measure window well covers. While this is one of the easier steps to installing window covers, it’s also the most critical one. This is because getting the right measurements will affect the entire installation process. So, make sure to measure carefully and double-check (or triple-check!) your measurements.
To take proper measurements, align the cover over the window well so it’s centered. Make sure that the edges of the window well support every side of the cover. Once you’re confident in the placement of the cover and have secured its position, measure each side of it four to six inches from the edge that hits against your house. Then, mark those spots with painter’s tape.
Mark the tape
After your tape is in place, grab a permanent marker to mark the tape where the edge of the covering connects to the edge of the window well. It’s important to note that if your well cover calls for more than two clips, you’ll need to make additional measurements and mark them at the front of the window well too.
Drill the points you marked
After you’ve made all of the marks, slide the cover off so you can drill holes in the spots you marked. The holes you drill are where you’ll install the clips. Before you begin to drill, lay a 2 by 4 scrap piece of wood underneath the area of the cover to prevent damage. Then, drill holes slightly bigger than the diameter of each screw that came with the well cover so everything fits together snugly and comfortably.
Also, this isn’t a job you want to get done with your favorite worn-out drill bit from 1997. Older drill bits run the risk of damaging or completely breaking the window cover.
Clip it all into place
Once you’ve drilled holes, you’re ready to start installing the cover clips. Make sure to fasten the clips tightly to the covering so the prongs can effectively hold on to the edges. If the clips aren’t fastened tight enough to grab onto the well, the cover won’t be able to provide sufficient protection for your window well. This is why the best window well covers have clips that are firmly secured.
Test it out
Just as you wouldn’t want to buy a car without taking it for a test drive, you don’t want to walk away from your installation without testing the window cover. So, don’t forget to do a thorough inspection of the cover after you install it. You should be on the lookout for warping, buckling, or bending in the clips or the cover itself.
If you do see any of these signs, it means that your cover isn’t fitting correctly. As a result, it won’t be able to provide sufficient support in keeping water and drafts out of your basement or shielding your basement from the sun’s harsh UV rays.
You don’t have to do the installation by yourself
No matter how crafty of a DIY’er you are, installing a cover for your basement window well is no easy task. If you do choose to construct a cover yourself rather than purchasing a commercial one, you risk having a cover that won’t be sustainable or provide effective means of protection.
Likewise, keep in mind that making a well cover for your next DIY project comes without a warranty. But, leaning on a pro to do the installation ensures that you’ll be protected with a warranty should something break in the future.
Your reliable window partner
When you work with a Climate Seal expert, you can trust that you’ll get window well covers that effectively shield your home from the elements. Get in touch with us today to get the best covers for your window wells, so you can have a basement that’s comfortable to hang out in.