View Full Version : Basement window repair/replacement

08-18-2008, 04:38 PM
I have a dilemma, and need some advice. I have a bi-level home with full size basement windows (4x4). They are wood windows, and the sills are in bad condition due to moisture. They are in a concrete foundation. The grade on the home has sunken and needs to come up 3-5 inches where the windows are. When that happens, the sills will be covered by 2 inches of dirt. I know that can't happen.
My questions: I believe I may have two choices here. I can replace the windows with vinyl and add a well to each ($$$$!), or could I put in a smaller window (not so high so it would be above the grade)? If I change the size of the window, (they would still be at least the size of a regular basement window), how do I fill in the hole where the concrete was? Am I right to think it might be cheaper to replace with smaller windows (no wells)?
Help and advice would be much appreciated!!!!

08-18-2008, 07:55 PM
It would not be wise to try to use a smaller window and then add concrete to the bottom, you will seldom ever get a water tight seal.
It would be much cheaper to replace the windows with vinyl and then add the window well.
The well wall can be bought for around $20 and all you need to do is dig it in make the top a little above your "NEW" grade and add rock to the bottom to bring the bottom of the well up to what ever height you like under the window. If you find that rain gets in, then simply buy a clear window well cover for around $10.

08-18-2008, 08:09 PM
Thanks for the reply!
How deep does the well have to be, and how far away from the window? It's a pretty protected area of the house. The windows face north, and in the summer most of the rain hits the windows on the other side of the house. We do get a fair bit of snow in the winter, but if we covered it, would it be okay?
Is it possible to build a well out of Allen blocks? We have a bunch of extras.

08-18-2008, 09:40 PM
You can buy wells ranging in size from 6" right up to 24" and then you can stack some models to increase the depth.

You can make the well from any retaining material, the goal is to simply stop dirt from backfilling against you window (with dirt comes the water problems). Always dig and start building your well, below the windows base, this allows for some give and take in huge downpours of rain should it get water in it. That's why I suggested a good couple of inches below the window base and a rock covering. I myself always have them 6" lower than the window and then 4" of rock/drainage gravel/decorative rock.

You can cover your well with a clear plastic cover in winter (or permanently). I'd avoid covering it with anything but clear plastic as you have a window so you want the light in to your basement.

Make sure though that if your building your well wall with the leftover "Allen blocks" then you will have to build it to the size that suits your clear cover.