A window well

When Is a Basement Window Well Necessary?

Are you wondering whether you need a window well outside your basement window? Basement window wells are invariably a wise choice — and are often a legal requirement. Keep reading to learn why they’re so important and when you’re absolutely required to have one.

What is a window well?

To put it simply, a window well is a structure that sections off a small space around the outside of a basement window. It should be connected to your property’s drainage system, so the rainwater it collects, drains safely away.


What’s the purpose of a window well?

A window well serves a number of important functions. Here are the essential ones:

  • It protects your home from flooding by collecting and draining away rainwater that otherwise might accumulate and seep through the basement window. 
  • It can allow your basement window to serve as an emergency exit as well as an entry point for emergency personnel.
  • It allows a greater amount of light to enter into the basement.

When is a window well necessary?

The Ontario Building Code requires you to have a window well if the bottom of your basement window is at or below ground level.

Note also that if there is a bedroom in your basement, you are required to have an egress window on the basement level (unless you already have an exit door on the basement level). An egress window is a window that is sized to permit escape in the event of an emergency.


What are the requirements for a window well?

According to the Ontario Building Code, a window well needs to meet the following requirements:
  • The clearance between the window and the end of the well needs to be at least 22 inches.
  • If the window well has a cover, it needs to open up easily from the inside.
  • The window well must drain water towards the home’s perimeter footing drainage system or another suitable location.
  • The window opening must also meet certain size and position requirements that can vary by municipality.

Why is high quality window well installation important?

If you didn’t already know it, you do now: window wells for basement windows are hugely important. They’re a bulwark against a wet basement and flooding and an important safety measure to boot. But to do their job, they need to be of sound quality and well installed. If the well is improperly sized or isn’t fitted right against the house, dirt can enter into the well and block its drain.


Choose DryBasements.com Ltd for window well installation!

For a window well installation in London, Waterloo or a surrounding part of Ontario, turn to the team at DryBasements.com Ltd.. You can count on us for quality work at a fair price. Call us today for more information or click here to request a free estimate.

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