Window Well Covers

By HomeAdvisor

Updated October 21, 2016


If you have a bedroom or living space in your basement you’re required by law to install egress windows for easy escape in cases of emergency. Sometimes the lowest level of the house remains slightly above ground, making egress window installation a breeze, but more often than not you’ll have to make special alterations. Usually window wells are the answer: large holes made in the ground near the foundation to allow a person easy access to and from the window. However, this intentional opening around your foundation can also create some serious hazards. So as you address the interior of your basement, you’ll also want to consider how these changes affect your exterior as well. And often a window well cover is the all-around best solution to your problems.


Digging a large gap near your foundation wall seems like a bad idea. Even though it makes for easy egress, an uncovered well also acts as a collecting bowl for all kinds of natural trouble: rain, snow, leaves, twigs mulch, grass, and other debris. Excess rain and snow melt can cause flooding, mildew, or rot. Ice heaves create cracks in the foundation. Leaves and debris can clog drains and damage your storm windows. Therefore, a window well cover is a piece of plastic that fits snugly over the exterior opening, denying access to unwanted outdoor rubbish while still allowing egress from the inside.

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Wells around your house also creates additional hazards. Oftentimes they’re eyesores, so homeowners attempt to hide them behind bushes or other landscaping. It’s not a bad idea, but even when hidden, it doesn’t solve the fact that you have a gaping hole near your home. You’d be amazed what small kids and household pets can find, even when they’re not looking, and wells can be a serious danger to passing children and animals. Therefore, basement window well covers act as an extension of the ground and can hold up to several hundred pounds of weight to prevent accidental falls. Plus, they have traction to avoid slips and are often flush with ground to evade possible trips.


Egress windows are meant to allow easy escape from inside the house, but with their installation you’ve now created a possibility for exterior access as well. Since they’re at ground-level, egress window can be tempting to potential burglar or thieves. Therefore, many basement window well covers come with security features, such as easy-to-use locks that even children are able to use from the inside but are unreachable from the outside. Plus, since these holes can act as cozy dens or secluded nests for stray animals and insects, window well covers are a great way to guard against pest infestation.

Customized Window Well Cover

The exterior of every house is slightly different, which means that basement window well covers rarely come in the same exact size. Typically you can’t just go to the hardware store to pick one up. And if you do, these standardized models are often flimsy and don’t offer the proper sealed protection of customized pieces. If you have an oversized well, electrical obstacles, an attached escape ladder, extruding pipes, or if your window sits slightly above the opening, qualified contractors should be able to adapt the product to fit your needs.

So when contacting a service professional, make sure you give them the exact measurements so they can tailor the item to your exact specifications. Also, let them in on a few facts: Is it a metal or masonry unit? Is it round, square or rectangle? Do you want a flat or bubble design? Do you want an easy-to-clean black model? Slightly tinted plastic? Or maybe a transparent item in order to let in natural light? Once the contractor knows the specifics, they’ll not only be able to give you an accurate estimate, this important information also allows them to properly prepare for installation.

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  1. Bill, March 4:

    I would like to know how to determined what cellar window covers to get and how much to have them installed ?

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