With the growing livable basement trend, window wells are serving more purposes than just holding back dirt. They are an escape route for your little ones or a beautiful view from the basement family room.
Manufacturers are coming out with more options than ever before to add beauty, safety and function to your basic window well without a whole lot of work to replace them.
Decorative window wells can be installed, renovated or added as a liner over your existing window well. Most decorative window well liners are molded to look and feel like real stone. They come in various shapes, materials and colors. Some decorative window well liners are landscape scenes to create window well art. Although liners are usually non-structural many models tout durability - never rusting, rotting or fading in the sun. Some of the more structural decorative window wells also come with built-in stairs and railings to also serve as egress windows.
Window wells come with more safety features. Window wells are now equipped with steps, ladders, and hand railings beyond the basic egress window code requirements. See Basement Egress Windows Article. They are also making window wells stronger to hold back aggressive backfill.
Many manufacturers also make window well covers to protect children or pets from falling into an open well. The window well covers need to be sturdy enough to not let children fall in but light enough for children to lift them to escape from the basement. Covers are often made of a polycarbonate or manufactured plastic. Some covers are made with metal (typically aluminum) framework and clear polycarbonate to let in natural light. Other window well cover models are made of steel grates. Window well covers can also come vented for air circulation and sloped for drainage.
Buck-less window systems are simplify the basement window installation process. Many models use the window frame as the stay-in-place buck with a snap-in window. There are several variations to the buck-less window system, but remember when the installation process is simplified it should result in lower labor costs for you as the consumer.
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