How Much Does It Cost to Install or Replace a Basement Window Well?

by Team HomeServe
Uncovered window well with escape ladder from basement bedroom  Safety

Most basements are located entirely underground and, as a result, are typically not lit very well. Adding a window to your basement can help add some natural light to your family's living space.

This May Also Interest You: How to Install or Replace a Window Well

If you’re looking to install a window in your basement, you’ll need to have a window well dug out first. The window well lets you view the outside world and brings much-needed air and natural light into your basement. Here's a look at everything you need to know about having a window well installed, including how much it costs.

Window Well Replacement Cost

Many factors affect the cost of a window well installation or replacement, including the type and size of the window and the material used for the window well cover.

According to data from LawnStarter, employing a professional to cut open your basement wall and dig a window well costs between $405 and $1,490 (CAD 550 and CAD 2,045), excluding the cost of a new window. The exact cost varies depending on the complexity of the project. Installing a new window well cover will add between $270 and $1,105 (CAD 370 and CAD 1,515) to the cost.

Window well replacement is likely to be slightly cheaper; Bob Vila says redigging a window well costs between $50 and $200 (CAD 70 and CAD 275) per cubic yard. You should also consider replacing your window well cover at the same time. You may need a window well replacement if your window well has been damaged, and the cost depends on the severity of the damage.

What Is the Purpose of a Window Well?

A window well is a dug-out hole by the side of your home that lets you install a window in your basement. The term can also describe something that acts as a wall and stops the earth from falling in towards the basement. Window well covers are available in a variety of materials, including plastic, metal or wood. The best options are typically metal or plastic window wells, as these are visually appealing and durable. Installing a window well allows natural light to enter the basement, which means it can be used as extra living space or even as a spare bedroom, depending on your local zoning laws.

Window wells that haven’t been installed correctly are prone to deteriorate due to the elements. Wood window wells are attractive but are more likely to rot with age. Harsh weather conditions, drainage problems and people walking on them can all contribute to window well collapse. If you’re planning to make your own window well, it’s crucial to ensure that it's installed correctly.

Window well replacement may be necessary for windows that have been affected by the build-up of soil or by insufficient drainage. If the earth is left to build up around your window, you may be more at risk of termite infestation and other issues.

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How Deep Should Window Wells Be?

When installing a window in your basement, you may be required by local law to have an egress window. Egress windows are large enough for a person to climb out of in case of emergency. You may also opt to attach a ladder or steps to your window to allow easy escape out of the window well.

It's a good idea to check with your local zoning laws to determine if an egress window is required. You may also have to obtain certain permits for this type of construction. Check with your town or city officials to determine the best course of action.

The size of the window determines the depth of your window well. In general, it's recommended that the window well is at least 6 inches wider than the window and 8 inches taller. This helps ensure that the window well can encompass the exterior of the window.

Do Window Wells Need Drains?

Window wells have drains that are dug using an auger. The auger creates vertical holes, which hold the drain tubes and cap in place. Gravel is then placed at the bottom of the window well to fill the space between the walls and the drainage tubes. Using gravel at the bottom of the window well is beneficial as it helps to hold the drain securely in place and also provides improved drainage.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.