Home>Discussions>DOORS & WINDOWS>Need basement window well ideas
3 posts / 0 new
Last post
Need basement window well ideas

I am designing a small home, in such I will using some below grade space as living space. I have decided to go with large (4'x4') windows 18" from ceiling (or below I-Joist). So I need to be at least 6' down. These will be used for needed natural light, egress, and fresh air.

At my local lumbar yard I have found a system called Well-Craft (I believe). They are 18" high 4 foot wide half circles made of plastic with molded in stairs. I cannot seem to find other competitors of this product, much less other ideas besides pouring concrete or using landscape retainers.

Anyone have any ideas or other manufaturers' names? I wish I was made of money, but I am not. I also will be building my home by myself... so though labor is cheap, if I could save time so I could work on other projects that would be great too!


Re: Need basement window well ideas

Use this search egress wells

Re: Need basement window well ideas

If you will be designing and building the home yourself, it may be more cost-effective to design one whole basement wall with its own entry door & windows that will open up (like a patio) to a sub-grade living quarters.

You could then install one egress basement window on an opposite wall, to meet the code of having 2 fire exits, and the codes of having a certain percentage of glass for the basement apt.

You should check with your local town hall as to how many windows, or square footage of glass they require for such a basement apt.

The outside grade (ground level) is usually not allowed to be more that 50% of the concrete/masonry foundation.

If one foundation wall is exposed, a percentage of all the wall exposures is calculated.

On newly-poured foundations, the wells for the windows and entry door are factored into the design of the concrete foundation.

Basement egress windows are not cheap, they must comply with a lot of local town codes.

The fire dept., believe it or not, has the say as to how wide they are, & rapid access by the fire dept. and rapid egress by the occupant must be easy in the event of a fire.

The town usually assumes someone will be sleeping there, so will designate even a living room as a "bedroom".

The person fleeing a fire has to be able to easily climb thru the egress window, out to the window well, then up & out of the window well to the yard.

This mandates certain heights that can't be exceeded.

Merle Henkenius has a good article on this topic.

Also Google "Basement egress windows" (with and without the quotes).


Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.