Are Window Wells Necessary for All Homes?

Are Window Wells Necessary for All Homes?

Quick answer: If you have a basement window that is entirely or partially below grade, you will need a window well to prevent leaking and help bring in light. If the basement window is in a habitable room, you will need a window well and a window conforming to IRC Building Code emergency egress requirements.

According to the most recent International Residential code: Basements, habitable attics, and every sleeping room shall have not less than one operable emergency escape and rescue opening. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, an emergency escape and rescue opening shall be required in each sleeping room. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way or to a yard or court that opens to a public way.

Suppose your basement room requires an emergency escape. In that case, there are certain minimums in terms of window well area and basement window size to qualify for the minimum opening area according to the IRC section R310.2. These minimum requirements may change depending on the state, and you can view your state’s information by clicking here.

Last updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Notice: Please verify with your local county building inspector to double-check your code requirements before starting a project. We try to keep this database up-to-date as best as possible but express no warranties on the accuracy of information. If you find a mistake or have any questions, please get in touch with кs or call 1-888-650-9355

We at Window Well Experts sell window wells, covers, and other high-quality accessories for your basement. More than forty years of experience have led us to believe that if you have a home with basement windows or vents, not installing a window well is a serious mistake. Window wells protect your home from rain, snow, ice, debris, intruders, and animals and provide your home with natural light, beautifying your property and giving you peace of mind. Even if a window well isn’t required by your local building codes or your homeowner’s insurance, you should consider it a necessity for your house.

Window Wells Save Money

Are window wells necessary for all homes? Obviously, homes without basements don’t need window wells, but if you do have an opening that extends below the ground, the consequences of not having a proper window well can be disastrous. Rain, snow and ice can cause flooding, damaging your windows, exterior walls and even the interior of your basement. The damage can be even worse if the ground surrounding your window caves in. Insects, rats and other vermin can use an unsecured window as a way to get into your home. Going without a window well to save a bit of money will do a lot more harm than good in the long run.

Egress Wells and the Law

While every home with a basement window or vent can benefit from a window well, there are many cases where a window well is not only highly recommended but legally required. If you have a finished basement, your local building codes require you to have an opening for emergency escape or rescue. For most homeowners, that exit takes the form of an egress window well, and Window Well Experts carries egress wells in various materials and sizes. Check with your local building inspector to find out the egress requirements in your area, then call us for a high-quality well that keeps your house up to code and your family safe. We’ve got all the accessories you need for your egress well, from galvanized steel ladders to quick-release locks that allow you to quickly remove your window well cover from the inside while still keeping your well protected from outside entry.

Window Well Quality

Of course, having a low-quality or damaged window well can be as bad as not having one at all. Shoddily constructed window wells tend to collapse, rust or shift, exposing your home to all the dangers a well is designed to protect. Are window wells necessary for all homes? Sure, but that’s not all you need. Without a window well cover, your well won’t protect your basement. An open window well is also a danger to your family and pets, who may step or fall in. If your window well cover can’t withstand the weight of an impact, that can be as bad as not having one. There’s a reason many homeowner’s insurance policies require window wells to be securely covered. Thankfully, Window Well Experts sells only high-quality products, from sturdy and rustproof galvanized steel and composite wells to Lexan (TM) polycarbonate covers that can withstand more than 400 pounds of pressure. If you need window wells — and unless you already have them, you almost definitely do — we’re the ones to call.

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