“Doing it yourself” certainly offers numerous advantages for many small home improvement projects, such as painting or refinishing furniture, which can be both cost-effective and personally satisfying. However, when it comes to certain tasks like crafting DIY window well covers, the Custom vs DIY Window Well Cover debate takes a different turn.
10 Reasons why you shouldn’t DIY your window well cover
1. Safety: Custom covers are designed by professionals to prevent accidents. The photo above is an example of that — an old glass window with a rotting frame is more of a hazard to everyone on the property than no cover at all. The “cover” is a trip hazard, does not fit the window well at all, and if someone were to fall on it, the probability of getting hurt from the fall and from broken glass is nearly 100%.
2. Durability: Durability is a vital consideration when comparing the benefits of a Custom vs DIY Window well cover. Most commercially available window well covers are designed to handle specific weight limits and may possibly have a longer lifespan than your homemade cover, depending on the materials used. Also keep in mind that materials should be light enough to allow for emergency escape for egress sized wells.
Custom Window Well Covers
Atrium Dome Window Well Covers
3. Ventilation: When you choose a custom cover, many ventilation options are available that also take into consideration safety and airflow.
The photo shows an improvised cover with a couple of code violations and other concerns. One is that the fence section is likely too heavy to move out of the way, and the other is it will NOT let that crank-out window open in case of an emergency.
A dome type cover will keep water out, prevent falls, and can even provide ventilation. This cover is a big trip hazard, will not keep animals out of the well, and if it is walked on, a person’s foot going between the bars is very likely. They did get one thing right–there is lots of air circulation to prevent water condensation!
4. Drainage: For most homeowners, having water infiltrate into their basement is a huge problem. Not only is there the immediate issue of ruined walls, flooring and household appliances, there can be health concerns of mold and mildew that will cause or exacerbate chronic health issues to members of the household. DIY covers often don’t have the ability to keep out moisture effectively long term. Covers with a slope built into them will help prevent water issues.
5. Security and accessories: Professional fabricators have options for locks that will still be egress code compliant. The benefits of custom window well covers extend beyond just functionality and safety. These professionally designed covers also provide enhanced security features, ensuring that your basement windows remain secure while still complying with egress codes. Additionally, they offer a range of accessories such as well-placed hinges for convenient access, escape hatches for added safety, and a variety of color options to seamlessly blend with your home’s aesthetics. These extra perks make custom covers an even more attractive choice for homeowners seeking both functionality and style.
Hinges for Window Well Covers
Escape Hatches for Covers
6. Egress code compliance: For homeowners that have egress wells, this window well cover must operate with no special knowledge or tools, and be light enough to push out of the way for easy emergency escape. Professional window well cover producers have this in mind when designing and manufacturing their products. When it comes to DIY window well covers, achieving the delicate balance between adherence to egress code requirements and effective design can be challenging for the average homeowner.
7. Appearance: Having a custom-designed window well cover has a sleek appearance that does not call attention to itself, but lets the home and landscaping take the spotlight. Inside the home, a good cover will allow the maximum amount of light to shine in.
8. Maintenance: Most professionally designed covers have your home maintenance in mind. Metal Grates only need the debris brushed off them as it accumulates. Polycarbonate covers just need to be hosed off to remove dust and grit.
9. Expert advice: A window well cover company that makes custom covers will have representatives that know their product and can guide you through the options. They will take into consideration the construction of the well, the window type, and the problems that need to be solved.
10. Last but not least: Think of convenience and time savings. No, a custom window well cover cannot be produced in a weekend. But why spend a weekend making a window well cover when you could be doing something fun? Consider what your time is worth, and what it would cost to source the materials and make the cover. Will it be attractive or an eyesore? How durable are the materials? These are all important factors to ponder when evaluating the benefits of custom window well covers.
Investing your valuable time in other enjoyable activities while leaving the meticulous craftsmanship of a custom cover to professionals can be a wise choice. In return, you’ll not only have a cover that blends seamlessly with your home’s aesthetics but also one that’s built to withstand the test of time, saving you both effort and potential headaches down the road.
Are custom window well covers worth it?
The decision between a custom vs. DIY window well cover ultimately boils down to value and long-term benefits. A custom window well cover that checks off all the boxes is a great investment. It is likely that once it is installed, it won’t need much if any maintenance vs. a DIY project, saving the homeowner time and money. Both the interior and exterior of the home is improved by a well fitting window well cover.