Defending Against the Cold: How to cover a basement window well for the best winter protection

Defending against the cold - article
Birds on window well cover with snow

Homeowners often worry about covering basement window wells to protect their homes during bad weather. It’s important to keep your home safe during the worst times of the year.

Choosing products for the home can be difficult. People want items that work well, look nice, and are worth the money. These factors are important when deciding what to buy for both inside and outside the house. People often use these criteria, either knowingly or unknowingly, to make purchasing decisions.

Homeowners who have window wells face a unique challenge. They need to keep these areas free of snow, ice, and animals seeking shelter during the winter. Apart from the benefits of keeping the window well clean and keeping water out of the well, there are the benefits listed below.

The best basement window well covers will:

  • Keep snow and ice out of your well. Even an expanded mesh metal grate will help prevent this to some extent. These small openings can be “clogged” by ice and snow, keeping the frozen precipitation out.
  • In more lovely weather, a metal grate will provide 24/7 ventilation to your basement areas. This is an amazing benefit for nine months of the year.
  • For the winter months consider adding a Top Cover to your mesh grate. It has a snap-on/snap-off attachment system that makes covering your basement window well easy for the coldest weather of the year. It keeps out monsoon rains as well as heavy snow.
  • A steel bar grate that has wide gaps between the bars will need more assistance keeping the well clear – like a custom-made Top Cover for the existing grate. These clear covers will keep moisture and debris out of the well, and they are easily “snapped off” for easy ventilation in warmer weather. These Top Covers are made of the same material as our Sloped or Flat Window Well Covers. We use high-quality UV-treated plastic that won’t turn yellow, crack, or shatter with impact.
  • Our Polycarbonate Covers do provide some thermal protection. Many old basement windows are single-pane, and conduct cold very easily. The best window well covers will keep the snow and ice away from the basement windows. This prevents the cold from conducting through the glass keeping the basement noticeably warmer.
  • Sloped or Flat Window Well Covers are the most common way to keep your window wells snow and ice-free. These covers will protect your home with 400 pounds of static weight load protection, as well as keep your wells dry the rest of the year.
  • Atrium Window Well Covers do an amazing job of keeping your well free from snow. The extra height will allow a crank-out window to open easily for escape – no snow to interfere with the window, and the cover is custom-made to allow for emergency egress.
  • Super Slant covers are the best window well covers we make. This new product introduction includes all the features that are extra-cost options on our other covers. Options include mesh or solid UV-treated polycarbonate sides, a hinged top for easy access, and cover locks for security.
  • Egress window well exits will stay clear through the cold weather season with a cover. This is by far one of the most important reasons of them all for the family’s safety. Many egress windows crank out into the window well, and if the well is full of ice and snow, no escape is possible.
  • Having a basement window well cover helps prevent snow and ice from melting and leaking into the basement during spring. This ensures that the basement stays dry and free from debris in the window wells.

Get a product that does the job.

First things first. For big decisions, a short list will help determine what type of product will suit your needs: 

  • Is the “biggest, baddest” newest solution needed? 
  • Is this a one-time need for a small job or will a long-term or permanent solution be necessary?
  • Is there a local supplier for the product, or is an online business needed?
  • What is the approximate budget for this solution?

A cover for a window well can be made from various materials. These materials include a fence piece, plywood chunk, window, or a DIY mix of these items. But it won’t protect the home as completely as a thoughtfully designed custom-made window well cover.

These “covers” may block all available light, will not adequately support the weight of a person if someone walks across it, causing injury, or the “window well cover” will have big holes in it that debris will fall through. And it will not have a pleasing appearance.

For example, a furnace’s appearance isn’t as important as its function and efficiency, so this may not be a factor for everything purchased. 

Atrium window well cover with snow

But for things that are always visible, remember that saving a few dollars on something that is not as appealing may backfire. 

  • People of a certain age will remember Harvest Gold or Avocado colored kitchen appliances. Keep in mind fad colors on long-lived appliances may not be the best choice. Rumor has it that there are still Harvest Gold refrigerators in garages throughout the country that are still outperforming newer models!
  • The best basement window well covers will have a pleasing appearance as well as being functional. A low-profile cover will blend into the background and let the landscaping take center stage. A sleek design of a custom dome-type window well cover will function to cover the window that is above the lip of the well without being a one-size-fits-none bubble that is off the shelf from a home center.

A good return on investment.

A good return on investment is another crucial consideration when exploring how to cover window wells for winter. This is where money, time, and effort are saved. Spending a few more dollars for an upgrade is often well worth the money. 

For example, it is important to get a better dishwasher model with more features and sound insulation for small or open-concept homes. Noise can easily travel in these types of homes. Upgrading from a basic model can significantly reduce noise levels in your home. 

With basement window well covers there are many choices:

  • The “Good” choice may be a DIY cover that barely does the job.  
  • The “Better” choice from a home center will possibly have more durability, but will still not last for countless years.  
  • The “Best” choice will be made from the best materials, be designed to fit, and have a lifetime warranty. 
  • The first two choices are not ideal. How often will those covers have to be replaced?
    • Consider what replacing those covers multiple times over a few years will cost. Wouldn’t it make more sense to purchase the “Best” cover first rather than make that decision a few years down the road after replacing a few of the cheaper covers? Also, consider the time needed to clean up after the DIY and flimsy covers.

By selecting the best basement window well covers, you not only keep snow, ice, and debris out of your well but also maintain a warmer basement and ensure the safety of egress window exits. 

When considering which cover to invest in, prioritize functionality, pleasing appearance, and return on investment. Opting for quality covers from trusted suppliers may initially seem like a larger investment, but in the long run, it saves you both time and money by providing durable products, protection for the property, and peace of mind. If you have any questions or need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us for guidance tailored to your unique needs.

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