How To Waterproof Basement Windows [Seal Wells & Covers]

Are you dealing with a leaking basement window below grade?

Here is a practical guide to waterproofing a basement window.

How To Seal A Leaking Basement Window

Imagine what a basement would be like without widows – Dark and gloomy!

With a window in your basement, you will create the much-needed space for some fresh air and sunlight to come in. These two elements will make your basement more habitable.

Unfortunately, the window can be an entry point for water, which can soak up the basement and compromise the structure. This is where basement sealing and waterproofing come in.

In this article, we’ll be discussing how to seal and waterproof basement windows, so stay with us!

Why Do Basement Windows Leak?

Before we get into how you can seal your basement windows, let us first identify the reasons why they leak in the first place.

One of the major reasons why leaks occur is a shift in the bottom soil around the foundation of your home. This is a natural phenomenon, so there isn’t much we can do about it.

During such ground movement, the windows can move out of position and even get cracked. And as time passes, the wooden frames around the windows will start to rot.

You will also notice that the caulking around the windows will start to pull away.

Steps To Having Watertight Basement Windows

If you discover that your basement window has begun to cause leaks, then follow these tips to solve the problem.

  1. Caulk The Basement Windows

Caulking a leaking window is one of the very first remedies you should consider. Actually, this might be the only approach you will need to employ, depending on the nature of the leak.

Thankfully, caulk isn’t a scarce material, so you can find it in any home maintenance store near you.

Keep in mind though, if your window has been leaking for far too long, then you will have some rotting wood or drywall issues to deal with as well. This means caulking wouldn’t be enough to solve the problem.

  1. Install and Maintain Window Wells

Window wells are used to stop moisture from penetrating through by draining water away. These wells take a u-shaped form and are built with corrugated metal or heavy-duty plastic.

Just like caulk, you can also find them at most home maintenance stores near you.

To stop your window well from leaking water into the basement, be sure to keep them free of debris at all times. Debris can clog the passageways, which will not allow the water to be channeled out.

Many homeowners aren’t too sure of how to insulate old basement windows, but it’s really not difficult. Installing a window well cover can help protect it from collecting debris, snow, or falling leaves, so you should do that too.

An extra tip is to get a window well cover that is clear, as this will allow sunlight to pass through the basement window.

  1. Inspect The Downspouts and Gutters

One of the most common causes of leaking basements is clogged downspouts and gutters. You may be wondering how this contributes to a leaking basement window, so we’ll tell you.

When the downspouts or gutters are clogged, water can flow straight to your basement window and cause it to leak. This is why regular inspection of these two is very important.

If you find that the passageways are clogged, then clear them away. Get rid of all the debris, including pieces of stones and fallen leaves.

  1. Install New Windows

If your basement windows have been leaking for a long time, then you can expect that extensive damage has been done to them. In such a case, the only real solution is to get rid of the old window and install a new one.

Don’t fret, there’s an advantage to installing a new basement window. One of which is the opportunity to install an egress window.

These types of windows are wider than the regular ones, they also serve as an emergency exit.

Be advised to hire a professional contractor to handle this task. Installing an egress window requires some level of experience, needed for possible excavation and cutting of concrete.

  1. Evaluate The Grading

The grading of your home can also be the cause of the leaks in your windows. If the grade of your yard slopes towards the direction of your home, then there will be more moisture flowing in that direction.

In this case, repairing a damaged window will not be enough to solve the problem, since water still flows towards it. What you will have to do is hire a landscaper to re-grade the yard and slope it away from your building.

Doing this will ensure water flows away, and not towards the windows.

Window Well Leaking Water Into Basement

Leaking basement windows below grade can be a really big problem for homeowners, but thankfully there’s something you can do about it. Install and maintain window wells.

These are semi-circular cut-outs that are placed around the window. Besides being a water-prevention measure, they also allow sunlight to get into the basement.

To get the best performance from your window wells, you must carry out regular maintenance practices. Being able to identify the difference between a leaking window and a poorly draining window is also vital.

Window wells are built to fit around the basement window while allowing room in-between the window itself and the surrounding soil. This allows light into the sub-grade structure.

Unfortunately, many homeowners fail to realize that if the window wells aren’t properly installed in the first place, water will still leak through. This is why you need to hire a professional to get the job done the right way.

During window well installation, the soil around it has to be excavated first. The hole is usually dug to a depth of about a foot beneath the lower part of the window sill.

Before the window well is installed, drainage must be considered, if not, the hole by the side will definitely collect water.

The well can be partially filled with gravel, and an extra drain connecting to the perimeter drain should be installed.

This extra installation will guarantee that water will not settle in the well, hence eliminating any pressure on the windows. Keep in mind that water pressure can lead to cracks in the windows.

An exterior drain is positioned inside the gravel pit by the bottom of the window well. It further extends to the base of the foundation and is linked to the already-existing perimeter drain.

As for interior drains, they channel water to your sump pump (hopefully you have one). The water is then carried away from your structure via the network of pipes.

The sump pump should be installed inside the basement, and this is done by creating a hole in the foundation wall, which links the sump pump to the window well.

As for window well maintenance, the major concern is the accumulation of debris. These include leaves, rocks, snow, and other organic matter. When any of these materials fall into the well, it will lead to a clog and water will no longer be able to flow freely.

The accumulation of water is bad for the window, as it can rot the wooden frames over time. It will also place too much pressure on the glass and cause it to crack over time.

A compromised basement window has many negative outcomes. These include seeping water through porous concrete, damp basement walls, broken window glasses, and water damage to the valuable properties you have in your basement.

To make sure this doesn’t happen, be sure to maintain your window wells at regular intervals.

One of the best maintenance practices is to remove all the debris that has gathered into the window wells. You shouldn’t wait until it gets clogged to do this. Periodic inspection and some hand-picking are all that is required.

Many recommend that you inspect and clear the window wells about twice a year, but we advise you do this quarterly to increase your chances of having a free-flowing well.

After inspecting the wells, you should also inspect the drainage pipes to make sure they aren’t clogged either. You should also ensure that the gravel in the window well is loose, as this will allow water to flow freely into the perimeter drain.

If the gravel in the well is too compact, the flow will be compromised.

For preventive maintenance, you should consider installing a window well cover. There are several cover options to choose from, including plastic bubble covers, mesh, and the grill type.

Regardless of the type of cover you choose, they should perform the simple function of keeping debris from getting into your window wells.

Consider getting a cover that allows light to pass through!

Window well covers are easy to install so you can do that yourself. As long as the window and the wells have been properly installed, then it’s problem solved

Conclusion On Basement Window Leaking

There you have it guys, that’s how to seal and waterproof basement windows. Follow the maintenance tips provided here to keep your wells flowing and your basement windows in good shape.

Thanks for reading!

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