There has been a trend in building for some time to sit houses low in the ground to avoid a lot of concrete foundation showing above the ground. Though aesthetically pleasing, this tends to make basement windows below grade and this is compensated for by the installation of some type of window well.Basement window wells that fill with water can leak a substantial amount of water into a basement in a very short time. If you suspect a window is the problem you can often find a horizontal line of dirt/debris on the window well, frame, and/or glass. Water will usually build up in the window well before leaking and leave this line. You can also make a heavy chalk line on the basement wall under the window and if water leaks in and runs down the wall it will leave streaks.
Before Calling a Professional
- Make sure the ground slopes away from the house and the window well in particular. You may have to build the soil up around the well area.
- Caulk inside the well where it meets the concrete foundation to try to minimize the water that leaks in. A plastic bubble-like cover can also help and they are available in most home supply stores. Be sure that roof water isn't falling into the well.
If your window continues to be a problem then it's time to call in a professional. Your Options:
- Install a drain in the bottom of the well and pipe the water it catches, through a gravity line, to a lower area.
- If there isn't an area to pipe to then it is necessary to partially block up the window. By cutting out a portion of the window frame the window is partially blocked up with solid concrete blocks essentially making the wall higher than the surrounding ground. The well is removed and the area is filled in with soil. In a partial block such as this the window itself is left in and still opens.
- In extreme cases where the window is very deep it may be necessary to eliminate the window entirely.
Eastern Waterproofing Co., Inc. would be happy to quote this type of work and provide references and a free written proposal.