Window wells outside basements serve a crucial purpose. Window installation below ground level would not be possible without window wells. They should give drainage options to prevent water buildup and allow for windows that let in natural light. Window wells can unfortunately start to leak and wreak havoc in a basement when they are damaged.
Causes of Leaky Basement Window Wells
Leaks in basements are largely caused by poor drainage in the soil surrounding your home and, more specifically, in the window wells outside your basement. Soil saturation can affect your window wells’ stability and cause them to absorb more water. Also, this will let dirt and debris into your window wells, affecting how well they can drain.
Although some older wells may have less complete or robust drainage systems in place, all window wells should include drainage alternatives. Water that accumulates in the well can be released through these drains and outlets. If the window wells around your home have poor or nonexistent drainage, water will accumulate inside the well and may eventually cause leaks. If there is a lot of water in the well, pressure on the glass may cause this to occur, or persistent wetness may allow water to infiltrate beneath the seals.
Saturated and Expansive Soil
Your basement window wells may be affected if the soil surrounding your property is overly moist or expansive (and your property as a whole). Your window wells will experience pressure if the soil is overly moist, whether as a result of inclement weather or subsurface water sources. Whether the window well can handle this pressure and degree of dampness depends greatly on how old it is and what material it is composed of.
Older window wells might be constructed from materials like wood or corrugated iron. Because of this, older wells are more prone to bowing or even corrosion and decay in areas with excessive moisture. This will eventually have an effect on the actual basement windows.
Clogs and Blockages
Blockages and obstructions in your window well drains can quickly cause major problems with leakage and humidity. These obstructions can be brought on by an accumulation of sediment inside the drains or by a significant amount of material in the well itself, depending on the type of drains you have. One of two things can result in damage from this.
First of all, a buildup of silt or debris might result in poor drainage, allowing your basement window well to remain continuously damp. When this occurs, there is a greater chance that water will deteriorate the sealant surrounding your windows and start to seep into your house. In addition, a snap freeze may cause water that is clogged in window wells or their drains to expand, harming the window or the drainage system for the window well.
Yes, basement window wells have drains that are usually connected to your foundation’s drainage system which will drain water away from the home. However, when these drainage systems fail, your window wells get backed up with water.
While sealing basement windows off from water is possible, it is not a permanent fix. Over time, water will get through the seal, leading to leaks in your basement. That is why we recommend the all-encompassing basement waterproofing solution of installing basement sump pumps, dehumidifiers, vapor barriers, and drainage systems.
If you have damaged or completely broken basement windows, then it is absolutely worth it to replace the windows. Damaged windows won’t be able to keep water out even if your basement has been waterproofed.
Get Professional Waterproofing Services from BQ Basements & Concrete
At BQ Basements & Concrete, we are accustomed to the rainy summers and chilly, wet winters that can wreak havoc on your home, particularly your basement. You can rest easy knowing we are familiar with the region, especially the expansive soils on which your home is constructed.
Our basement waterproofing solutions are designed to protect your basement permanently against the detrimental effects of water damage, such as mold growth and pooling water. For a free, no-obligation assessment of your entire foundation to spot any issues and address them, get in contact with us right away.