Millions of American homes have egress windows. They have many benefits, which is why so many homes have them. Egress windows are a safety precaution that allows residents to escape in an emergency. Egress windows allow light to enter a basement and permit homeowners to convert basement space into living space. It is required that basement bedrooms have at least two ways of egress. Window wells, when properly installed, can drain water from the basement and foundation of a home.
Many issues can arise when moisture gets into a basement. For example, frozen water can cause cracking in concrete foundation walls, and hot summer temperatures can lead to dangerous mold spores.
Window wells aren’t the only tool you have to help keep your basement dry. However, they are often required by local building codes for basements that contain living space. If window wells don’t get adequately maintained, they can cause damage to basements. Window wells can cause more damage to a basement than good if they are not properly maintained. Here are some tips for how to waterproof and maintain them. Let’s get to the basics before we discuss how to seal them.
What is an Egress Window?
Egress is a way out or a path to get there. These windows accomplish precisely that. Egress windows are located in the basement and provide an exit for emergency situations such as a fire. These windows are large enough to let you safely escape your home. An egress also allows natural light to flood your basement and dark rooms providing a more comfortable living space. Egress can add value to your home, whether you are finishing a basement or remodeling it.
Types of Egress Windows
There are many options for egress to suit your home’s remodeling and new basement needs. Any of these types can be used, provided it meets local codes.
- Double-hung windows – These windows have two glass panes, and the bottom half opens upward. Double-hung windows can be opened from the top or bottom in some cases.
- Sliding windows – These are sliding windows that open from the side, rather than up and down. They look a lot like a sliding door.
- Casement windows – This style can be opened in or out. You can think of them as a hinged door. They can be opened with a handle or a rotating knob. They are smaller than the standard size, but they can still be opened ajar.
Benefits of Egress
An egress window for the basement is essential to your safety. This window system allows for a quick exit and allows water to drain from a well located on the exterior. Egress windows can be added to living areas, increasing the house’s value and style. An egress window system is important if you plan to make your basement a bedroom or entertainment space.
Standard codes for egress windows
Many residential codes require that homes have at least one exit installation in their initial design and construction. This should be considered when you build your home. In addition, each state, county, or municipality has its own requirements for egress placement.
Other requirements include:
- All egress windows must function from the inside.
- Windows should have clear space around them.
- Windows shouldn’t have any requirements such as keys or tools for opening them.
How to waterproof your egress windows
Your egress, like any other installation in your home, can become damaged or fall apart, which could compromise dryness. So check your windows now and again to make sure they are waterproof. These are some options you could consider.
To stop water from entering your basement through the window, you must first caulk it. Finish the job by using a putty blade to remove any caulk from the frame. To remove dirt and dust from the edges, use a moist cloth.
Apply silicone-latex caulk to your window seams using a caulking gun at a 45-degree angle. When you reach the corner, release the caulk and smooth the caulk. Finally, wipe off excess caulk using a cloth.
Finally, take out any leaky windows and install new seals. Before installing the window, you may need to replace or repair the window frame that is damaged or rotted.
Window well waterproofing and drainage
Covers can be installed over egress windows wells. The translucent, curved piece of durable plastic keeps leaves, debris, and water out of your basement. This secure piece allows for more natural light to enter the basement. It is a good idea to have gravel at the base of your well. This will help keep water out of your basement.
Proper drainage is essential for a window well. Otherwise, water could pool and leak into your basement through your window or foundation wall. It is important to decide if an interior or exterior approach is best for your home when planning window well drainage.
Drains for exterior window wells are placed below the gravel base. These drains run parallel to the foundation wall and connect to the drainage system around your home (sometimes called “drain tiles”).
The interior window well drains work by redirecting water to your basement’s internal sump pump system rather than your home’s perimeter drain. The interior window well drain of homes that do not have a sump pumps system can be connected to your basement’s main drain.
Ensuring Proper Foundation Grading
The soil around your home can either be an asset or a liability, depending on how it’s graded. The slope of your soil around your foundation is called “Grading.” Water will pool around your home if the soil is not graded towards your foundation wall or window wells.
It is possible to complete the soil grading in a day. One rule of thumb for grading soil around your foundation walls is to allow one inch of rise per foot.
A soil with high clay content is more resistant to water than your typical topsoil. Regularly inspect your soil grading as Mother Nature can cause it to shift and flatten over time.
Replace the Gravel
The gravel layer at the bottom of the window well filters out dirt and other debris as water flows to the drainage system. However, over time, this debris can build up and decrease the effectiveness of the filtration system. Replacing the gravel in your window can be an inexpensive and efficient first step if water is accumulating.
You can ensure that your basement is dry by providing proper drainage and grading the soil away from the foundation. In addition, you should inspect your window wells regularly to ensure there are no leakages.
The SANI-TRED system can be used to permanently waterproof your basement providing a dry healthy living space for your family.