Installing an Egress Window Well

installing an egress window well
Installing an egress window is required by building code when you plan on using your basement for any habitable space. This is required as a means of emergency exist in case of a fire or any other impending danger. This simple guide will teach you the necessary steps to take when installing an egress window in your home. You can check out NAHB for the exact dimensions required by code in your area.

Installing an Egress Window: 4 Steps

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Start by setting your new window well and secure it to the wall per the manufacturer’s instructions. This will normally require drilling into the basement wall to install concrete anchors.

  • Be sure to use a code compliant window well. If the well will be deeper than 44″ from vertical grade, a code compliant ladder will need to be installed. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches, shall project at least 3 inches from the wall and shall be spaced not more the 18 inches apart.

 

  • Many of the preformed window wells are made with integral code compliant steps. After the window well is in place, dig down to the footing drain that runs around the perimeter of the house. More than likely this is a simple french drain.
Upon reaching the drain, carefully cut the perimeter drain pipe to install a TEE. This part can be a little tricky to accomplish. You must cut enough of the drain line out to allow the TEE to fit. If you cut too much the TEE will not connect to pipe correctly.

 

  • Once the Tee is in place, use some landscape fabric to wrap the new connection. This will help in keeping soil and debris from finding it’s way into the drains.
  • Typically the drain lines are 4″ light weight sewer and drain pipe. This has replaced the old clay tile drains that were used years ago.
Next, insert a riser pipe into the newly installed drain TEE. This pipe will connect to your drain that you will be installing. Fill the entire hole with stone. Pea-stone or stone less then 1″ in diameter will work the best.
Finally, connect the riser pipe to your new drain. Installing a good sized catch basin will catch some debris and help keep your drains functioning properly for years to come. The cover is removable and sediment will collect in the bottom. Be sure to clean the catch basin often.

  • Fill in the rest of the window well with stone to desired height. Completing a window well with drains is the best way to ensure a trouble free egress window installation.
If you need help installing a regular window, check out our guide on how to install a window.



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