+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    69

    Default Window Wells As Water Features?????

    My mother in law's home was built in 1950, has a full basement with window wells. When the Spring rains come, these wells are filling up, and looking out one of her basement windows is like looking into a fish tank. The wells are under overhangs and have covers so this has to be ground water coming up, I would think. Wondering if digging the wells out (they are full of silt and such) about a foot down and putting in some gravel would eliminate, or at least alleviate the problem? VERY open to suggestions/solutions. Thanks in advance for any help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,254

    Default Re: Window Wells As Water Features?????

    You are on the right track getting out the silt. The window wells may have been connected to the foundation drainage system connected to a sump pump possibly or just with gravel at the bottom or even a drain tile into the yard.

    Make sure the grade around the wells isn't directing water back toward the well. Even if it isn't running in, it may be forcing water through or up under the well. If the basement isn't affected by ground water, I would suspect this.

    Make sure any downspouts aren't directing water toward the wells.

    The wells may need to be waterproofed, from the exterior if possible.

    Try to figure out where the water is getting in. That means watching during a storm. Then try to figure a way to get it to drain again. I assume they didn't fill up when the house was build, so something has gone wrong in the meantime

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Window Wells As Water Features?????

    You're a good son-in law to be interested in helping your mother-in law out on this issue; Google "images for window-well drainage" to access info & diagrams of how various WW drainage systems work & unclogging them.

    I agree with ed21 who gives a lot of good suggestions about resolving the problem; I think you're mother in law is very lucky so far to have not had water coming into the basement thru a leak in the window's perimeter seals----this won't last forever & something should be done to eliminate the water buildup in the wells.

    A number of articles on this topic make the point that window wells are essentially a "pain in the neck"---they fill with water, debris, small animals that often get trapped & can't get out, & can be a hazard for adults, & especially small children who may play in the yard & incur injury by falling into the WW.

    It sounds like it was a well-built house when constructed & they usually installed in such cases (as ed21 noted) a vertical/diagonal 4" drain pipe at the bottom of each window well connected to a 4" perforated horizontal drain pipe at the base of the house foundation; this perforated drain typically drains the accumulated water away from the house to a dry well, etc.

    So after removing the mucky silt from the bottom of the window wells, try to explore around the base of the window well with a shovel or hoe to see if you can locate the 4" drain pipe (a reddish vitrified clay was used in the 50's/not plastic), & perhaps a one foot or two foot strip drain connected to it that is no doubt clogged with silt & can usually be cleared with a small metal snake or the water pressure of a garden hose & allowed to do its job again (if they indeed exist); the garden hose can later be used to test the effectiveness of the repaired drainage of the WW, instead of waiting for a rain storm; as the Google site ("Images for window well drainage") illustrates, there are innumerable schemes & equipment parts sold by Home Depot/Lowe's & others to fashion metal & plastic covers to try & keep the rainwater, critters & people out of the WW; most covers are unsightly & only partially keep the water out; it's important to pitch the soil around the WW away from the foundation (even an inch or two pitch), although not visible to the human eye, is often enough to direct the gravity flow of water away from the foundation and WW & out into the center of the yard---some type of 4" plastic drainpipe, though is much more effective in draining the WW base, as the "image gallery" makes clear.

    As ed21 noted, sometimes the builder routed the 4" drain for the window well base further out into the yard to drain into a small dry well; this method would prevent too much water from accumulating at the base of the foundation, which could eventually find its way into the cellar---sometimes the drain was connected to a 4" pitched perforated or non-perforated drain pipe that would be pitched to empty into a lower grade pitch outlet, or even into the street, grade & codes permitting.

    Window wells present somewhat of a security problem for the homeowner & a potential route for burglars & in such a case a contractor is hired & the foundation opening is sometimes concreted or bricked in & the exterior portion filled with soil---this would depend on the characteristics of the neighborhood, in many cases it does not present a problem.

    Google the phrase "images for window well drainage" and you'll access scores of color photos and diagrams of every imaginable style of window well, as well as diagrams of different solutions and approaches to controlling water, covers, keeping wild life out, etc.---this is a great resource for anyone involved with window wells.

    Depending on the integrity of the foundation, (poured concrete is best) & the amount of available room in the basement, I've seen some contractors actually take advantage of the existence of window wells in a home, & excavate along the sides of the building down to a point below the lower edge of the window wells, install an effective drainage system, & put in brick walkways as a way of installing a beautiful basement apartment that can serve as rental income or even serve as a commercial office; this, of course, would be a major building trades construction project that would not be everyone's cup of tea----but it's one way to turn a "pain in the neck" problem into a financial advantage.


    http://ryanc.articlealley.com/the-ba...s-1095546.html
    Last edited by von_steuben; 03-16-2012 at 04:56 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Window Wells As Water Features?????

    ed21, thanks for your response. As far as I know, there is no sump pump connected to the window wells. I'll have to dig down and see about what type of drainage (if any) was installed when the house was built. I'm REALLY hoping that it will be a matter of a clogged drainage pipe that I can clear. That would be a best case scenario for me!

    Last year, we built up around the foundation to make sure the grade sloped away from the house and window wells. Didn't help anything. Another reason I think it is ground water seeping up.

    The basement IS affected, although not only near the window wells. They had one of those basement systems installed last year. The water, of course, still comes in, but it goes directly into the nearly invisible "trench" around the inside perimeter of the basement and then into a sealed "well" with a sump pump. All of this is installed inside the basement, and you never see any wet spots down there now. Still, I would like to stop the water in the window wells before they start seeping too.

    Down spouts are directed away from the foundation, but in my opinion, should have extensions put on them to direct the water even further from the foundation. We're going to get new gutters put on her house, so will have extensions put on at that time.

    There is a concrete pad that was added outside the back wall of the house...a patio of sorts, I guess, and it has failed and is cracked, broken and sinking in. I'm sure a good deal of water gets into the basement (and runs along the foundation) through this. I'm meeting with a contractor over there this morning to see about getting that replaced and properly tied in. It wasn't tied in at all when they poured it.

    I think waterproofing the window wells is a great idea too!

    Thanks so much for all your helpful ideas and information. A good start to solving the problem!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Window Wells As Water Features?????

    von_steuben, thanks for your reply. I'll be sure to google this, and I thank you for that suggestion and the others. Window wells do seem to be a pain in the nether regions!

    AND, for the record,(not that it really matters all that much) I'm not a good son-in-law. I'm a great daughter-in-law!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Window Wells As Water Features?????

    Quote Originally Posted by gbecki49 View Post
    My mother in law's home was built in 1950, has a full basement with window wells. When the Spring rains come, these wells are filling up, and looking out one of her basement windows is like looking into a fish tank. The wells are under overhangs and have covers so this has to be ground water coming up, I would think. Wondering if digging the wells out (they are full of silt and such) about a foot down and putting in some gravel would eliminate, or at least alleviate the problem? VERY open to suggestions/solutions. Thanks in advance for any help!
    Hey it is a nice idea dear , you are on right track you can also take some ideas from search engine you can take help of any of your friend having interest in the gardening or water features like pond making etc.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •