What are the different options for basement window pits?

Homeowners use exit window covers to well protect the exit from pests and debris.

Basement window wells are designed for a variety of functional and aesthetic purposes. Properly constructed wells provide natural light to basement areas while maintaining a watertight seal to ensure a dry basement. Masonry, metal and plastic units are popular styles of basement window wells. Various types can be purchased and installed. On-site construction methods are used for masonry or concrete installations.

The most common option for basement window pits is the corrugated steel unit. Units are prefabricated, galvanized and typically formed into 180 degree semicircles in different widths and depths. Common window wells like this one are also available in high quality plastic. Translucent covers can be purchased to keep out leaves and debris, allowing light to shine through.

These low-cost window wells are simply put in place, bolted to the frame, and filled. The bottom of the pit is normally filled with gravel for drainage. Basement window wells are also installed for egress purposes. Building codes generally allow exit from the basement through windows in the event of a fire. Certain specifications must be met to comply with these codes and the work is normally inspected and approved.

Typical code regulations include window size and operating panel size. The height of the finished floor must also comply with the code. The window well itself must meet certain size requirements and it may also be necessary to build steps. Critical dimensions can be provided by a local building code agency.

Modular Exit Systems are available in aesthetically appealing designs that are code compliant and feature integrated stairwells. Modular units stack to accommodate well depth. They are constructed with high quality plastic materials that are durable and require no maintenance.

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Rigid composite materials are used to create basement window wells that have the appearance of stone. These attractive units are strong and durable and sometimes include a built-in step depending on the depth requested. Translucent covers are easy to operate and allow light to enter. Rigid composite construction comes in one piece and is rust and rot proof.

Window well casings and covers are available in a variety of designs to repair and beautify existing window wells. Imitation stone and brick facings can be inserted into existing pits for a clean, fresh look. Clear plastic flat and bubble covers can be custom made to fit any window. Weight-bearing wire mesh covers are constructed of heavy-duty steel.

Window wells are often formed and molded into concrete structures. Concrete basement window wells are the most durable and long lasting type. They can be built in virtually any configuration and size, including a full-size ladder, built-in steps or steel steps. Forms are available to give the appearance of stone or brick.

Masonry window wells can be constructed with brick, stone and cinder block. Concrete block pits can be covered with architectural stone products for a custom look. Shallow wells can be constructed with prefabricated dry pile retaining wall products that can be stacked and filled.

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