5 Common Problems with Window Wells and What to Do About Them

Last Updated on August 13, 2020 by Daniel Cooper

5 Common Problems with Window Wells: A window well is a guaranteed addition to your home if you have a basement. Window wells are a wonderful way to let natural light into the subterranean section of your household and have a couple of important functions, such as keeping dirt away from the window and preventing rainwater from getting inside. However, if a window well is experiencing problems, you might find yourself wishing you didn’t have any at all.

5 Common Problems with Window Wells

Here are 5 common problems with window wells:

1. Stuffed With Debris

Since window wells are often open, dried leaves, branches, and other debris can easily collect inside. In the winter, open window wells will gather snow—which defeats the purpose of a window well. Similarly, leaving your window wells uncovered throughout the year exposes it to damages from fallen branches and flooding. Be sure to purchase a proper dome cover for the window well and perform routine maintenance.

2. Difficult To Clean

If you think cleaning gutters is frustrating, then you haven’t cleaned your window well yet. The depth makes it impossible to comfortably remove any debris and mud from the area, so you are forced to climb inside. Window wells get grimy, as do the windows they are meant to protect, meaning you have to keep cleaning them over and over.

3. Excavation Issues

Many homeowners start experiencing problems with their window wells after finishing their basement and having installed a new window without ensuring the window well was properly excavated. Sliding windows, for instance, aren’t water-tight, so if the weeping tiles and drainage aren’t correct, then water will seep—or worse, pour—in. Always make sure that your window well is excavated by a professional contractor to avoid these issues and water damage.

4. Improper Fastenings

Sometimes, window wells aren’t correctly fastened to the building. Depending on where you live, the window and the surrounding ground will be exposed to a number of elements. When the ground freezes then heat throughout the year, will cause the window to warp. The earth will shift, and the window well, should it not have been properly installed, will start to come away from the wall and allow dirt, bugs, and water inside. Again, having a professional with experience in excavation is the best way to stop this problem from ever occurring.

5. Hazardous

Small children and animals often find themselves trapped inside window wells. While curious critters will crawl inside the window well to escape bad weather or while seeking out a place to nest, they sometimes can’t get back out. Same for children. Leave a child unattended during a party, and they might trip and fall into the window well. This is another reason why purchasing a cover for the window well is essential.


No matter what you do to reduce the stress of having window wells, you will undoubtedly be dealing with dead leaves and mud. To prevent the more serious issues, such as basement flooding and accidents, be sure to perform routine maintenance throughout the year, purchase a proper cover, and ensure that when installing new windows or a well, you have it properly excavated.


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