basement window wells

boldcolors(Zone 5 Ut)August 17, 2011

I'm trying to figure out how to solve my basement window well problem. I have very active grandkids and I'm trying to head off any disasters. DH hates metal bars, plastic cover, etc....just about anything you can find on the internet or bigbox stores to buy for a cover. Likes light to come in thru the windows. My windows are 4'by 4' and the top of the windows are about even with the ground. The "hole" around each one is about 3ft out from the window and curved metal sheets that are holding the earth back are attached to the cement of the foundation on each side of the windows. The windows face east and get the morning sun.

I've thought of barberry shrubs (thorns), short fencing curved around it, and building up the curved area with interlocking cinder blocks which would block a lot of the light. My soil is amended clay and I'm at about 6,000ft. Harsh winters with occasional snow cover, bitter cold wind and lots of sunshine (go figure). Just to make this interesting, I'd like to have access to clean out the wells and of course they need to be used for a fire escape, too!

I'd love to hear your ideas ....thanks in advance for your time.


PS DH is a real 'wood' man ....whittles and such.I believed he'd go for homemade wood covers if they let lots of light in and weren't too heavy (fire escape). Also the covers don't need to hold the weight of an adult or teenager...just 12 and under.

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Barberries? Really? That would teach the grandkids to keep away...

Seriously though, the only thing I could suggest given your restrictions, would be three upright panel railing sections around the u-shaped periphery of the window well frame. Plexiglass would let in the most light and probably be the least intrusive visually. They're readily available, not too expensive and would be pretty easy to install.

Here is a link that might be useful: Suggestions for window well

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 1:19AM
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linda_schreiber(z5/6 MI)

I had to get out from a similar place once during a minor fire, and shove a panicky young child and a yowling scratching cat ahead of myself.... I don't think I would have wanted to deal with the barberries [wry grins].

If I were you, since light access is important, and wood might be an ok option, I would be looking at something like this.... Hard to describe....

You want a wood 'grate' that will keep the kids from accidentally stumbling into the well. Since the tops of the windows are roughly at ground level, is there a way you can install a 'stop' at the top of the window? Even a piece of 2x2? Or, alternatively, some sort of upright at each side of the window that can serve the same purpose?

Then outside the curving metal at ground level, make three sides of a square. 2x4s? Anchor the corners solidly.

Then get an open wood lattice, or make one. Hinge it to the outside square, and let it rest on the stops.

Won't keep out burglars, but it will block falls. And, from the inside, you can open the window, shove the lattice, and it will open on the hinges and land to the outside, and be out of your way. It will let in lots of light, and catch plummeting children.

Hope this makes sense. I hate trying to describe the 'picture in my head' in words....

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 8:36PM
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    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 5:32AM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Ummmm...are you certain this is really a problem? We have window wells...and we've had kids here (though they are now grown)...and no one ever fell in. Truly.

If it really IS an issue...both linda s's and adriennemb's suggestions should work.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 11:12AM
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