How to Install a Window Well

Window wells are small structures positioned outside ground-level/semi-basement windows that allow more light to enter and keep soil and water away from window. Usually a few feet or a meter deep and filled with a small layer of gravel to drain the well. Window wells are both practical and decorative and, with a small amount of upkeep, learning how to install a window well will improve the strength and look of ground-level windows. This article will teach you the basics of window well installation and help you avoid some common problems associated with them.


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    Take your prefabricated window well and place it against your ground-level window to get an idea of the area you need to dig out. Mark a perimeter of about 6 inches (or 15 cm) around the well with your shovel as a guide for digging.
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    Dig your hole.
    • The top of the well should sit about 6 inches (or 15 cm) above the ground. You should also allow about 4 inches (or 10 cm) for gravel beneath the well. Use your well as a guide to see if you've dug deep enough.
    • Make sure to grade away from your foundation. This means having the ground slope away from the building so that water will not drain towards the ground-level window.
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    Cover the bottom of the hole with 4 inches (or 10 cm) of gravel.
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    Place the window well against the foundation.
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    Mark where your bolts will go into the foundation.
    • Most prefabricated window wells are designed to be drilled into a foundation. This is the most secure method, but strategies vary. Consult your product for proper window well installation after Step 4.
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    Drill into the foundation at the spots marked.
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    Secure the window well into the foundation with bolts.
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    Fill the bottom of the well and the perimeter between the well and the edge of your hole with a few inches (or 10 cm) of gravel. Remember to grade away from the foundation.
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    Fill any excess area around the window well with soil. Tamp the soil down with your shovel and ensure that the ground and gravel around the window well is packed and secure.


  • If you're worried about how much water is collecting around your well, install a drainage outlet that pulls water away from the foundation.
  • Always dig deeper and more broadly than you think you will need to: you want lots of room to fit your well into the ground, and you can always fill the remaining area in with soil.
  • Cover your window well with a plastic sheet or shell to keep away rain, snow and leaves. Even if you grade away from the foundation, your well will likely accumulate water and debris that can hurt your window.


  • Small-scale window installation should not require any special permission from municipal authorities. If your project is larger, however, make sure that you are in compliance with relevant building codes.
  • Remember to check your window well for water accumulation. The purpose of the gravel is to improve drainage, but poor window well installation or a bad grade can actually produce the opposite effect.

Things You'll Need

  • Prefabricated window well
  • Shovel
  • Gravel
  • Drill
  • Bolts
  • Gloves

Article Info

Categories: Doors and Windows