We are finishing our basement and have a problem with one of our window
wells. If we cut it out to spec, then it protrudes directly into our
driveway (which is already narrow). We have thought of a couple
solutions and would like to hear advice or opinions.
Solution #1: We thought about finding a window well cover that was
strong enough to be able to drive a car over. After looking online, we
realize that those are not readily available. And not wanting to have
to tear up our driveway we thought of:
Solution #2: This is the one we are not sure is allowed. Most code
reads that the well has to protrude out 36" from the window. Are you
allowed to set the window back into the room in order to decrease the
distance from which the window well extends from the side of the house?
We are talking about building the window about a foot in from the wall
of the basement bedroom. This would leave a good 2 feet protruding
outside the house, and we wouldn't have to tear out our driveway.
Isn't the object of the code requirement to allow sufficient room for a
person to exit the basement bedroom through the window in the event of a
fire? Seems that what you are proposing would never fly as I can't see how
a person is going to climb through the 2 foot opening between your house
wall and the driveway. Even a window well cover you could drive over would
not work unless it was easily kicked out of place from below in the event of
Install the correct size window well with a steel grate to support
people and vehicles. it lays in place so it can easily be removed.
any chance to install egress ingress window on a non driveway facing
block walls can be changed with some work and a additional window can
not only provide access but add light which ultimately adds resale value
Thanks guys - The other exterior wall in the bedroom cannot accomodate
a window. Tom, you are right; our idea would yield a 2 foot opening
between the well's side and the side of the house. It seemed to me
that this might not be allowed by code, but I have been unable to find
a specific prohibition anywhere. The only thing that I have been able
to find is a clause that says a window well must project from the
window (note that it doesn't say side of house) by at least 3 feet, and
must be at least 3 feet in width.
One thing I forgot to add. The existing window already sits at least 1
1/2 ft. above grade. We measured the distance from the siding at the
top of the window to where the edge of the window well would be and it
is 28". If we made this distance 36" (which would make the edge of the
well a little less than 2 1/2 ft. out from the house) would that
satisfy the code requirement of the 36" space to exit from?
Go talk to your local code officer (inspector or whatever they call it
in your state/country). He or she will know the local code well, and
will be the person who makes a decision about it anyway. They are
usually quite helpful when approached in advance of work, and might be
able to give you other suggestions.
If they dismiss the idea right away, politely show them the clause you
mentioned above, and ask them what part of the code prohibits it.
Perhaps you will understand why your idea does not meet the intent of
the code by understanding the purpose of that window well. It's size is
set to allow you to escape from a fire that cuts off your other egress
pathway from that room and to allow a fully equipped firefighter who is
wearing a self contained breathing apparatus on her/his back to enter to
effect rescue. There must be three feet of clearance in both dimensions
at the top of the well to allow people to climb into and out of it.
Well we aren\'t no thin blue heroes and yet we aren\'t no blackguards to.
Is this window serving as a means of egress? If so, you're hosed.
If not, then dig the hole, and drop in a concrete well low
enough to put steel grating over it. In fact, trench across
the whole driveway, 3' wide, put a steel grill over it with
pop-out panels, and use the resulting pit as an easy place to do
oil changes and repairs on the car.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.