Basement windows are a wonderful feature because they add light and fresh air to rooms. However, many homeowners often find water in their basements beneath their windows or dripping down the wall near them.
Basement window leaks can seem like a small problem at first. However, a small leak can lead to major problems down the road. Leaky windows can lead to mold growth, damage to dry wall, and destroyed belongings. If your basement is unfinished, leaky windows can become a major barrier to finishing it into a livable space. As we have discussed before, finished basements add great value to your home.
Before we discuss how to waterproof basement windows, let’s take a look at why basement windows leak. Basement windows often shift as the foundation of your house moves or “settles.” This shifting can cause cracks around windows. In addition, over time, the wood of basement windows can rot, and caulking can pull away from the window.
So, if you find that your basement window is causing an ongoing leak, here are 5 tips that can fix the problem.
Caulk Basement Windows
Caulking or re-caulking your basement windows is a great first step in combating a leaky window. This could actually solve your problem all together. Caulk is easy to find at hardware or home improvement stores. Please note, however, that if your window had been leaking for a long time, there may be additional damage to wood or drywall that will need to be repaired as well.
Install and Maintain Window Wells
A window well helps to block moisture from windows that at grade or below grade. It works to drain water away from the area. They are U-shaped, and made of corrugated metal or heavy-duty plastic. They are available at most hardware or home improvement stores.
If you already have a window well, you should keep it free of debris, add gravel which will help with water drainage, or consider a window well cover. Over the seasons, window wells can become clogged with leaves, dirt, and other debris. In winter, they can become filled with snow. Homeowners can purchase covers to protect the window well area. What’s more, you can purchase a clear window well cover which will still allow light to filter through the basement window.
Inspect Downspouts and Gutters
Clogged gutters and downspouts are a common cause of basement leaks, and this is no different when thinking about your windows. Often, water from blocked gutters can flow directly toward your basement window. However, as we have said before, inspecting gutters and downspouts is always a good idea.
Install New Windows
Sometimes, new windows are really the only solution for basement window leaking. Old windows or those damaged by water or a shifting foundation will need replacement. Replacing the window gives you the option of installing an egress window in its place. These are larger windows than standard, and provide an emergency exit. It’s best to hire a professional to install an egress window as it may involve excavation and cutting concrete.
The grade of your property is something we discuss frequently in our basement waterproofing blogs. Not surprisingly, the grade of your land can affect your windows as well. Your basement windows can leak if the grade slopes toward your house. Repairing the window will not have an effect in this case. In order to evaluate the grade, it’s best to get a professional opinion from a basement waterproofing company.
If you would like a complimentary evaluation, contact us.