DIY WINDOW WELL5:42 PM
This project was solely my husband, and I think the first project I've ever posted that I wasn't involved in.
Window wells were an area neither my husband and I hadn't thought too much about.
Then when it came time to make decisions, we were shocked at how expensive they were.
Over $100 for the basic aluminum curved ones, to almost $1K for rock look walls.
We considered many options from making our own geode embedded concrete walls to the fancy faux rock surrounds.
Our basement bedrooms are deep enough the majority of the window will be a view of the window well, so we wanted to come up with an affordable solution that would look somewhat appealing.
AND we had to have an escape element to meet code for basement bedrooms.
So we decided on making our own window wells with affordable railroad ties.
We got our ties for about $10 each.
After digging out around the foundation, layers of landscaping fabric went down, along with at least 2' of gravel for adequate drainage. The final gravel level was 6" lower than the concrete edge of the window opening.
We had access to a small loader which made the gravel step easier.
Then the railroad ties were cut to length.
THIS WAS THE WORST PART.
Using a chain saw, cutting the timbers varied so much from timber to timber.
The oil they are manufactured with to fireproof for railroad use made some harder than oak to cut.
My husband spent half the time sharpening the chain saw blades, sometimes only 1 cut between sharpenings.
To anchor the timbers, Rhett drilled holes vertically every 2 timbers with an 18" auger drill bit using a hammer drill.
Then pounded rebar through the ties into the ground.
Each 2 timbers made a "step" and the next 2 timbers were about 4-6" away, so the windo well sides were stairs for escape purposes.
Once the window well was complete, we wrapped it as best we could in tar paper, (to prevent water/mud from coming through the cracks) then pushed the dirt back up to support it.
The top rows were bolted down with washers to lower levels for a more pleasing look, and to avoid rebar poking out of holes on the top layer.
I think the final look is unique and fits the vibe of other timber and rustic elements in our home.
Once the ground on top is landscaped, floor cover plants will cascade down in to further enhance the view from the basement bedrooms.
As for recommending it, this option was a ton of hot, dirty, exhausting work.
This was my husband's facebook post discouraging anyone from considering it.
we he did it however, just know it was not a quick, easy project.