How to Make Egress Window Wells with Concrete Blocks

Two men install egress window wells.
What You'll Need
Concrete blocks
Measuring tape
Shovel or heavy digging equipment
2x4-inch boards
Masonry drill, bits, and screws
A friend or two

Egress window wells are a simple and inexpensive way to add light to a dark basement and add value to your home. It will take some hard work, but installing egress wells is a rewarding job.

Step 1 - Take Measurements

Measure not only the size of the window, but the depth that you intend the well to be. Remember to allow for the depth, height, and width of the concrete blocks you are using. This will allow you to create an egress well that is roomy and inviting without looking cramped.

With your measurements, sketch out a plan. Include any step-outs you want to install. Take the plan to your local city offices to determine if you need a building permit. Most of the time, this isn't necessary, but in some places, a permit is required anytime you are breaking ground.

Step 2 - Break Ground

With the plans in hand, you can begin working around the window. Make sure any electrical, water, and gas lines are clearly marked so you can avoid digging in those areas. If the window is small, just a shovel and some extra manpower are all you will need. For a larger window, you may need to use heavy equipment to dig out the area.

Step 3 - Level It Out

Use a trowel to level the sides and the bottom of the hole. If this isn't even, the blocks won't sit in the area well, and the egress well will look off. Once the area is level, place the 2x4-inch boards on the bottom and a few up the sides of the area. This will only further the level and create a safety cage for the concrete blocks.

Step 4 - Place Concrete Blocks

With the wooden cage in place, you can start to place the concrete blocks. Start with the blocks on the bottom of the hole. As you lay each block, connect it to the one next to it using the masonry drill and screws. This will keep the base stable. Once the base is completed, you can start to build up on the sides. This will be done in the same manner, attaching each block with the masonry screws.

Step 5 - Finish Up

Mix the mortar according to the directions found on the packaging. Use your trowel to apply this in between the concrete blocks. This will create a more finished look and help to keep the structure secure. Allow enough time for the mortar to dry. Once it's dried, you can go back over it with sandpaper to smooth it out if you wish.

This design is not meant to be breathtaking. It will be functional, and allow natural light into your basement or sunken room. It's also much more affordable than having a professional install one for you.