I recently moved into an old house and have been dealing with moisture issues in the basement. I am stuck on what to do with this particular window. Water flow tracks are clearly visible. enter image description here So far I have cleaned the gutters, added 10 foot gutter extensions, built up the grade on the other sides of the house, spray foamed/caulked around the other windows and added window wells with drains to those. The other windows are further below grade and are made of wood.

I was told this side of the house is “properly graded” (though it doesn’t seem that way to me and I don’t know how they can tell since there’s stones hiding the soil). And removing these stones and the fabric beneath them has turned out to be an enormous undertaking I’d rather avoid unless necessary! enter image description here

This window has a metal frame and doesn’t open.enter image description here

I was going to prep the concrete sill and build it up with hydraulic cement, but I’m not sure it that will help since I can’t find any gaps under the frame and water seems to be seeping right through the concrete wall as it is.

There’s a concrete wall of sorts built around the outside which I assumed was intentionally full with rocks. enter image description here enter image description here

I’m a little burned out on basement water management, to be honest. I am looking for a good way to keep this water out of the basement window for 6-8 months while I save money for more permanent solutions (like glass block windows?) Any ideas for short or long term fixes would be much appreciated!

UPDATE: I removed the stones from the concrete retaining wall around the window.

Now I can see that water definitely pools in this window well!

There is no drain I can find, but there’s tree roots (and possibly and old broken pipe) preventing me from digging any deeper. I don’t think there’s a bottom.

I tried building up soil against the window, as I couldn’t make it any lower on the yard side. I tamped the soil as best as I could, but water seeps back in. The soil is easier for the water to pass through than the concrete of the wall and the earth under the lawn. Water pools on one side of the well and then soaks back through the soil to the window. I put the plastic back on to demonstrate enter image description here

  • Can you fit a pressure treated 1x4 board at the bottom and call it in. That should keep the water out for a while.
    – Gil
    Jul 26, 2022 at 3:01
  • it lookslike the stones were dumped into the pit meant to provide space for the water to get away from the window. You might need to clear that pit and ensure there is no badly graded soil in that pit Jul 26, 2022 at 8:33
  • I am so grateful for this site, @ratchetfreak thank you! I didn’t know that was a retaining wall either but now that I do there is plenty of information on how to do those! I went out and removed some stones and they don’t go nearly as deeply as I thought and yes, there is a lot of soil down there and it does NOT appear to be pitched away from the window. Jul 26, 2022 at 12:35
  • I laid down some 6 mil plastic and will continue clearing out in and around the well gradually and try to correct the grade around and it in and see how that goes! Jul 26, 2022 at 12:38
  • Is water filling up the window well, then running under the bottom of the window?
    – SteveSh
    Jul 26, 2022 at 12:52

2 Answers 2


I see a mini retaining wall around that window for a pit but it's been filled with stones (and probably soil). Whoever did the grading job probably didn't understand why the pit was there and how to grade it and around it (or didn't think the price was worth the manual labor needed) and instead just dumped material in there.

If there is soil under those stones that is graded towards the window then it will cause issues like you are seeing.

You will need to remove those stones and regrade the bottom of the pit to ensure the water pool away from the window. You don't need to do the entire job in one go, instead each time you go out to work on the garden you can pull out a few stones.

For a temporary solution you can dig down a little bit and put down a plastic moisture barrier to stop the water at the window.

  • The proper way to do this pit can involve a fairly deep layer of stone so the water has somewhere to pool below the window while it slowly drains away. Some even suggest running a drain to the foundation drain. Exactly what is needed depends on soil and local climate. Particularely problematic is rain when snow has piled up and the ground is frozen. But given the single pane window, there might not be any real winter in this case.
    – Olivier
    Jul 26, 2022 at 14:15
  • This climate has terrible winters, snow and ice will likely pile against that window for most of the year and the soil is mostly clay. There is a channel chiseled into the floor between the wall, but it doesn’t direct water to a drain. I don’t know how to make the water drain out of the well on the outside, but perhaps with grading or covering it up? Jul 26, 2022 at 17:02
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    @HaddassahG. you could hope that it was originally built correctly and later covered up with crap. So follow this answer and dig. See what you find a little below the bottom of the window, perhaps it will be better.
    – Olivier
    Jul 27, 2022 at 0:54
  • OP said that he does not see water collecting or pooling in the well.
    – SteveSh
    Jul 27, 2022 at 14:03

My neighbor a few years back put in place some 2" plastic pipe that went to the footer and a screen on top in the pit with stone on top of that. Worked very nicely. I took the easy way and installed glass blocks.

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