I have a 5 family apartment building in NJ. There are 2 below grade window wells that protrude from the building and into the asphalt driveway. I want to fill these in permanently with concrete because the windows leak like crazy, and the wells are huge hazards (for tripping and the metal grates have caved in several times when someone drives over them).

What's the risk over filling them in?

The basement is unfinished. These 2 windows do not open. There are 2 other window on the opposite side of the basement that do open (and are not a problem). Also, the tenants do not have access to the basement. The only people who go down there are myself and the meter readers. It's a full basement with 5 boilers, 1 hot water heater, 6 electrical meters and 6 gas meters.


  • 2
    As they don't open then they are most likely not egress windows and therefore it should be permissible to remove them.
    – Dan D.
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 15:20
  • 1
    Is there anyway you can tell if the boilers or water heater needs make up air. The leaky windows help with that....
    – Jack
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 5:36
  • I just add that eliminating these windows from a basement room make cause this room illegal for some use - say, a room for people to work and live. All depends on country civil codes (some of them measure window area to floor area ratio to say if it legal for people to live there - I lack proper vocabulary to explain, but I guess You know what I mean). Apart from that I say that it's ok to get rid of them. Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 8:48

1 Answer 1


Depending on the size, weight would be my only structural concern. A large window well filled only with concrete is going to weigh a ton. That could potentially put unwanted pressure on the foundation.

The windows should be blocked/bricked in, add some below grade sealer/barrier (whatever the foundation of the building is made of), the hole filled with dirt and the top paved over to be part of the driveway.

All that said you should also call a building inspector BEFORE you start work to ensure that blocking in those windows isn't violating code...I doubt it will be a problem...but yeah, ask first in this case.

  • 1
    Definitely check w/ inspector. Sometimes those are considered emergency escape routes.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 23:54

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