I have an egress window. I would like to know why they sent me a 46'' tall well and a 48'' window? I need to know how to figure meausurements and why.

  • 1
    Most of the windows I have seen sit higher than the well frame. I have never installed one, I would call the Mfg to see if they made a mistake.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 11, 2015 at 14:03

2 Answers 2


The minimum height of the window is specified in code, and so is fairly standard. And is not typically influenced by the well dimensions.

The bottom of the window must be within a specific height above the basement floor. The well has to go from that depth, to at least finished grade level. So that's what determines the size of the well, not the window.

The code also states that if a well is deeper than a certain depth, a ladder or stairs must be included (to get out of the hole). So I would assume the manufacturer made the well less than that height purposefully, so as not to have to include a ladder.

Measure from the basement floor, to the maximum code specified height of the bottom of the window. Then from there, to grade level. If the second measurement is greater than 46", you'll need a deeper well.

  • The well usually will sit a few inches or more below the window. We usually go with 6" below the window then fill in some gravel. Maximum height of bottom of egress opening is 44" from the floor. If the well sits about 6" below the bottom of the window and 2" above grade, the floor should be no more than 82" (6'-10") below grade. You can play with the numbers. You need a ladder when the well is deeper than 44" from grade in the well to top of well. That is fill in the well 2" or more with gravel and you do not need a ladder.
    – Damon
    Dec 12, 2015 at 1:54

To calculate the necessary height of your area wall, consider the drainage situation and the grade level. Typically a wall will be inset somewhat into the drainage medium, and should extend above grade a few inches (at the highest point in the case of side-sloped grades).

As you can see, the height of the window itself is largely irrelevant.

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