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Innovative Products: BILCO StakWEL

A modular system to streamline window well construction

March 12, 2019
egress window easy for remodelers

StakWEL aims to simplify the process of installing basement window wells—particularly useful for families wanting to increase the livable space in their home, whether to accommodate aging family members or adult children, or to up the house’s market value. (The 2018 IRC building code requires egress windows or doors in virtually all sleeping rooms and basements.)

Window wells are often built from steel, stone, or even timber, but StakWEL modules are made of injection-molded plastic. “They won’t rot like wood or rust like metal,” says Jim Edgeworth, director of residential sales and marketing for BILCO. “Worst case, you’ll have to spray them down or wipe them off to get rid of mold or debris.” 

The 21-inch-tall modules are anchored directly to the foundation, and each module interlocks easily with the next, forming a tight seal between the window well space and the soil. It’s most common to see three or four modules stacked on top of each other, says Edgeworth, though he’s seen as many as seven (for a total height of just over 12 feet). 

Priced competitively with inexpensive steel models, StakWEL satisfies the 2018 IRC building code requirements for emergency egress in finished basement areas. Each StakWEL module includes a built-in handle and gusseted step to fulfill code requirements for a ladder in every window well.

The modules, as well as the available proprietary window well cover, are UV-resistant and are warrantied against manufacturing defects for five years. The StakWEL system is built directly on flat soil to allow for drainage away from the foundation, so long as there is proper grade, says Edgeworth. 

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