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Many homes have basements that become areas used only for storage. But with a little planning and building, you can transform your basement into a comfortable and functional home office, playroom, or entertainment center as well as an organized storage area.

One way to transform your basement is to add or update your windows. Basement windows can allow light and ventilation to enter and can create a view of the surrounding area.

Basement windows can be fixed or moveable and have many different window-operating mechanisms. Here are three popular window designs that can add to the beauty and functionality of a residential basement.


Fixed windows can be installed near the ceiling of a residential basement. Because they are non-operational, they are very secure. This is ideal for basement windows because they are at ground level and can attract wildlife or other unwanted guests.

Another advantage of fixed windows is that they are sealed and can keep moisture, leaves, and debris from entering the basement. Fixed window designs can be created in any style to complement the other windows of a home. They can be single pane or be divided into several panes with wooden sashes.


Slide windows open by moving one or two window panes into interior pockets of the basement wall on either side of the window to create an opening in the middle of the window. These windows can also slide over each other in the middle to create smaller openings on the sides of the panes.

Slide windows are perfect for basement installation because they eliminate the need for interior and exterior space around the windows when the windows are open.

Exterior landscaping plants can grow very near to the windows without interfering with the opening or closing mechanisms. Inside the basement, furniture and bookshelves can be placed adjacent to slide windows without restricting their operation.


If the upper portion of your basement is below ground level, you can install windows in your basement walls and excavate the ground around them to create window wells. Window wells can accommodate any style of basement windows, even those with swing-out window panes.

These semi-circular excavations create drainage areas for rain, snow, and other moisture. After installing window wells, you should cover the bottom of the excavations with four to five inches of gravel for drainage.

To eliminate moisture, leaves, and debris, place window well covers over the wells. These permanent or removable covers are available in many different styles and can be made of glass, vinyl, or metal grates.

To add another dimension to window wells, you can line the sides of the excavated wells with river rocks, bricks, decorative concrete, or a prefabricated window well liner. Window wells can also be filled with growing plants and flowers.


Before designing and planning a basement window project, check with your local and state governments for applicable building codes that may apply in your area. A building permit may also be required in order to install windows in your basement.

Check online or at the library for a copy of the International Residential Code (IRC) for the most recent regulations and building codes for family dwellings. These codes and regulations can guide you to choose the best style and size windows for your basement.

For innovative window designs for your basement, contact Gilkey Window Company. We manufacture and install all of our own windows. Call us or come to our showroom to see samples of our available window designs and options and get a free estimate for installing or updating windows in any room of your house.

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