Window Well Covers: 6 Reasons Why a Solid Cover Might Not Be Right For You

Solid window well covers can be a less expensive up-front cost compared to custom metal grates to cover your window well. But make no mistake solid covers have a downside too. If you’re considering a solid window well cover keep these six things in mind.


Plastic window well covers can offer you and your family a false sense of security. A fresh plastic cover off the store shelf has yet to be exposed to the elements. Therefore, this cover is at it’s strongest point in its lifecycle.

Small children are tempted, and sometimes even prompted, to stand on the cover. For a new cover designed to support any amount of weight, this will appear to be no problem at all. However, the sun’s powerful ultra-violet rays break down plastic causing the cover to become brittle over time. Even thick plastic covers will eventually succumb to the sun’s rays.

Children who once knew the window well covers as a place safe for standing are not likely to notice signs the cover is becoming weak. This is especially true of young children who forget they are growing heavier all while the cover has become easier to break under them.

The Terrarium Effect

Adjust-A-Grate originally started under a different name as an ornamental iron company almost 30 years ago. Removing plastic bubbles in order to install security window guards meant I would have to stand in the well with some scary looking spiders, webs, and other creepy crawlers.

Not exactly the view you want from inside your basement window, unless you’re into that kind of thing.

Solid window well covers offer the opportunity to trap moisture and heat inside your well. This can make a cozy home for these critters and possibly even mold. We recommend an option that gives you airflow to mitigate the opportunity for unwanted pests to set up residence.

They Need Replacing Periodically

The sun is powerful, the ultra-violet light it emits wreaks havoc on plastic causing it to break down over time. Thus causing the plastic to become brittle and discolored.

The discolored plastic will let in less and less natural light to your basement over time. Plus, a good hail storm or an overthrown ball from the neighbor’s yard make quick work of breaking down a brittle cover.

They Can Prevent Light

Discoloration aside, some solid window well covers lay flat enough on the opening of your window well to also cause an issue. The flat service offers a nice resting place for debris such as lawn clippings or leaves.

In addition, a light rainstorm can wet the cover enough for dirt, dust, and pollen to form a film on the previously clear cover blocking your light.

You Need to Keep Solid Window Well Covers Clear

If you are tempted to bolt or permanently attach the cover to the well to prevent the cover from blowing away – don’t. You also want to avoid placing a large rock, bar, or any other heavy object from the garage on top of your plastic cover. Not only will your local fire inspector cringe, you risk a citation.  The well is for emergency exit from your basement, anything impeding your safe exit is typically a code violation and worse, a safety hazard.

Snow can also be a hazard on a solid cover well. A wet snowfall built up on a solid cover becomes extremely heavy for anyone underneath the cover to lift and exit the well safely. If you do decide to purchase a solid cover, remember to clear them of snow and debris often.

Extra Costs

For smaller wells, plastic “bubble” window well covers come with a lesser price tag. Yet can deteriorate after just one season of intense weather, meaning you need to replace the cover frequently. These types of window well covers also generally do not reduce your liability. The plastic is thin enough to be cost-effective and prevent some water and debris from entering the well. Yet the plastic, being so thin, is not conducive to supporting the weight of an animal or child. These types of covers are not great for high traffic areas despite their initial low price tag.

Most solid custom made polycarbonate covers for larger wells offer more strength than bubble covers, however, the material is very expensive which can drive up the costs.  These window well covers, to fit correctly need to be custom measured, manufactured, and installed. All that labor adds to your costs and lengthens your timeline.

A Better Solution

We wanted a better solution for you, Adjust-A-Grate window well covers were designed to allow the homeowner to enjoy all the benefits of their window well while reducing the safety hazards large open window wells present.

With Adjust-A-Grates the homeowner receives a window well cover with a custom fit that allows fresh air, and natural light. All complete with the strength to protect homeowners and their families and friends. Made of lightweight tempered aluminum, these grates will never rust or require painting. Plus we back our product with a 10 Year Warranty.

Adjust-A-Grates sit inside the opening of the window well and basically remain flush with the top of the well, offering you an unobtrusive custom grate solution at an affordable price. Most grates are in stock and ready to ship same day. We also offer an optional Security Kit with Quick Release for added security.

If you’d like to see if our grates are right for you, please visit the product information page here.