Converting a conventional basement into living space is probably the least expensive way to add useable square footage to a home. My company, Tri-State Basement Systems, helps homeowners realize this extra space. As specialists in basement waterproofing and foundation repair — and as a Bilco ScapeWel dealer and installer — we install several ScapeWels every year.

These oversized plastic window wells provide below-grade rooms with extra light and ventilation. Even more important, their built-in steps allow occupants to get out of the basement and away from the house in an emergency. For my money, installing a ScapeWel (203/934-6363, www.bilco.com) is the easiest way to satisfy code requirements for a...

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