If you are remodeling or building a new basement, chances are it will need to have an egress window.
Many people have started a new basement project without realizing that egress windows are required to be installed.
It’s important to plan ahead of time and include the purchase and installation costs of an egress window as they are required as per the residential building codes.
The building codes explain the required dimensions for Egress windows.
What is an egress window?
An egress window is a window that’s large enough for someone to use as an escape route from a room, particularly a living room or bedroom, in case of an emergency, such as a fire.
When most people think of an egress window, they think of a big window installed in a finished basement.
However, egress windows can also be installed in bedrooms or living areas throughout the house.
They’re an especially good idea for any area of the house that’s far away from a door.
Egress windows aren’t only an excellent safety device.
Because of their size, these windows tend to let in a lot of natural light, so they can make a space, particularly a basement space, brighter and can help the area feel roomier.
To install an egress window in a basement living space, which is often located underground, it’s best to dig down and remove the earth from near the foundation of the house.
This dug-out area is often several square feet in size, and decorative cinderblock or another type of frame is often built into the edges of the area to create an open space in front of the window.
This open space can be decorated or equipped in a number of ways.
Some people prefer a simple design with steps or a ladder leading up to ground level, providing an easy escape if there’s an emergency.
Other people decorate the area with plants, flowers, or other decorations to make sure that the view from the window is pleasant.
As long as it’s still easy to climb out of the window and up to ground level, the decorative options for an egress window are endless.
When it comes to choosing an egress window, you have a few options, so you can select a window that fits with the style of the house.
You can choose a wide, short window that slides up to open, much like an average bedroom window.
Or, you can select a slightly taller, more narrow window that opens on a hinge like a door.
Do I need an egress window?
Egress windows aren’t simply decorative.
They’re also often a required element in construction.
If you’re finishing a basement and any part of that basement will be used as a bedroom or living space, and there isn’t already a door or window large enough to function as an egress window, you’ll need to install one in order to pass a home inspection.
If your space is small or only includes one bedroom, you may only be required to install one window.
However, if you want to let in more light, you can always install egress windows in several locations, such as the bedroom, living room, and kitchen.
Older homes most likely won’t have an egress window installed that is up to code and meet the requirements.
If you live in an older home, you will need to have proper egress windows installed.
What are the dimensions of an egress window?
If you’re installing an egress window, the dimensions must meet certain requirements in order to qualify as an escape route.
The window opening needs to have a minimum width of 20 inches. In addition, the opening itself needs to be at least 24 inches tall. Remember that these measurements are just for the opening, not only the glass of the window, so if you’re using a window that slides up to open, you may need to double this size. Also, the window opening can’t be any more than 44 inches from the floor.
Otherwise, it would be too high up for someone to easily climb out of.
How large does an egress window opening need to be?
Regardless of the dimensions of the exact egress window you’re using, the window must have an opening large enough for an adult person to easily climb through.
The opening must be 5.7 square feet.