A Complete Guide to Egress Windows and their Importance
A fully finished basement increases the value of your home. It also substantially expands the usable living space of your house. A basement is an ideal space for a playroom, office, media room, or even a workout space, therefore, while working on your basement, it is important to familiarize yourself with the requirements of an egress window to ensure safe construction of the entire project.
An egress window also serves as an emergency exit in dire situations. It also serves as an entry for firefighters and medical personnel during emergencies. The shape and size of the window are determined by the state and local laws set by the government. Contact basement egress window contractor and optimize your basement.
What is an Egress Window?
An egress window is essential for a basement. It should be large enough to enter or exit in case of an emergency. The required size of the window depends on the location. It is usually dependent on the decisions of the International Residential Code (IRC). However, some jurisdiction has certain additional requirements when it comes to the construction of egress windows.
In most cases, an egress window is not higher than 44 inches above the floor. It has a window well with a horizontal projection of 36 inches if below the ground level. It can be opened from the inside without keys or any kind of special tools, even if there are bars installed. The egress window has an opening of at least 5.7 square feet and normally, there is a ladder attached if the well is deeper than 44 inches.
Other measurements depend on the size of the basement where the window will be installed. The measurements are crucial as they account for the maximization of natural lights and ventilation. Some homeowners also opt for casement windows. This style is based on individual requirements!
Does Your Basement Need an Egress Window?
Most of the time, an egress window is a valid requirement. If you are thinking about converting your basement into a bathroom or a general room, a single egress window is needed. If you are planning to separate the basement into several habitable rooms, every room should have one egress window. If your basement already has an egress window, make sure that it matches with the rules as improvised by the IRC in 2006. for instance, previously, the required opening was supposed to be 5 square feet instead of the latest 5.7 square feet. At the same time, if the window is under a deck or a porch, it should have a gap of at least 48 inches between the top of the window and the bottom of the structure. It should also be visible from the outside in case it is needed for any kind of emergency. This is just the general requirement. The local and state laws might have some extra conditions based on the project and the homeowner’s needs. Therefore, it is important to seek the advice of the professional before opting for the project.
Types of Egress Windows
Egress windows are designed to do more than just what normal windows do. Apart from providing light, ventilation, and a view of the world, egress windows are also designed to help you escape in case of an emergency. The windows are designed for safety along with all the other functions.
Egress windows come in different styles. Therefore, you have several options to pick your design. Broadly speaking they can only be categorized into two styles.
Casement egress windows
These windows have a hinge on a side – either the top or the bottom, which allow it to be swung outwards. The casement egress windows with top hinges are called awning windows. They are uncommon as it is not easy to escape from these kinds of windows. As you are trying to climb out, gravity is working against you and pushing the window onto you.
Single-hung and double-hung egress windows
They have sliding slashes that move up and down in a vertical manner or even tilt outwards horizontally. Single-hung windows have a single sash at the bottom while double-hung ones have two sashes, both of which can be opened.
How to Install Egress Window
The egress windows are generally located high from the floor so they are often installed in the basement. According to the International Building Code, egress windows must be at least 5.7 square feet in size, at least 20 inches wide, and 24 inches in terms of height. The opening should also no less than 44 inches higher from the floor. It is a bit challenging to install an egress window as you cannot place them anywhere you like.
Adding more safety to your house is not a bad idea. However, the cost of the installation varies from place to place. Therefore, you should also be aware of it before deciding to build that feature in your house.