When your home was originally built without finishing the basement, the area was not considered a livable space. There would have been no need to put in a window that could be used as an emergency exit because of this. If you have recently decided to finish your basement, you may be caught off guard with the requirements to put in an egress window to meet the current building code. Here is what you need to know about egress windows.
When Are Egress Windows Required?
Many people have the misconception that an egress window only needs to be installed if you are transforming a basement into a bedroom. The truth is that egress windows are required for more than just basements. Any time a basement is converted to a space where people are going to be living, such as a playroom for your kids or a den, an egress window is required. This is because the window acts as an emergency exit in the basement in case of an emergency, such as a fire.
What Are The Requirements For An Egress Window?
An egress window must be capable of letting somebody escape your basement without using any special tools to do so. For instance, the window can't be so high off the basement floor that a small child would only be able to reach it with a ladder. It cannot require a special key to open the window from the inside. If there are bars on the window, they must be removable from the inside without using tools to do so. If the window well is deep, there must be a ladder built into the window well to allow people to climb out.
If your window does not meet these requirements, it is not considered an egress window.
What Kind Of Windows Can Be Used For An Egress Window?
Egress windows will have specific size requirements, so be sure to check with your city's building codes to ensure it is the correct size.
A casement window will be best to use in a basement of all the different kinds of windows. This is because the casement window has a very wide opening, making it easy for someone to get out through the window. A double-hung window can be used but is not ideal. Usually, because the window must be fairly big for it to be considered an egress window, requiring the window to be much bigger than you anticipated can be costly.
For more info about egress windows, speak with a local window contractor like Leger Siding for advice.