Egress Window Contractor
What Is an Egress Window?
Legal Bedrooms have code requirements that need to be fulfilled with the installation of a means of Egress Window.
An egress window looks just like a regular large window, but opens fully to allow a building’s inhabitants to escape in the event of an emergency, such as a fire. Egress windows are required in all finished basements before they can be legally converted into a living space. And the dimensions of egress windows must comply with International Residential Code (IRC) requirements and local building codes.
Fortunately, egress windows offer benefits beyond their primary escape function, like increasing natural lighting and ventilation.
The area directly outside the egress window’s opening also must meet certain requirements. And an egress window installed below ground level (also known as “below grade”) requires a “window well.”
What Is a Window Well?
A window well is a rectangular or half-circle shield that sits inside an excavated portion of the earth surrounding a below-ground basement window. They’re typically made of galvanized steel or polyethylene, and feature flanges on either side that fasten to your home’s foundation.
Both regular below-grade basement windows and egress windows use window wells for protection against the damaging effects of rocks, dirt and moisture. An egress window well must be larger than regular wells to provide ample space for inhabitants to easily escape. And it may also require a ladder if the well is too deep for someone to easily climb out.
Egress Window and Well Safety and Considerations
Although egress window local building codes may vary slightly by region, an egress window must at least meet the following IRC standards:
- It must provide a clear and unobstructed opening of at least 5.7 square feet.
- It must have a clear and unobstructed opening that’s at least 24 inches tall and 20 inches wide.
- The bottom of the clear opening can’t be any higher than 44 inches from the floor.
- It must be capable of opening without any tools.
- A window well must be installed if the window is below grade.
An egress window well needs to meet the following specifications:
- Must provide at least nine square feet of space.
- Must be at least 36 inches long and wide.
- Must be equipped with a ladder if the well is deeper than 44 inches below grade.
- The ladder must be at least 12 inches wide. It can’t encroach more than six inches into the well but needs to be at least three inches away from the back wall. And the distance between the step rungs can’t exceed 18 inches.
Installing a below-grade egress window entails digging to remove enough dirt to accommodate the large window well. On top of that, you will need to cut an opening for the window through the foundation into your basement, and an improper cut can be difficult and expensive to repair. Hiring a professional like Nova Construction Pro, LLC can ensure your project is up to code and professionally done.