Egress windows are ground-level basement windows that provide access to the outside. In many areas, these safety windows are required by law according to local building codes, as they can be used as an escape route in case of an emergency in the house like a fire. They can also provide natural light into a finished basement, making the space more comfortable and less dreary.
Egress Windows for Finished Basements
Not every basement needs egress windows. Basements that are not used as living space do not require the installation of an egress window. Basements that are remodeled to become finished, usable living spaces may require the installation of one or more egress windows depending on the local building code. The installation of an egress window should be calculated into the cost of finishing a basement space, as a finished basement without one will be out of compliance with the local safety code.
Egress Window Requirements
A functional safety egress window must be large enough that a person can fit through it in the event of a fire or other home emergency. The window must either slide open or open in some other way so that a person can get out quickly. Egress windows that are positioned higher up toward the basement ceiling must also include some type of ladder or steps to make them more easily accessible.
Depending on the type of foundation the house is sitting on and whether a part of the foundation is above ground or it is completely underground, egress window installation may require the additional installation of an egress well and wall. An egress well, which is supported by an egress wall to prevent the well from collapsing, is an area dug out in front of the window in an underground basement that provides enough space for someone to exit through the window.
Because egress windows are usually installed into the sides of the existing foundation structure of a house, it is critical that they are put in by foundation experts who can do so without causing unnecessary damage to the foundation.
Contact AAA Basement & Foundation about safety egress window installation when planning a basement renovation project, or simply wishing to add more natural light to a basement space.
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