Homes with basements sometimes have what are called egress windows, those openings at the top of the basement wall that appear below ground level on the outside of the house.
Useful for providing natural light into the basement so the space is more usable, these openings are also an important safety feature as a fire escape route.
If you are having a basement egress window put in, pay attention to these window selection tips.
Be sure to install the right egress casement windows so they are functional yet do not cause any unintentional damage to the structure!
1. Choose A Window
For an egress window to safely satisfy its primary function as an emergency exit, choose a style of window with glass that either slides to the side or opens in or out.
Most often the determination is made when preparing an estimate for the egress window.
The decision is usually made to use an egress window that slides side to side and is large enough for someone to go through to escape the basement.
2. Insist On Cutting with Cored And Ground Corners
Installing a basement egress window requires cutting the concrete foundation wall.
Unless this is done correctly by coring and grinding the corners, it could cause the foundation wall to start cracking over time.
This happens when concrete saws alone are used to cut the foundation and the round saw blade leaves extended cuts that go beyond the window frame.
A cored and ground installation starts by drilling holes in the corners of the installation area, then using those openings to grind out the corners so the concrete saw can then go in and cut without going beyond the exact opening needed for the casement frame.
3. Drains Are Essential for Egress Windows
Because egress windows are technically installed below ground level in openings that are dug away from the foundation, they can fill up with water if not properly designed.
Water collecting in the basins in front of these windows can cause severe damage as they are not designed to withstand the pressure of the water, especially if it freezes.
Instead, the company doing the installation should install a drain at the bottom of each egress basin to prevent water from collecting in the space.
Be sure to keep drains clean and free from debris that could prevent them from draining.
4. Install Window Well Liners
Another important protective component to install with basement egress windows are window well liners to prevent the soil around the opening from expanding or collapsing.
In areas where the soil absorbs high amounts of water, this can cause freezing in winter that destabilizes the entire window installation or the opening could begin to fill over time.
A galvanized metal well liner provides an easy and inexpensive way to prevent all of that from happening.
These liners are available in standard recommended sizes for digging out the well area so it is large enough for a person to actually pass through the window and escape the basement.
5. Install A Security Cover
After installing high-quality egress windows and putting in drains and window well liners, be sure to cover the well with a transparent security cover.
Security covers keep the wells dry and free of debris, prevent children and small animals from falling in, and prevent access to the window from the outside.
Security covers are designed to quickly open up from the inside to facilitate exiting the basement while protecting the well area the rest of the time.
Thinking Of Installing Basement Egress Windows?
Egress windows along the top wall of your basement provide natural light into this usually dark space and are an important safety feature for any home with a basement as well as a requirement if the basement area is going to be used as an extra bedroom.
If you are considering having basement egress windows installed in your home, be sure to work with an experienced contractor who can do the job correctly.
Egress windows equipped with drains, liners, and covers properly installed by a contractor make a home safer and more useful without the risk of costly foundation damage!