Egress Windows 101

Thursday, July 5th, 2018 by Amanda Waldmann

If you’ve ever renovated a basement or even thought about it, you’ve probably heard the term “egress window.” But what is it? How is it different from a regular window, and why is it a requirement for so many renovations? Hopefully you’ve had these questions, otherwise, the rest of this blog is going to be extremely uninteresting.


What is it?


Fun fact, “egress” literally means “exit” or “to exit,” so it makes sense that an egress window is a window that’s both big enough and placed properly in order to create an exit from a basement.


Why is it needed?


Fire code requires a bedroom to have two exit routes - usually the stairs to the main floor and an egress window - which is why you most often hear about egress windows in relation to adding bedrooms or other living space to your finished basement.


Given that the name just means “exit window,” there are some size requirements for an egress window. First off, the bottom of the window can’t be more than 44” off the ground - after all, the main purpose of this is to be able to escape during a fire, which would be difficult if you first needed a ladder. The window must also be at least 20” wide and 24” tall, although it can certainly be larger. If the bottom of the egress window is below ground (which is generally the case with basement windows), it also has to have a well with steps or a ladder.


What are the benefits?


Other than complying with fire code and the obvious escape route ease, egress windows are an excellent source of light. Basements, even nicely finished ones, can feel closed in and dark, but the addition of an egress window or two lets in a ton of light and transforms a finished basement into just regular living space.


Here’s an interior view of an egress window post-installation and pre-wall finishing:

Egress Windows 101 - Image 1

We have a variety of window and well options to give you the look you want with the safety and convenience you need. Call today and ask about adding an egress window to your basement.


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