Four Reasons You Need Egress Windows

If you are finishing your basement or adding a bedroom, you need to consider adding an egress window. “Egress” simply means to exit, and an egress window is a window that is installed in below-ground spaces to provide a way to escape if needed. There are some situations when an egress window is legally required, but you may also want to add one anyway to improve your space.

Egress Windows are Required by Law

Any bedroom needs to have a window that is large enough for a person to get through. Most states follow the International Building Code, which requires that any “habitable” space, whether it is a basement bedroom, attic bedroom, or bedroom on the main level of the house, has a window that opens fully to allow escape. In places like the basement where escape routes are limited, the code is very specific about the size of your escape window.

Depending on your zip code, the requirements for an egress opening vary. Most of the time, a window is your most suitable option. Generally speaking, the requirements are as follows:

  • The retreat must have anet clear openingof 5.7 square feet, at a minimum. If you are not aware, a net clear opening refers to the free space when the window is open. It doesn’t apply to the opening size or the glass panel size. It pertains tothe actual opening a person can crawl through.Code officials want the exit to be large enough so emergency workers can safely move through the window in case of an emergency.
  • The opening height and width must be at least 24 inches by 20 inches, respectively.
  • The bottom of the “clear opening” has to be within 44 inches of the floor.
  • The window must be fully functional without keys or tools.If you are adding a bedroom to your basement or attic, you need to install an egress window.

Fire Safety

In the event of a fire in your home, everyone needs to be able to escape quickly. You do not want to be trapped in your basement during a fire! An egress window is necessary so that you can exit safely. It also provides a way in for emergency personnel if a rescue is required.

Even if you do not plan to add a bedroom to your basement, installing an egress window can increase your home’s value when you sell. Buyers love the option to add rooms.

Air Circulation

An egress window increases air ventilation, which is extremely important for your health. A quality ventilation system throughout your home can reduce the risk of several health issues. These include asthma, allergies, and headaches.

When the air inside can’t mix with outdoor air, indoor pollutants can severely affect your home’s air quality. Dust and other irritants can trigger particular allergic reactions. When there is healthy airflow in your house, you will reduce the triggers of these and many other common respiratory problems.

Natural Light

Basements and attics are not known for their bright lighting. By adding an egress window, you allow a large amount of natural light to enter the space. This helps the space feel more comfortable.

Egress Windows from Smart Foundation Systems

Escape systems might be a home safety requirement, but you don’t have to sacrifice your basement’s appeal to comply with code! You can build egress windows to suit your tasteful sensibilities and decor. The built-in steps Smart Foundation Systems has to offer are subtle and unobtrusive, so your living space’s aesthetic doesn’t have to suffer. We also have a wide range of window treatments perfect for egress windows, from shutters to stained glass to light draperies. Contact us today for a quote.


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