Home Improvement Blog

What is an egress window and do I need one?

Posted by Bill Bateman on Sat, Mar 06, 2021 @ 07:19 AM

A common question hear all the time is "what is an egress window" ? Essentially an egress window is a fire escape window for any occupied finished basement in the country. The requirement became part of the International Residential Code in 1997 that all basements require an egress window. From experience throughout the years I have concluded that about 90% of our calls are from customers that are looking to sell or in the middle of selling and find they are in violation. Not installing one will hold up the closing of your home which in some cases can be months which can be a huge burden on both buyer/seller.

 

Customers always ask what is involved and what is the cost of an egress window. Many different factors play into the cost and installation. On average an egress window ranges 3k-5k within reason. Not a bad investment considering the work involved and what you get for it. Just peace in mind is worth it knowing that your loved ones will be protected in case of an emergency.

What are the requirements of an egress window?:

  • Minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet
  • Minimum net clear opening height of 24"
  • Minimum net clear opening width of 20"
  • Window well must be 9 square feet
  • Maximum 44" sill height from finished floor
  • Maximum 44" height from inside window well
  • Any heights over 44" require a ladder installed
  • Ladders shall be affixed permanently with width of at least 12 inches; shall project at least 3" from wall and ladder treads should not exceed 18" on center
     

What can determine the cost when installing an egress window?:

  • Block wall or poured concrete wall
  • Access to the location where window is
  • Amount of digging depth
  • Removal of excess dirt off of premises
  • Finish the interior or not
  • Add a Bilco preformed egress window well
  • Removal of trees in front of location where window is to be installed

 

Commonly asked questions:

  • How long will it take to install an egress window? Typically 2-5 days
  • Will there be any dust during the project? Yes, as with any construction you can expect some dust. We have a system though that keeps dust at nominal levels
  • What if there are any gas/water/electrical lines in wall? We will move at an additional cost; unfortunately we cannot determine that until wall has been opened
  • Will not having an egress window hold up my closing? Absolutely, if you have a finished basement you need one and 90% of our calls are for this reason
  • Will an egress window increase the value of my home? Any upgrade will increase the value. Besides more ventilation and light, you bring your basement to code and also protect your loved ones in case of an emergency
  • What kind of window will you be using? We use an Anderson 400 series casement window with a 22" net clear opening

Installing an egress window will also improve light and ventilation for your basement. Basements are always a breeding ground for mold and mildew as they are underground and create moisture. Adding light and ventilation will cut down your chances of toxic mold and mildew forming. Many people add a dehumidifier also to help remove moisture from their basement especially during the hot humid months of summer. Weather you are looking to sell or keep your home, an egress window is a great investment that brings safety and added value to your home!!!

 

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Topics: General Contractor, construction-general, bathrooms, Construction, basements, drainage, anderson, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, backhoe, fire escape