Home Improvement Blog

Code violations for basement egress window; 5 things you should know

Posted by william bateman on Fri, Jan 27, 2023 @ 05:08 AM

You have a home, and like most homes, you have a basement. Basements are a great addition to any home whether finished or not for providing extra space. When basements are finished you instantly add living square footage plus equity to your investment. Usually your foundation walls will be the same size of your home (Deduct for garages if you have them) leaving many finishing options. Entertaining area, play rooms, bedrooms, kitchen, storage, bathrooms, etc...... Another home under a home can all be added with all the amenities you can imagine. Basements can also be converted to mother/daughter living areas when approved by your local code enforcer. When performing any basement upgrade it is often overlooked to add an egress window. Egress window are a fire escape window installed for quick access during a time of emergency. Egress window aren't only for safety but allow for extra light and ventilation. National Building Code requires installation of egress windows for any bedroom in basement. Something to keep in mind when buying or selling a home is does the basement have a legal egress window.


5 things you should know about basement egress windows:

  • Window shall be minimum of 5.7 square feet
  • Net clear opening to be minimum 20 inches
  • Interior window sill height not to exceed 44 inches
  • Exterior window well interior dimensions to be a minimum of 9 square feet
  • Exterior window well depth not to exceed 44 inches without a solid fastened ladder installed


Fire is one of Mother Natures most powerful forces responsible for billions of dollars a year in damages and even deaths. Here in Orange County, NY firefighters respond to thousands of fire calls per year and the FDNY in New York City respond to on average of 2,200 structural fires per month. Leading cause of death from fire is smoke inhalation and inability to escape harms way. Egress windows, just like fire escape ladder systems, are installed for everyones safety during the time of dire need. Fires can easily reach temperates of 2,000+ degrees Fahrenheit quickly leaving anyone in a basement trapped without proper egress installed. Egress Window Codes are put in place for your safety in any home basement considered living area where you can sleep. In any basement it is advisable to have one installed for peace in mind to protect you and your loved ones.


Topics: Monroe NY, orange county ny, General Contractor, basements, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, excavating, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, excavator, fire escape, window, foundation, water damage

7 Waterproofing drainage solutions for a wet basement Orange County, NY

Posted by william bateman on Sat, Jan 14, 2023 @ 01:22 PM

Water is one Mother Natures strongest forces responsible for billions of dollars a year in damages around the country. Here in Orange County New York, part of the Hudson Valley region. we experience a full four seasons with a variety of precipitation throughout the year. Heavy rains and melting snows can leave our homes and properties a wet disaster. The geography of Orange County, NY is mostly made up of mountains and low lying valleys that make for unique weather at times. Weather systems we experience can be hard to predict at times especially due to the differences in atmospheric pressures at different elevations. Fast moving storms have the potential of heavy rains in a short duration of time causing runoff to be a concern while melting winter snows combined with spring rains cause ground water tables to rise. When runoff and ground waters combine, we experience hydrostatic pressure buildup which can potentially cause structural damage to you foundation and water infiltration into your basement. 


The water cycle is a unique system of recycling water throughout our ecosystem responsible for all organisms to sustain life on earth. It is essential for all homes to have some sort of drainage component to keep water from permeating into your basement, especially footing drains. Footing Drains are required by code for all homes built to keep all water, mostly ground water, moving away from your foundation. Hydrostatic pressure refers to water buildup around foundation walls and is a major cause of basement water problems. Water weighs slightly more that 60lbs per cubic foot. When the soils around your foundation walls become saturated with water , there could be tens of thousands of pounds of hydrostatic pressure buildup against your foundation. Excessive amounts of hydrostatic pressure could cause extreme damage and complete failure to the integrity of your home. In many cases damage goes unnoticed for years, especially in finished basements where foundation walls are hidden and water seepage cannot be detected visually.


Besides structural damages, toxic mold and mildew from permeating water can grow at a rapid rate. All basements render the perfect atmosphere for mold and mildew to spawn due to the moist natural environment they create, Installing a dehumidifier or Egress Window can greatly help in controlling high moisture in your basement. 


10 Signs of hydrostatic pressure in your home:

  • Musty odors in basement
  • Spotting different forms of bugs such as earwigs, carpenter ants, centipedes, pillbugs..... They are a good indicator that you may have cracks in your foundation.
  • Cracks, big or small, are the most noticeable signs that you may have a foundation issue. Odds are your home is being effected by pressure.
  • Foundation walls buckling or bowing, now is the time to act fast. The integrity of your structure may be at stake.
  • Visible water and/or moisture corners where concrete floor meets foundation wall.
  • Water and/or moisture permeating through foundation walls and/or cracks
  • Visible water and/or moisture infiltrating through concrete floor.
  • Visible mold and mildew on foundation walls.
  • Evidence of rotting support columns.
  • Basement window wells that fill with water.

Different waterproofing drainage solutions for your basement/property:

Footing Drains:

Footing drains are a major component for any home when it comes to removing unwanted water that causes hydrostatic pressure buildup. National Residential Building Codes require all homes built to have footing drains installed. Properly installed footing drains with adequate pitch and generous amounts of aggregate applied around pipes will keep water moving freely. Keeping water pressure from building up is crucial for a dry basement. When footing drains are installed, it is also required to apply foundation coating to exterior of foundation walls and encase aggregate with filter fabric. Four inch corrugated pipes must drain out to daylight or a sewer drain. Properties without sufficient grade to drain elsewhere may need installation of a Dry Well to transport liquids to dissipate back into the ground. 

Curtain Drains:

Curtain drains are essentially in ground gutter systems used for containing and removing unwanted water around your home and property. Trenches are excavated usually around 18-24 inches deep and in some cases next to homes with excessive water can be dug as deep as the foundations footings. Standard installation procedures include excavation of a trench to proper grade and pitch, lining of filter fabric, installation of 4" corrugated pipe and trench filled with aggregate. Drains must discharged, like footing drains, to daylight, sewer drain or a dry well.




Swales make a great drainage component for containing water runoff onto your property, Basically an excavated trough, angled down to a divot that contains and removed water efficiently. When excavated, swales can be left for natural grass/swamp grass to grow or lined with filter fabric and riverstone applied. Swales have been used for centuries along rural roads and properties to contain runoff and storm waters. Also a common practice for farmers used to irrigate crops.



Sump Pumps:

Installation of a sump pump for a wet basement is very effective in removing unwanted water. Installed in your concrete floor using a sump pump basin and high flow pump, sump pumps help relieve hydrostatic pressure before reaching high levels. Ground water tables can rise dramatically  especially noticeable after heavy winter snows that combine with spring rains. Orange County, NY is also well known for severe thunderstorms and occasional hurricanes that can bring strong systems to the area with high liquid equivalents. A battery backup and/or generator may be a good investment for your sump pump in the case of an electrical outage. Sump pumps may also be used in conjunction with interior French drain systems. As water flows into sump pump basin. pump is engaged by a float switch that activates when water has reached a set level and removes water quickly from basement to be discharged outside.



Gutter Downspouts:

Gutters are found on most homes to remove waters from roof and into downspouts that discharge liquids away from the home. After water is collected, it is the job of the downspout to discard water quickly and efficiently. If gutters and downspouts are clogged, obviously their function is compromised. Gutters and downspouts should be clean inspected at least once a year in fall after leaves have fallen. Before winter is a good time to inspect roof for any potential leaks or any evidence that may render a new roof installation.

Dry Wells:

Dry well are used for containing water diverted from another source such as drainage systems or grey water. In footing drains, curtain drains and/or gutter downspouts, dry wells may be used if you do not have enough grade on property to relieve water to daylight. Other applications may be for diverting grey water from laundry and/or slop sinks to avoid contamination of your septic system if you have one. Heavy laundry detergents kill off good bacteria needed to maintain a healthy ecosystem in you septic system allowing solids to breakdown properly. Waters are routed to the dry well where they will permeate back into the soils.



Drylok is an interior application for coating interior foundation walls when moisture is evident. Block and cinder block walls are more porous than poured foundation walls but Drylok is always a recommended application for either especially before finishing a basement. Product claims to stop water pressure up to 15 psi which is nominal to the pressure buildup that can occur outside of your foundation walls. Recommended is two generous coats filling in all voids and holes. Cracks will be needed to be filled in preferably with hydraulic cement prior to applying Drylok.


Protecting your home and property from heavy weather systems can give you peace in mind for when these variety of systems hit. Your home may be one of your largest investments and maintaining and building equity with a well equipped drainage system will help before damage is too late.

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Topics: Monroe NY, orange county ny, General Contractor, Construction, basements, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, excavating, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, septic, septic systems, backhoe, excavator, fire escape, foundation, water damage

Selling or buying home and need an egress window installed? 5 requirements you should know

Posted by william bateman on Sat, Dec 31, 2022 @ 04:58 PM

      Are you in the process of buying and/or selling your home?Does the home you are buying/selling does have an egress window? Are violations holding up your sale or purchase? In that case you have visited the right site when having to install an egress window when buying or selling your home!!!!


You are in the middle of buying or selling your home and get hit with a violations report that brings everything to a standstill. Happens more often than you may think and an issue that we deal with quite often. While many different violations may come up, egress windows comes to the top of the list when it comes to basements especially finished basements. Egress windows are require in all basements that are deemed livable, mostly finished basements fit into this category, especially when bedroom(s) are added. You may asking, what is an egress window? In simple terms it is basically an escape window installed in the case of an emergency to keep you and you loved ones safe.

When did egress windows become a requirement?

You can see dates that bo back to the 1960's where egress became a concern with building departments. Some municipalities put in place more of a regional code enforced by local inspectors in whom observed the safety concerns by not obtaining a window and/or door for means of egress. In general the issue was for the most part overlooked for decades to come. In 1997 egress windows became part of the International Residential Code requiring all basement bedrooms to have obtain a form of egress. Decades ago most basements weren't converted to living area. Now over the years many people finish basements adding bedrooms, bathrooms, wet bars, entertainment areas, etc.... Most all basements today are converted to living area and new homes are being built with higher foundations in foresight of being converted. Adding a finished basement instantly increasing your square footage living area plus boosting value to any home. 


Fire is one of natures most devastating force and responsible on average of 2,260 deaths each year. The majority of home fire deaths are contributed to smoke inhalation and the inability to escape when disaster strikes. Nobody ever plans on a house fire, nor do many take the precautionary steps in the event of an unpredictable tragedy to occur. A home fire that starts on a first floor above a basement creates an inescapable inferno and unfortunately lead to the inevitable. Especially in the case trapped alone with nobody knowing your whereabouts, firefighters will not be able to determine that someone is in great danger. Finally after decades of unnecessary deaths and injuries that could have been prevented, the IRC took action to put into code and enforce egress windows in basements.


What are IRC requirements for an egress window :

  • Window must be 5.7 square ft
  • Window must have net clear of 20" when fully open with casement or 24" with a double hung
  • Interior window sill height from floor not to exceed 44"
  • Exterior window well to be minimum 9 square feet from interior of well
  • Exterior height from inside of window well to grade not to exceed 44"(if over 44" a ladder is to be installed inside window well)


Installing an egress window adds value instantly by protecting you and your loved ones during a dire event plus adds value in general to your home. In fact I've been told by many real estate agents that buyers are less likely to buy a home with any known violations and safety issues.  Off topic, another concern when selling or buying is a leaky/moist basement. Basements are underground and highly susceptible to water infiltration usually contributed to failing footing drains, exterior breakdown of foundation coatings, cracks in floors and/or walls, improper gutter downspouts, etc...... Basements are naturally damn and moist area of almost any home and perfect environment for toxic mold and mildew to grow rampant. Adding an egress window to your basement doesn't only add safety but will give you the much needed light and ventilation that will change the environment and promote a healthier atmosphere.

How long does an egress window installation take?:

On average, weather permitting, 2-3 days on average to fully install window and window well. Window location is obviously the first step in determining  and usually try to incorporate new window where there is an existing window. Excavating area outside of window comes next and depending on soil will be a factor in how fast that can be performed. Third is cutting through foundation wall which could take a few hours. This process is performed with a special concrete wet saw to make a clean cut straight through foundation wall. Fourth frame is constructed and new window installed. Fifth and final is install window well in place. Afterwards all dirt will be graded on property or removed upon request. Further and foremost, if basement is finished inside, additional work will need to be performed.

 Installing an egress window benefits all around with safety being #1 priority even if you aren't selling your home. When selling, keep in mind there is a very good chance of an issue that surfaces in a violations report. Before a buyer can purchase, seller must address all violations. Buyers should also be aware that even if violation does not surface during the sale it may be inherited when you resell. Here at WMB Construction we have all the tools and experience needed to complete your project in a clean and timely fashion.

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Topics: orange county ny, construction-general, basements, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, excavating, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, fire escape, foundation

5 Best basement drainage components for your home that help keep a basement dry in Orange County, NY

Posted by william bateman on Wed, Dec 14, 2022 @ 08:58 AM

Nothing is worse for your home than underlying water issues created by one of mother natures most powerful forces, water. Water is responsible for billions if not trillions of dollars in damages each year. Many of us think about water and know it comes from the sky never understanding where it goes when it make contact with earth. It's what you don't see that can be confusing. In this article we will go over the process of absorption and ground water tables along with drainage components that help relieve water issues.


Here in Orange County, NY; one of the 10 counties that make up the Hudson Valley can experience severe weather at times. Weather systems come and go year round in many different forms throughout the seasons. These systems can bring heavy snows, thunderstorms, occasional hurricanes, torrential downpours, wind storms, etc...... Your Roof is a main component on your home to protect from the harsh elements and shed water away but where does it go after? Well, I think that is pretty common knowledge that the force of gravity pulls water down to the ground, but then it just magically disappears? In most cases water is quickly absorbed into your soil depending on the perc of soil on your property. Once in the soil it meets with an entire underground, unseen, water system. The underground water system is a major part of our ecosystem that helps sustain life life as we know it supplying water for our trees and crops and the water we drink. The ground acts a filtration system as water goes through the soil and rock beds to feed our wells and helps replenish our lakes and reservoirs. Water that isn't absorbed, especially during torrential downpours, can create massive runoff that feeds our streams, lakes, ponds, rivers, etc.... and all water returns to our oceans if not already evaporated to restart the process again.


What is Perc?:

Perc is used in the field as short for percolation and is the absorption rate of soils. Percolation tests are performed to calculate how quickly a known volume of water dissipates into the subsoil of a drilled hole of a known surface area. These tests may be required when installing a septic system or dry well on your property but can also be essential when installing any drainage system. In general, sandy soil will absorb more water than soil with high concentrations of clay or where high water tables are close to the surface. Once water percolation test has been performed you can calculate the amount of aggregate needed. Most common aggregate using in drainage projects is 3/4" crushed stone. Crushed stone acts natural drainage and in conjunction with pipe installed below grade keeps water moving fast and efficiently away from your home and property.

5 Best basement drainage components to help keep a basement dry:

  • Footing drains
  • Curtain drains
  • Sump pumps
  • Dry wells
  • Extended of buried gutter downspouts

During seasons with substantial moisture systems, ground water tables can drastically rise that result in hydrostatic pressure buildup. Hydrostatic pressure can reach as high as 33,000 psi putting immense strain on your foundation walls and basement floor. This can result in structural damage to your foundation walls. Hydrostatic pressure is also responsible for water infiltration into your home and with failing and/or inadequate footing drains you are at high risk.


What is hydrostatic pressure?

Hydrostatic pressure refers to the pressure that any fluid in a confined space exerts. It is the pressure that occurs when gravity pushes stagnant dense water against below grade walls built entirely or partially below the water table or even on a hillside. The deeper below grade and high soil saturation increases hydrostatic pressure dramatically. 

Where is hydrostatic pressure found:

Hydrostatic pressure is a result of standing or resting water that creates great force. Found mostly around your basement exterior walls in saturated soils from rising ground water tables. Hydrostatic pressure can also be found coming from runoff from a hill or mountain and when combined with ground water the pressure increases. Hydrostatic pressure may also be evident on wet areas of your property are wet and/or marshy but this can also be contributed to low areas on property with low water percolation.


What are some of the drainage components you can install?:

  • Footing drains(required in all homes built)
  • Curtain drains(removes unwanted water from property and away from home)
  • Extended or buried gutter downspouts
  • Sump pumps
  • Dry wells
  • Swales
  • French drains


Sump pumps are a great way to relieve ground water pressure inside of your basement installed into your concrete floor below grade. Preferably they are installed at the lowest point of basement floor(this can be determined using a laser level) and used to remove ground water before reaching damaging levels to the outside of your home. During severe storms, sump pumps are proven to be very helpful. Something to remember tho, during severe weather there are high risks for power outages, so a battery backup is recommended. 

How to properly install footing drains:

  • Excavated dirt from exterior of foundation down to footings of home
  • Clean exterior of foundation walls and apply a foundation water sealing coating
  • Install 4" perforated pipe at base of footing with holes facing down(recommended filter fabric sock around pipe)
  • Apply sufficient amount of aggregate around pipe
  • Wrap aggregate in filter fabric
  • Backfill and grade soil back around foundation

What is a curtain drain?

A curtain drain is essentially an in ground gutter system designed to remove unwanted water from your property and/or home. Removal of water from your property in close proximity to your home greatly reduces the possible water pressure buildup and chances of water infiltration that can cause water damage.



How to properly install a curtain drain:

  • Excavate a trench down approximately 18-24 inches
  • Apply a base of aggregate into trench
  • Install 4" corrugated pipe on top of aggregate pitched to daylight or dry well if you don't have enough grade.
  • Preferably install filter fabric sock around pipe
  • Apply more aggregate over pipe up to grade leaving aggregate exposed(in some applications sand with light topsoil can be added if you don't want to see exposed aggregate and grow grass instead)

Installing a swale on your property:

Certain properties especially ones with large hillsides and mountains, a swale may be created to stop water runoff from saturating the soils on your lawn. Also, like the curtain drain, a swale is an excavated gutter into the soil to catch unwanted water runoff. A quick, efficient solution for fixing water issues in yards that contains unwanted water. In some cases, swamp grass can be added to your swale to soak up water and create a facade to hide the swale. Other applications you can add river rock to your swale or just leave it as is. Eventually something will grow within the marsh.


Protecting your home from water damage can all be achieved with the proper drainage components installed. When all used in conjunction, these systems will help you achieve a dry lawn and home. Now, not every home needs all components installed as every property is different. It must be identified the causes for water pressure and absorption rates along with where possible Walter infiltration may be occurring before establishing what system or systems to use. Nobody wants a wet, moldy, musty basement especially one that can create hazardous conditions and cause possible health ailments. 

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Topics: General Contractor, basements, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, backhoe, foundation

5 Benefits of installing an egress window/Orange County, NY

Posted by william bateman on Sat, Dec 10, 2022 @ 07:34 AM

Fire is one of natures most destructive forces all around the world causing billions of dollars a year in damages and thousands of unnecessary deaths per year in the United States. Interesting fact, earth is the only known planet where fire can burn. Fire is the rapid oxidation of material in the exothermic process of releasing light, heat and many different reacting products. There is a certain point in the combustion reaction process in what is call the ignition point which and when reached flames ignite. This becomes potentially dangerous and potentially deadly if caught off guard and/or properly prepared.


7 facts about fire:

  • Fire is a chemical reaction that releases heat and light
  • Fire requires heat, oxygen and fuel to burn
  • Fire is an occurrence or event, not a thing...
  • Assuming stable heat, fuel and oxygen levels, a typical house fire will become twice the size with every passing minute
  • Earth is the only known planet with enough oxygen to sustain fire
  • Spontaneous combustion is real. Some sources can generate their own heat  like rotting wood for instance. Even old newspapers and magazines along with compost piles and gas cans
  • Fires like forest fires move uphill faster than downhill and same with a home  fire that started In the basement will quickly move to your roof consuming the entire home at a rapid rate.


3 different ways fire can be stopped:

  • Removing the fuel source by exhausting or taking it away
  • Remove oxygen by exhausting or taking it away
  • Removing heat by saturating it with water


Beneficial tips in case of a basement fire in case of emergency:

  • Identify sources of egress also known as escape routes
  • Installing fire rated doors on utility rooms
  • Do not block any sources of egress at at time
  • Always have a mounted fire extinguisher ready
  • Do not store any highly combustible items in basement or any items near a heat source even outlets especially overloaded outlets



National building codes across the country require installation of egress windows in any finished basement with a bedroom. In my opinion any basement should have an egress window installed due to the fact that at any given moment you can be trapped in your basement with no forms of escape. Having an egress window could mean life or death for you and your loved ones which in the same aspect why fire escapes are installed on high rise buildings. 

Building code requirements for a legal egress window:

  • Window must be minimum 5.7 sq. ft.
  • Window must have minimum 20" net clear when open
  • Exterior window well must be 9 sq. ft.
  • Inside of exterior window well depth not to exceed 44" without installation of a ladder
  • Inside of interior, window well not to exceed 44" sill height from basement floor

Benefits of installing an egress window:

  • Peace in mind you and your loved ones will be safe in time of emergency 
  • Added light
  • Better ventilation
  • Humidity and moisture control
  • Added value to your home

Like noted before, fire is an unpredictable force of nature that is extremely dangerous and potentially deadly. With the proper steps, installations and educated decisions you can help protect yourself and your loved ones from harms way. An egress window installation takes about 2-3 days and comes with a lifetime of protection. WMB CONSTRUCTION has been performing egress window installations all around Orange County, NY and Sullivan County, NY for many years along with all your home improvement needs. 

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Topics: orange county ny, basements, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, excavating, improvements, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, backhoe, excavator, fire escape, foundation

5 main drainage components to protect your home and property in Orange County, NY

Posted by william bateman on Wed, Dec 07, 2022 @ 12:07 PM

We are here today to go over your home and property drainage components. Most of us with homes have experienced some kind of water issues whether it may be a roof, leaky faucet or toilet, water heater, roof, etc..... but wanna focus on basements and outside ground water that can potentially infiltrate your home and cause immense damage to your homes structures and valuables you may have inside. Water damage is responsible for billions of dollars a year in damages that can cause a great number of issues not only to your homes structure but can potentially create hazardous environments that affect your health. May seem extreme but most of the time, especially if your basement is finished, you cannot tell you have water damage until the damage has been done. Another factor is if your basement is fully underground surrounded by saturated soils you may have a higher risk of water and/or water permeation.


Damage like this is quite common in basements with insufficient drainage. In a finished basement the damage would be hidden behind your walls creating mold and mildew not only to the foundation walls but your sheetrock, insulation and wall studs. Cement and cinder block foundations are the most susceptible due to their porous nature as poured foundations are far less porous not allowing water to permeate as easily. Evidence of water damage on the walls is more likely associated with runoff water that saturates the soil and infiltrates through walls due to failing exterior foundation coating. Evidence of water and/or moisture in the corners of foundation walls where meets concrete floor is evident your footing drains have failed and ground water has created hydrostatic pressure from rising water tables. Footing drains are your homes main drainage component to remove water from your footings and foundation walls. Failing footing drains largely increases the risk of water infiltration and structural damage to your foundations integrity due to water pressure buildup. Damaging water can reach as high as 33,000 psi causing great strain.


As water tables rise from the ground combined with water runoff the force of pressure can be crucifying to your foundations structure resulting in complete failure requiring replacement which can be very costly. Block and cinder block walls are more susceptible to failure and have less integrity than a poured foundation but both run the risk of damage. Common components can help relieve your water issues and when used in conjunction can greater lower your risks.

5 Key drainage components to protect your home and property:

  • Footing drains
  • Curtain drains
  • Sump pump
  • Extending downspouts away from home preferably underground if possible
  • Create a swale to catch runoff on your property 

You may not need all components considering your properties grades and depending on the perc of your grounds soil. First you will have to indicate where the source of water and/or moisture is coming from. Once indication is made then you can come up with a solution. Like noted previously, finished basements may be harder to spot where water and/or moisture has infiltrated as its hidden behind walls and/or flooring.


7 signs to look for in a potentially wet/moist basement:

  • Wet or moist walls
  • Water or moisture in corner of foundation walls where meets concrete floor
  • Water pooling and collecting outside of foundation from gutter downspouts 
  • Any basement window wells that may not drain properly during heavy rains
  • Musky smell in basement
  • Wet or damn carpet and/or warping wood/composite floors
  • Pooling water and/or grade of property sloping towards home
  • Visible water and/or moisture in any cracks of foundation walls or floors

Sump pumps can be a great drainage application to relieve ground water from hydrostatic pressure under the concrete slab of your basement floor. These are installed by cutting open concrete floor preferably at the lowest point of basements floor and installing a permeable catch basin with sump pump that drains to the exterior of your home. As water tables rise water will most likely go to the point of least resistance into the basin and removed outside quickly. Also to keep in mind when installing they run off electric and many times when needed the most during inclement weather electric goes out leaving pump useless. A battery backup is recommended in to avoid a foreseeable issue.


When its comes to your property itself you must determine if you have water issues surrounding your home. Low spots and wet marshy areas are a good indicator of water issues. Some may not effect your home at all beside just creating marshy wet areas but when drastic slopes cause runoff towards your home or low areas of water that pools near foundation these can be potential problems. Curtain drains are a great application for removing unwanted water on your property. Essentially curtain drains are in ground gutter systems that efficiently move water from one area of your property to another area away from the home. 


Wet marshy areas around property can also be contained building a swale. A swale is essentially another gutter type system dug into the ground to catch water runoff. Usually installed when you have a grade coming off a hill and to divert water. This system does not use a pipe, just an angled hole for water to catch and divert. You can also install filter fabric and river rock to your swale.

After going over the few components of drainage the idea is to identify if you you have a water problem and if so then where. Once determining where, then you can come up with a solution to address the issue involved. Like noted all applications may not be for your home and property and must be assessed to see what application is needed. Footing drains on the other hand are on every home built and is a national code requirement. Water must be removed from foundation walls and foundation walls must be sealed from the exterior, Proper installation always requires an adequate amount of aggregate usually a 3/4" gravel around a 4" corrugated pipe in conjunction with filter fabric for a properly functioning footing drain system and maintain longevity to keep water flowing away from foundation for years to come.

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Topics: orange county ny, General Contractor, basements, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, foundation, bi-level

DIY Basement Egress Window Installation

Posted by william bateman on Tue, Dec 06, 2022 @ 09:21 AM

Egress windows are required by national code for any finished basement with a bedroom essentially installed as a fire escape window in the case of emergency. In any scenario tho finished or not an egress window is a good idea to install for safety plus the added light and ventilation is a plus for any basement. While installation may be hard work and not for everyone with a little background experience and proper tools the dog-it-yourselfer can tackle it.

Tools you will need for installation:

  • Backhoe or excavator (unless digging by hand)
  • Concrete saw
  • Jackhammer
  • Power saw
  • Level and square
  • Shovel and pick
  • Staple gun
  • Caulk gun
  • Shovel and rake


When looking for placement of window usually try and go for a spot where there is usually a window already. This will make it less complicated to get through concrete wall and install. You can rent a concrete saw with a diamond blade and have saws too that can cut straight through eliminating a lot of the jackhammering involved. Getting through the wall is going to be the hardest part. 


5 things to know about egress window codes before starting:

  • Need a window at least 5.7 sq. ft.
  • Net clear of 20" when opened(I usually order window with larger net clear of 22")
  • No more than 44" inside sill height from basement floor
  • 9 sq. ft. minimum inside dimensions of window well installed
  • No more than 44" depth inside window well without a ladder installed


When ordering an egress window, most every application will work best by using a casement window. You will next have to determine the swing of the window left or right and do so by situating an emergency where you want the window to open clear to a safe place off property. Next is choosing a window well outside of your egress window. You can easily construct your own like in the video using 6x6 pressure treated lumber or Bilco offers a line of composite window wells you can install that also offer a cover to protect from the weather.



7 things you should know about installing a window well:

  • Always dig deeper than window
  • You can use concrete from wall removed as a good base and drainage 
  • Fill base with 3/4" aggregate just below window
  • If you have area with proper slope to daylight consider installing a drain
  • Check local codes as some want drainage to tie in with footing drain(which I do not agree with mixing two different systems)
  • Try and maintain 44" inside depth or ladder will need to be installed. Prefab Bilco units have steps already built it
  • If cover is added make sure fastening clips are installed towards the from for easy escape if necessary 

5 benefits of adding an egress window:

  • Added safety during a time of emergency 
  • Added light to your basement
  • Added ventilation especially beneficial for moist basements
  • Help control humidity
  • Great access for getting materials and/or content into basement(obviously within limit)

Installing an egress window may not be exactly for the novice but a little background, the right equipment and strength it can be done. In the videos we used a regular diamond blade to cut and then jackhammer which has worked sufficiently for years but now have a saw that cuts straight through making it a bit easier. Hope this helps and wish anyone luck performing a DIY installation

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Topics: Monroe NY, orange county ny, General Contractor, Construction, basements, egress windows, excavation, fire escape, foundation

What is an egress window and why 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 cost of installing an egress window ranges around 4-6K 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!!!


Click here and fill out our contact page for a free estimate!


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

Bill Bateman egress window installation

Posted by Bill Bateman on Sun, Aug 21, 2016 @ 11:55 AM

                        If you are looking for an egress window contractor,

                                    you have come to the right spot!!!!!!!


          We know all the "in's and outs" when it comes to egress windows!!!!






Working out of Monroe.NY for many years, Bill Bateman has performed hundreds of egress window installations over the years helping protect families from harm in the case of a house fire. National code requires all finished basements to have an egress window as a fire escape to protect your loved ones in time of need. Not only for safety reasons, egress windows add a lot more than that to your basement.



Benefits of adding an Egress Window:

  • Peace in mind that your loved ones are protected
  • Added light
  • More ventilation
  • Double pane glass adds more insulation
  • Low E glass that protects from UV rays



What are the building codes when installing an egress window?

  • Window must be minimum 5.7 sq. ft.
  • Window must have a minimum 22" net clear when open
  • Inside window sill height must not reach over 44" high
  • Window well must be minimum 9 sq. ft. inside measurements
  • Window well height must not exceed 44"
  • In the case inside/outside window height exceed 44", a ladder must be added


Added an egress window to your home can be both exciting and stressful! Exciting for the people that want one and stressful for the people trying to sell their home and its holding up your closing. Every town is requiring egress windows and we see that 90% of the time it is when the customer is trying to sell and is in violation. The violation has to be corrected and holds up the sale for both buyer and seller. Contact us today for a free estimate if you are interested in an egress window installation!!!!






Topics: basements, egress windows, finished basement, fire escape, window, foundation

Orange County Home Improvement/Remodeling Monroe, NY

Posted by Bill Bateman on Mon, Apr 04, 2016 @ 09:26 PM

Here at WMB CONSTRUCTION we pride ourselves in on time quality work here in the Hudson Valley, NY.  For all your needs we are here for you! Based out of Monroe, NY; we are your one stop construction company.  With that being said, yor home has many needs; roof, siding, kitchen, bathroom, patios, drainage, garage door, finished basement, egress window, anderson windows, pella windows, decks, remodeling, painting, flooring, staining.......etc!  



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We perform all phases of construction and home remodeling all over Orange County, NY  Most of our work is close based due to word of mouth recomendations with repeat customers. We like establishing trust within our customers that lasts a lifetime. 







Topics: General Contractor, remodel, bathrooms, basements, Roofing, home, Decks, egress windows, finished basement