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

Basement egress windows and 5 reasons to have one installed; Monroe, NY 10950

Posted by william bateman on Sun, Dec 18, 2022 @ 06:37 AM

Orange County, NY is located in the state of New York and was first created in 1683 and then reorganized with its present boundaries in 1798. Orange County is part of the Hudson Valley region and is today home for over 400,000 residents. Monroe, NY is one of many towns and villages that makeup Orange County in which has increased in growth rapidly over the years to over 10,000 residents. Many residents of the Monroe area as well as surrounding towns have been recently relocating. As residents move, new residents move in to their new homes and one of the main forks in the road that may be encountered when selling or buying is does the home have an egress window installed in basement. Current codes require all finished basements with a bedroom or any area considered living space to have a fully accessible egress in the case of emergency. Egress options can be a door, window and sometimes a garage door with an installed within the garage door(if approved by your local building department)that can provide an easy escape exit during an unpredictable emergency. By not acquiring  an egress window or any forms of legal egress, you may find your home in violation resulting in a holdup on the sale of your home. 


5 reasons to have an egress window installed:

  • Make your home compliant and up to date with national building codes
  • Peace in mind you and your loved ones will be safe during an unpredictable emergency 
  • Added light that is beneficial to any basement
  • Added ventilation, better air flow creates more air flow and cuts down the musky odors common in basements
  • Added value and safety to your home


A finished basement adds instant value to your home by increasing the square footage of your homes living area and making it more desirable for yourself and potential buyers if you may be considering selling. Finished basements offer you many different options creating an entire different atmosphere on the lower level of you home. Many basements are the same size of your constructed home, so for example a 60 x 30 home will offer you an added 1,800 square feet of living area. In some cases,  basement area may be attached to to the garage, in which this case square footage will be deducted  but garages too can be converted into living area. During a finished basement construction it is strongly advised to have a footprint of where to install an egress window. Location is key when installing an egress window especially when adding bedrooms. All basements should have an egress window, finished or not, in the case of an unpredicted emergency. 

What to take note of when choosing location of an egress window:

  • Where you would like bedroom(s) to be situated
  • Try and situate location of new window with existing basement window(s)
  • Take notice to any waste/water/gas/electrical lines that my be in the way
  • Do an exterior inspection to make sure location of egress window has a clear escape route from home and especially not underneath a low deck
  • If possible, try and pick a location with the least amount of digging

Installing an egress window is usually a 2-3 day project(weather permitting) that will provide a lifetime of safety and enhance the atmosphere of your basement ridding it of its already dark and gloomy natural environment. With all the right tools, the installation of an egress window is a quick and clean install in a couple to a few days.

Benefits of installing an egress window:

  • Peace in mind you and your loved ones will be safe during an unpredicted emergency 
  • Added natural light
  • Added ventilation to keep air flow moving where most basements have stagnant air
  • Added value to your home
  • Access for bringing in larger, longer items in basement if you have no door

National building codes are put into place for the protection of you and others. Fires around the world are responsible for billions of dollars a year in damages and thousands in injuries and deaths. With foresight before a possible unpredicted potential tragedy strikes, installing egress windows drastically cuts down the threat of loss of life and/or injury. Newer homes are required in all bedrooms on any level of home to carry the proper window dimensions and codes that apply.


What are egress window basement codes:

  • Window must be a minimum 5.7 square feet
  • Window must have a minimum 20" net clear opening when fully open
  • Inside window sill height not to exceed 44" from basement floor
  • Outside window well inside dimensions must be a minimum of 9 square feet 
  • Base of window well to grade of ground must not exceed 44" (if over 44" a ladder must be installed)

When considering an egress window contractor keep in mind to find an experienced one with the proper tools, Without the proper tools and experience the job can be disastrous and filthy. We have small machines that don't damage lawns and wet saws that keep dust down to nominal levels. 90% of the work performed is from the outside of your home keeping the inside virtually untouched.

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Topics: orange county ny, General Contractor, construction-general--monroe, footing drain, excavating, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, excavation, backhoe, fire escape, window, foundation

Benefits of an egress window/Orange County, NY

Posted by Bill Bateman on Thu, Aug 10, 2017 @ 08:05 AM


                         William M. Bateman



Its becoming more common around the country for customers to be installing egress windows in their basements. National code has been in effect for years requiring an egress window for safety measures for you and your family. Most recently in the past few years we have noticed a rise in egress window installations due to the fact that local building departments have been forcing them more and violations are being issued to customers that dont have one. These violations mostly come up when buying/selling a home, finishing basement or refinancing forcing the customer to install one in a timely matter before you can sell or do any other work to your basement.



Why you might need an egress window installed:

  • Buying/selling your home
  • Finishing your basement 
  • Need more light and ventilation in your basement
  • Safety reasons to protect you and your family
  • Peace in mind

Most of customers we experience wait until they are selling their home to install an egress window which holds up the closing process on both ends of the buyer/seller. Once installed every customer realizes the benefits and wishes they had installed one sooner. Its usually a 2-5 installation process that is done 90% from the exterior of your home limiting any distraction to your life and home.




Benefits of adding an egress window:

  • Added safety as a fire escape in the time of need
  • Better ventilation for your basement
  • More added light
  • Better access for larger items to enter your basement from outside
  • Helps with mold and mildew issues every basement experiences


When buying/selling your home like mentioned before, brings up last minute violations that brings nothing but last minute aggravation. Pre planning your egress window project will eliminate this and save you money without paying for extra violation costs that you local building department may require.





What to expect when installing a window in violation:

  • Closing process held up
  • Have to issue a building permit
  • Some building departments require engineered plans drawn up for basement floor plan
  • Extra permit fees
  • Electrical inspection
  • Proof of insurance from your contractor
  • Approval from the board for work to comence in some condo complexes



Egress windows have national code requirements that must be met before and during the installation. Choosing a good contractor that is familiar with these codes is key for an easy and painless installation process. The right equipment is necessary to do the project with the proper machines that will not ruin your property during the process.


What are the national codes for egress windows?

  • Window must be minimum of 5.7 square feet
  • Window sill height must not exceed 44" max
  • Window well must be 9 square feet inside dimensions
  • Window well must not exceed 44" without adding a ladder
  • Window must have 22" net clearing




WMB Construction has been performing egress window installations for years in the Hudson Valley NY region.  Contact today to set up your free estimate and we will come out and evaluate and price your project.



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Topics: General Contractor, remodel, construction-general, Construction, outdoors, excavating, contractor, improvements, drainage, egress windows, finished basement, window

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