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Do I Need An Egress Window?

Do I Need An Egress Window
Do I Need An Egress Window

Only if you care about your family! All kidding aside, Egress Windows provide a means of escape from your basement in the event of an emergency. What kind of emergency? Any kind that requires you to get out of your house via the basement:

  • Fire
  • Home Alone-Style Break-In
  • Kids want to sneak out
  • Secret Passage

OK, we get the point. The main reason why you would want to escape from your basement is due to a house fire. If you home catches fire and you are downstairs, many times the stairs and thus exit from the basement are unusable. What do you do then? You’re surrounded by concrete walls, so there is no digging out. Sadly, we all can imagine the answer.

Read more about – Protecting Your Home Against Summer Storms

A Means of Escape

Used far less than a spare tire, but immensely more important, an Egress Window will provide a means of escape from the basement. It will also allow light and fresh air in, so it has a more daily-functional purpose to it as well.

There are code requirements to make an Egress Window an Egress Window. The ICC (International Code Council) has determined these to be the requirements:

  1. The bottom of the window must be no higher than 44” from the ground. Now, this may seem high, and it is. Many times, we are below this. The idea being that 44” is the highest most people can climb or “scoot” themselves up to the ledge to get out of the window.
  2. The minimum opening shall be no less than 5.7 square feet with minimum width of 20 and minimum height of 24. Simply put, the opening must be large enough for a decent sized human to fit through.
  3. Window Well Projection must be 36” from the home and have a ladder. What this means is that the window well on the outside of the home must be large enough for a firefighter with all his gear and oxygen to get inside. Not only is an Egress Window used as a means of escape, but also a means of ingress for fire fighters to put out your house!
  4.  The Window Well Cover must be easily opened from the inside without the use of tools. Easy enough, not only does the opening and window need to be accessible for you to escape, you must be able to operate it with only the thing you have on you, your hands.

Don’t Skip The Permit

Nowadays, Egress Windows are required at time of construction. The code was not always this way, so we have a lot of basements still around without the proper means for the families living inside of them to escape. That is a scary thought!

If you are finishing your basement, the city will require you to put in the window with the permit you submit. Now, if you skip the permit, you will not know this….until it is too late. An Egress Window is not something to ignore, it is your family’s safety!!

Check out our Services Page for more info on Egress Windows, and we have a new How We Do It video for Egress Window Replacement coming soon!

Thanks for reading, and as always:

“Not Everything’s Better When Wet”


Austin Werner

Austin Werner is the Owner of The Real Seal LLC, a basement waterproofing and foundation repair company. Austin believes that having a highly trained and happy team is the key to success. This is reflected through hundreds of 5 star customer reviews his company has received online.

2 Responses

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