Today’s helpful information from Wholesale Home Improvements in Denver, Colorado covers egress windows for your basement. If you’re not familiar with the term, egress means “to go out” or “an exit.” Egress windows, therefore, refer to windows you can use as an exit. By law, any sleeping room is required to have a window large enough that occupants can easily escape or rescue workers can easily enter in case of a fire or other emergency.
If you are adding a bedroom or rental unit to your basement, you will have to comply with regulations for egress windows. Even if you don’t plan to have anybody sleeping down there, it is still a good idea. You never know if this simple addition could end up saving someone’s life.
So, what comprises proper egress windows for your basement? The newest regulations call for a window that is at least 20 inches wide by 24 inches tall. The minimum net clear opening should be 5.7 feet square. The sill height should be no more than 44 inches from the floor. If you have a basement window that doesn’t meet these requirements (they were different in the past) it is a good idea to update it for maximum safety.
We understand that it is an expense to enlarge an opening and install a new egress window, but the money is well worth the possibility of saving someone’s life.
Proper egress windows not only have to meet certain size requirements but also certain functional requirements. For example, they must be operable from the inside without the use of any special materials like a tool or key. Obviously, if you are trying to get out in a hurry, you don’t want to be looking for specialized equipment to get the window open. You are still allowed to have bars or grills, but they too must be operable without special equipment.
Types of Windows
There are several different types of windows available. Let’s look at what works well for basement egress.
- Casement Windows: This is the ideal basement egress window. The casement window takes up less wall space, and the side hinges make opening the window and escaping easy.
- Double-Hung or Sliding Windows: These popular windows can be used for basement egress, but are not as common. When opened, a double-hung or sliding window still has glass covering half the opening, so to meet the size requirements for egress, you’ll need a big window.
One type we do not recommend using as egress windows for your basement is awning windows that swing upward and out. Awning windows are generally not used as egress windows as they can be awkward to get open and crawl through.
One last note about egress windows for your basement, be sure that nothing is blocking your escape route on the exterior. Underground basements will require a window well and possibly even a ladder to get out easily if the well is deep. The experts here at Wholesale Home Improvements can help you with any questions you have about the requirements and ensure that your windows are installed correctly.