What Is an Egress Window in a Basement Foundation?

Egress windows are safety escape windows that homes with a basement are usually required to have.

Basement egress windows provide an emergency escape route from the house in the event of a fire or some other emergency.

Not every foundation includes an egress casement window; however, depending on how a homeowner wishes to use that space, it might be necessary to install one. 

When Are Egress Windows Needed?

According to local building codes in most locations, there must be a window large enough for a person to escape through it in bedrooms and other areas of a home that do not have direct and clear access to a door that leads outside.

This also applies to attics and basements if they are used as living spaces.

Normally, basements and attics are not required to have windows in them; however, should a homeowner decide to finish their attic or basement, they are required to install an egress window in those spaces to provide an emergency exit. 

What Size Must Egress Windows Be?

By regular, basement egress windows must be at least 24” in height and open at least 20” from the frame so that an average-sized person can fit through it in an emergency.

It must have a total clear space once the window is open of 5.7 feet or more to give the person room to exit and have a bottom windowsill height of no more than 44” so it can be easily opened and exited through.

Lastly, these windows, including egress casement windows with hand cranks, must be able to be opened without any special tools so they can be opened quickly when necessary.

In cases where the window must be installed higher than 44” at the windowsill, the installation of a permanent ladder under the window is required. 

Discuss Egress Window Needs Before Creating A New Living Space

When finishing basements to increase livable space inside the house, homeowners should discuss basement egress window installation with an experienced foundation service that can make the opening the right way without causing extra damage to the foundation.

Deeper foundations may also involve the installation of an egress window well, which is an area of soil dug out in front of the egress window to provide space to exit the basement when the foundation is fully underground. 

In Summary

Finished basements are a great and useful addition to any home.

When planning one, homeowners must remember to include the cost of having an egress window installed.

The best way to accomplish this is to contact a reputable foundation and basement service for an estimate to install a basement egress window and then provide an experienced, trouble-free installation.

Egress casement windows are necessary safety features in any finished basement that require installation by a foundation expert.