Window installations can be complex and this is particularly true if you have a basement that needs some light to be provided to it through the installation of some windows. There are specific window types that must be used for these applications. You might not know much about this process, which is why you need to learn about egress windows.
Egress windows are commonly used for basement lighting or as a means of escape from a room that is lower than the ground level in your home. Egress windows are placed even with the ground line and can extend up above this line at various heights to provide light into rooms that are located below the foundation level in a home or business.
If you are ready to learn more about what egress windows are, read on!
What is the Purpose of an Egress Window?
In most places, basements are actually required to have egress windows because they provide a means to escape the room if something like a fire takes place. They also allow light to come into parts of the house or business that are built below the level of the ground. It would be a very dark and close feeling in these kinds of basement rooms without these windows.
Older homes were not required to have the same size windows as modern homes, and some of these homes will actually not have large enough windows to be used as an escape route. Many people with homes that were built before World War II choose to remodel these areas to include larger windows for improved light and for better safety for anyone who is sleeping or working in the basement.
Remember that the primary function of egress windows is to be used as a way to get out of a basement that is on fire, so you should consider safety as your first consideration when you are looking into adding these windows to your home.
What’s the Difference Between an Egress Window and a Regular Window?
Egress windows are really made with escape in mind, but they are not designed any differently than regular windows. These windows are often placed specifically for safety, but otherwise they will be the same double-paned casement or sliding windows that you might have in the rest of your home. They will have to meet a set size requirement to be an egress window and meet code standards, however.
People sometimes think that they can place regular windows into these living spaces and call it good, but you will often have to meet some code specifications for fire safety and to get your home insured. This is why it is a good idea to know what an egress window really is before you have someone come and put in new windows in the basement area of your home.
How do I Know if a Window is Egress?
You can measure your windows in your basement to see if they qualify as an egress window. You will need to measure the window placement from the ground inside your basement. This measurement must meet the code so that the window can be used for an easy escape. You will then need to measure the width of the window at the middle, top, and bottom.
Next, take vertical measurements on the sides and in the middle. This will tell you the width and the length of the window so that you can check the measurements against the codes that are upheld in your county or state. There are some international building rules and regulations that are referred to if there is no specific allowance that is made for this part of the building code in your area.
This is a simple process, but it can be very important to complete if you are considering buying a home that has basement bedrooms. You want to know if you are going to have an expensive replacement and remodel process ahead of you to be able to bring the house up to code. In some cases, you cannot get homeowner’s insurance if these windows are not sized correctly.
What Qualifies as an Egress Window?
Egress windows have to meet code, particularly if there are bedrooms in your basement. International building code states that each bedroom should have one egress window at least, just in case of fire. These must be large enough that an adult can fit out of them.
The standard that is adhered to in most situations is that the egress window must be at least 5.7 square feet, 20 inches wide by 24 inches high. The opening must be no higher than 44 inches from the floor. Double-paned casement or sliding windows are acceptable. The placement is the thing that defines them as egress windows rather than the design and materials that they are made of.
If your basement has the older-style windows that simply rotate inward some to let in some fresh air, these are not up to code. An adult person could not fit out through these windows which means that they need to be replaced. You can elect to have larger egress windows than the minimum size ones that are listed above, but you just cannot make them so small that an adult will not be able to climb out in the case of a fire or other emergency.
How Much Do Egress Windows Cost?
The answer to this can vary somewhat depending on your area and the number of alterations that will be needed to replace your windows. The job can be quite expensive if your home is older and has very small windows that are currently framed in. If you are simply replacing older egress windows with new ones, the task will not cost as much as having to remodel to fit larger windows into your basement walls.
You can expect an average of about $1,000-$5,000 per window to install. This can really add up if you have a large basement, so you should consider the rooms that will need the windows first, such as bedrooms. These rooms should be worked on first so that your home can meet code more quickly. This can also be a major cost if you are thinking of buying an older home and realize that this change needs to be made to secure insurance for your home.
Get Help With Your Egress Window Installation
Egress windows are not tough to install, but you might have a lot of questions about the process before you want to start on the work. This is normal and having an expert come help you to decide which windows you will need and how much the project will cost is a big help. Working with a team of qualified installers, this kind of window replacement job can be a breeze.If you need help with your window installation in Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming, we can help! You can contact us today at 970-663-2868 or visit our window services page and fill out the contact form to reach out to us. Make an appointment and we will be happy to discuss your window installation project needs in detail.