Basement vs. Egress Windows: What’s the Difference?

A basement can be an easy place to add additional living space – and value – to your home. But it’s important to understand and follow the relevant codes. This is not only to ensure that you get the full resale value out of your investment, but also to ensure the safety of your family and anyone else who will spend time in your basement. This is why it’s important to understand the difference between basement and egress windows, and install the right window in your basement space.

Egress Windows

photo c/o HGTV

Basement vs. Egress Windows

Basement windows vary in size, shape and functionality. If a basement is unfinished, it may simply have small ventilation windows placed near the ceiling. Finished basements usually have larger, more functional windows. However, to be an egress, a window must open fully and basically be large enough to fit a person through, in the event of a fire or other emergency.

What Are the Requirements for Egress Windows?

To meet International Building Code requirements, all basement rooms must have at least one emergency escape and rescue opening. These openings can be doors or windows. They must have an opening width of 20 or more inches, an opening height of 24 inches, and a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 feet. In addition, the bottom of the opening must be within 44 inches of the floor.  The window or door must be able to be opened from the inside.

For basement egress windows, the requirements are more stringent. All basement bedrooms must have egress openings with 9 square feet of open area, and a minimum height and width of 36 inches. The bottom of the opening may be more than 44 inches from the floor; however, there must be steps or a ladder that is permanently attached.

These requirements are just a baseline – state and city codes also apply to any basement remodeling project. That’s why it’s good to let the experts at The Chuba Company guide you through the remodeling process. We are familiar with all relevant codes, and will ensure that your project meets them.

Ready to replace or upgrade your windows?

At The Chuba Company, we are dedicated to service, attention to detail and the use of top quality products. This ensures that we will be your trusted partner throughout the Minneapolis home renovation process. We are currently taking projects for 2020 – contact us for an estimate! Be sure to follow Chuba on Facebook, Pinterest, and Houzz to see our latest work, and to get ideas, tips and inspiration.

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