Egress Replacement Windows
Maybe you've always wanted a guest bedroom or there's a new addition to your family. A basement renovation can be an affordable and efficient way to add to your living space. However, if a new bedroom is part of your plan, be prepared for current building code regulations that mandate an egress window that meets specific criteria. Without an egress window in case of fire, current regulations in most places simply won't allow a basement bedroom.
An egress window provides an emergency means of exiting or entering a living area. It is an easily accessible opening through which you can escape or a firefighter can enter in the event of an emergency. They are required in every room used for sleeping purposes to provide a means of escape or rescue and are usually found in basement bedrooms. In order to qualify as an egress window, the opening must meet specific size requirements. Because this ruling is fairly recent in many parts of the country, most existing basements were not built with egress windows.
If you are building a new home, the code requires that you put an egress window in each bedroom and in the basement if it will include habitable, finished rooms. For existing homes, whenever you add a bedroom to your house, you must also add an egress window in that room.
The Code and Egress Replacement Windows
International Residential Code (IRC) is a comprehensive, impartial code for residences that creates minimum regulations for one- and two-family dwellings of three stories or less. It brings together all building, plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas, energy, and electrical provisions for one- and two-family residences. According to the 2006 International Residential Code requirements, egress windows and wells are required if you add a bedroom a basement, or create a habitable space in your basement and you currently do not have an egress window.
Technical Requirements For Egress Windows
An egress must be a minimum of eighteen inches wide and thirty inches high with a maximum width of fifty-four inches and a maximum height of seventy-six inches. No window shall exceed one hundred and eight combined inches; for example, the following are acceptable dimensions: ? 32x76, 34x74, 36x72, 28x70, or 40x68. When fully opened, the window needs to provide an unimpeded opening of 5.7 square feet and be no more than forty-four inches above the floor.
Since an array of window designs can be used for egress windows you can match your window to suit your design and budgetary needs. Options include casement, double-hung, gliding or sliding, and awning windows.
Basement Egress Windows
A basement egress windows presents an added challenge because you have to add a well, which comes with its own set of specifications. Since this is not a particularly complicated process you can choose to cut costs by doing it yourself. It should take two people about two days and cost around $500. Or you can hire a contractor for between $2000 and $3000, depending upon your choice of window and well.
Benefits of The Replacement Windows
Of course, adding an egress window contributes to the safety and security of your family. Basement fires are actually quite common, so this is really more than a code issue. Fire can spread rapidly through a home, leaving as little as two minutes to escape safely. In the event of a fire or emergency, family members have the ability to escape out of the basement quickly. Even if the fire isn't in the basement, the basement exit provides one of the safest means of escape, since it doesn't require jumping or climbing down.
However, even if you never have an emergency, a new egress window pays dividends. Egress windows can nearly double the living area in your home and increase the value of your home. In fact, if you add an egress window to a room, you could recoup ten to twenty times the cost of the installation when you eventually sell your home. As a home improvement, an egress window is one of the most inexpensive and least complicated projects to increase the value of your home.
On top of that, a strategically placed egress window will allow more sunlight into your cellar, which not only improves its appearance but also makes it more energy efficiency. If you install a window well, it may include tiers that will accommodate plants, further enhancing the livability of your basement.
Egress Window Manufacturers
• Escape Windows
• Boman Kemp
• The Bilco Company
• Monarch Holdings, Inc.
• Hurd Windows
An egress window may turn out to be one of shrewdest additions you make to your home.