What You Need Know About Basement Egress Windows

May 4, 2023

New,Residential,Home,Building,Materials,Window,Well,For,Basement,ConstructionWhat You Need Know About Basement Egress Windows

As a homeowner, you need to ensure that your property is in the best condition possible. This applies to all areas of your home, including the basement. The basement can be a great living space, but it needs to be safe and functional. One of the ways to make your basement safe is by installing egress windows. Here is what you need to know about basement egress windows.

What are Egress Windows?

Egress windows are windows that provide an emergency exit from the basement. These windows serve as an escape route in case of emergencies like fire, carbon monoxide leaks, or other occurrences that might prevent you from exiting the house through the door. Egress windows are much larger than standard basement windows to allow for easy entry and exit, and they must meet specific size requirements set by your local building code.

Why Install Egress Windows?

Installing egress windows in your basement is essential from both a safety and functional standpoint. They allow for proper ventilation, light, and air circulation, which can help improve air quality and reduce moisture. Egress windows also increase the value of your home, add additional living space and enhance the aesthetic look of your basement.

Most importantly, egress windows provide an escape route in case of emergencies. Fires, floods, and carbon monoxide leaks can happen anytime and having an emergency exit in your basement can make a life-saving difference. Installing egress windows is a proactive way to ensure the safety of your loved ones and your property.

Egress Windows Sizes

The size of egress windows is a critical factor when choosing the right window for your basement. The window must be large enough to accommodate easy exit and entry and meet the safety requirements set by building codes. The International Residential Code (IRC) requires that egress windows must have a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet, a minimum height of 24 inches, and a minimum width of 20 inches. The maximum sill height from the floor must be no more than 44 inches.

If you’re planning to use the egress window as a bedroom, additional requirements must be met. According to IRC, the minimum net clear opening for egress windows in a basement bedroom should be 5.7 square feet, while the minimum dimension of the clear opening should be at least 24 inches in height and 20 inches in width. The maximum height of the window sill should not exceed 44 inches from the floor.

Installation of Egress Windows

The installation of egress windows involves more than just cutting out a hole in your basement wall. It’s a complex process that requires the expertise of professionals. When choosing an egress window installation company, you need to consider their experience, reputation, and licenses. Many municipalities require an egress window installation permit, which can only be obtained by licensed contractors. Choosing an unlicensed contractor can put you in legal trouble and risks getting subpar quality work.

The installation process starts with cutting out a hole in your basement wall, excavating the area, installing the window, and adding drainage systems to prevent water seepage. Afterward, the window is sealed, and any excavation material is cleared out. The installation process can take several days to complete. When completed, your new egress window will provide increased safety, light, ventilation, and an additional exit point in case of an emergency.

Choosing the Right Egress Window

There are many types of egress windows to choose from, including flat, sliding, and casement windows. The choice you make depends on a variety of factors such as budget, style, and building codes. Most egress windows have a glass area that allows plenty of natural lighting and ventilation into your basement.

Casement windows are the most preferred type for egress, thanks to their energy efficiency and easy operation. They come in many sizes, and they feature panes that swing outward, providing ample space for easy exit and entry. Casement windows with two panes are even better since they provide better insulation, energy efficiency, and security.


Your basement can be a valuable living space, but you need to ensure it’s safe and functional. Installing egress windows is one of the best ways to accomplish that. Egress windows provide an emergency escape route in case of fires, floods, or other emergencies. They also provide natural lighting, ventilation, and enhance the aesthetic look of your basement. When choosing an egress window, go for a trusted, licensed, and reputable egress window installation company to guarantee quality and code compliance. With proper installation, you can enjoy all the benefits of egress windows and increase the value and functionality of your home. If you’re interested in installing some egress windows of your own, be sure to contact our team of professional contractors here at Langenfeld Masonry & Concrete to learn more about what we can do for you! Call us today!

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