Egress Windows

Egress is literally defined as “a path out”¬† which explains the design principles behind egress windows. In case of an emergency, windows installed in any sleeping room must pass local codes so that occupants can exit and rescue specialists can enter the bedroom. In other words, when a fire occurs, your bedroom windows have to be of a certain size so you can escape and firemen can come in. These requirements also include basement egress windows¬†if you have a finished bedroom below grade.

The Regulation

When adding an egress window to the basement or attic of your home, you have to keep certain requirements in mind:

  • Minimum width of opening: 20 in.
  • Minimum height of opening: 24 in.
  • Minimum net clear opening: 5.7 sq. ft. (5.0 sq. ft. for ground floor)
  • Maximum sill height above floor: 44 in.
These regulations are new, so if you have an older house you may want to make some changes to the windows for your own safety. Another thing to keep in mind is if you’re converting a basement storage unit or an attic office into a bedroom, you must comply with egress requirements for the windows, even if already existing.

Return On Investment

Egress windows allow you to finish your basement or attic so that the space is livable and flows seamlessly from the rest of the house. This added square footage, bedroom and living space adds tremendous value to Seattle area homes. Local building codes require egress windows in order for a basement or attic room to be considered a bedroom.

When adding egress windows to your basement you can dramatically increase the amount of nature light your basement receives, again making the space more livable. If you decide to finish your basement, as, about how Green Built Northwest can maximize light through your basement floor plan. We can help design the layout of your basement to allow for light flow by avoiding too many walls and closed off spaces and helping you consider the location of your windows before deciding where those walls will go. Ideally, we’ll help design a space so that light moves uninterrupted from one side of the basement to the other.

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