Egress Doors And Windows Information

 In Basement Finishing, Conversions, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

Finishing your basement is like finding new space, fully equipped with plumbing and heat. Before you begin your remodeling, however, you’ll need to check local codes for safety exits or egress door requirements.

Finished basements require emergency escape  routes (doors or windows) and rescue openings.  When finishing your basement, your first step is to check local building codes to determine the need of egress doors and rescue openings. Your code authority may have its own rules or it may be among the more than 90 percent of communities in the United States that adopt the standards of the International Code Council (ICC). The council is a nonprofit organization that publishes new editions of the codes every three years and, in interim years, produces a supplement.  The ICC’s 2006 International Residential Code for One- and Two-Story Dwellings has new language stating that basements that contain one or more sleeping rooms are required to have emergency egress and rescue openings in each sleeping room. Emergency exit and rescue openings are not required in adjoining areas of the basement, according to the code.


Egress Requirements
Whether it is an egress window or door, it has to open to the outside and open easily without the use of keys or tools. It must also follow code requirements for the height and width of basement egress windows. Egress opening requirements include:

• A window with a minimum width of opening of 20 inches.

• A window with a minimum height of opening of 24 inches.

• A window with a minimum net clear opening — the actual opening through which a person must crawl — of 5.7 square feet.

• A sill height no higher than 44 inches above the floor.

• A window-well floor space of 9 square feet with minimum dimensions of 36 inches wide and long.

• A permanent ladder or steps if the window well depth is more than 44 inches.

Up and Out

Here are the basics of a typical basement egress window system:

• A “buck,” poured into the wall during new construction, creates a frame in the foundation wall.

• A window well keeps the earth away from the basement window. It can be bolted to a buck or, if a remodel, to the foundation wall.

• A basement window can be of any style that meets code requirements.

• Safety grates or grilles keep people and pets from falling into the well.

• Well covers keep debris from filling the well.

• Ladders or steps provide a way to get out of the well.

Added Value
Homebuilders like the idea that a livable basement easily doubles the amount of marketable square footage of new homes they sell. Homeowners are finding how easily and affordably they can open up formerly uninviting basements to new uses. Finishing the basement typically costs a third to half of what it would take for above-ground construction.

We at Basement Solutions 911 are experts on Basement Finishing and Egress ways.  We can finish your basement and include doors and windows, or we can add egress doors and windows to your current basement to bring it up to code.


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