A Primer on Egress Window Requirements

Basements are a great way to add living spaces to a cramped home, but if you’re planning to set up an office or a bedroom there, you’ll need to install an egress window. Egress windows function as a means of escape for you and your family and an entry point for rescue personnel in the event of an emergency.

There are strict guidelines surrounding the installation of egress windows. Read on as Stratum Structural Systems, one of the top basement repair contractors in the state, elaborates on the basic requirements.

Minimum Dimensions

The net clear opening of the window through which you or a fireman can crawl through must be at least 5.7 square feet. A generous minimum requirement was imposed to ensure firefighters carrying protective gear and equipment can easily enter the basement.

Some of the more specific dimensions and requirements are listed below:

  • Window’s opening height must be at least 24 inches.

  • Window’s opening width must be at least 20 inches.

  • The bottom of the opening can’t be more than 44 inches away from the floor.

We recommend installing an egress window that meets more than the bare minimum, as an egress window with the minimum dimensions will only have a net clearing of 3.33 square feet, which falls far below the required 5.7 square feet.

Having to pay close attention to these specific dimensions might seem tedious, but luckily, you won’t have to; manufacturers usually list the net openings on their products. You can also consult contractors specializing in egress window repair and installations to find out more about the requirements.

Egress Window Wells and Ladders 

You’ll also need to install an egress window well; for wells deeper than 44”, egress ladders also need to be installed. The area of the window well should be at least 9 square feet.

Installing window wells would involve excavations near your foundation. To avoid any structural damage to your home, only hire a contractor with experience and expertise in foundation repair.

Stratum Structural Systems specializes in basement and foundation repair as well as waterproofing services. To get a free consultation, call (314) 669-3030 or fill out this form.

Scroll to Top