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How much do you know about egress windows? If you’re finishing a basement, you’ve probably heard that you need to install them in your new rooms. Do you know why? We’ve got the facts about egress windows, what they are, why they’re necessary, and how to install them correctly.

  • Egress means “a path out”. Egress windows are installed to allow people a path out in case of an emergency. Basements and bedrooms need these emergency windows, and the windows must be large enough for someone to exit or for an emergency worker to get through and rescue someone.
  • Requirements for egress windows vary depending on location. It’s important to have your egress window installed by someone who understands the building codes regarding height, width, square footage of the opening, and the height of the sill from the floor. For your egress window to function the way it needs to, it needs to be a specific size. Typically, this means a minimum width of 20 inches, a minimum height of 24 inches, a maximum net clear opening of 5.7 feet, and a maximum sill height above the floor of 44 inches.
  • There are different types of egress windows.
    • Casement windows have side hinges and wide openings.
    • Double-hung or glider windows have to be very large because even when they’re open there’s glass taking up half the opening.
    • Awning windows are trickier, and because they swing out from the bottom, they’re not great basement egress windows: they may actually trap you in a fire.
  • Basement egress windows have even more stringent regulations than those on other floors. Because they’re below ground, it can be tricky to make sure the window can fully open without obstruction. On the outside of a basement egress window, there will be a window well. Window wells have to be large enough to move around in and need a ladder or steps to allow for an easy getaway.
  • Installing an egress window is not typically a do-it-yourself job. You need a reputable professional to do the job because you need someone who understands the regulations and specifications involved. You also need to know that the windows will be installed correctly, and you won’t have moisture problems later on because of an amateurish installation.

If you need egress windows, Reliable Basement Services can help. A family-owned and operated company, we’ve served the greater Chicagoland area for more than ten years. We offer a full spectrum of basement services, charging reasonable rates for work that includes crack repairs, sump pump systems, basement waterproofing, basement egress windows, and floor repair. Our consistently high standards have made us an award-winning Chicago basement waterproofing contractor and earned us thousands of satisfied customers all over Chicago. For more information, call (630) 318-4888 or visit our website for a free quote.

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