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Professional Egress Window Installation for Chicago & the Chicagoland Area

Egress windows, also known as escape windows, are a secondary means to leave your home in the event of an emergency. They are a vital safety feature for your basement. In addition to providing a safe emergency exit they also offer a variety of aesthetic benefits. Egress window install projects typically take 2 days to complete.

While every basement and install project is different Reliable Basement Services generally follows a similar procedure:

  1. Excavate the area where the new egress window will be installed (size of excavation will depend on new window size and existing well size)
  2. Remove the existing well (if there is one)
  3. Remove drywall and stud framing on the interior
  4. Prep interior area with surface protection
  5. Establish proper drainage to interior or exterior
  6. Cut Foundation
  7. Remove, break up, and dispose of cut section
  8. Install additional top support as needed (brick or stone exteriors)
  9. Install treated wood frame in opening and secure window
  10. Install window well and escape ladder
  11. Backfill interior of window well with clean washed gravel and exterior of window well with excavated soils
  12. Remove and dispose of excess soil and debris


Egress windows can be installed in locations where there is an existing non-egress window or an entirely new location. Contact us today to find out more about our Egress Window Installation services.

Exterior view of an egress window in a basement bedroom. These windows are required as part of the USA fire code for basement bedrooms

The Benefits of Basement Egress Windows

There are so many benefits to basement egress windows! These include:

  • Provides a safe escape both in and out of your house in case of an emergency
  • Increases the amount of sunlight that enters your house
  • Increases your home’s value
  • Add additional safe living space to your home
  • Increases airflow in stagnant basements
Provides a Safe Escape

Egress means “to emerge” or “a path out”. True to their name, egress windows are openings specifically designed to create a safe escape from an emergency. These egress window openings also make it easy for police and firefighters to get in to help you. Your local and national building codes will define the specific minimum requirements for these windows to ensure that you can get out if there is ever an emergency in your home.  You must meet specific basement egress window Chicago specifications and install them in all habitable sleeping areas of your home such as bedrooms and basements.

Doubles the Size of Your Basement

Remodeling your basement might be your most affordable option to increase your living space. In many cases, an egress window can nearly double the size of your basement. You can find basement egress windows and window wells in many attractive colors that will blend in with the exterior or any home and complement your interior décor. Some windows come with additional features such as terraced steps molded into the wells, which make for an easier escape than the alternative of a traditional ladder.

Increases Home Value

If you want to finish your basement or are even considering a basement renovation, you should research if there is a town requirement for basement egress windows. In most towns, this is a requirement. Most building codes also mandate the installation of basement egress windows to provide an adequate escape route in case of an emergency. Not only does an egress window increase your home’s safety, but it also increases your home’s value, your home’s airflow, and the natural lighting in your basement. An egress window can make even the darkest, stuffiest, most unpleasant basement spaces into a welcoming environment.

Increases Sunlight

By installing basement windows, your basement will dramatically increase in brightness. You won’t have a dark, dingy basement that no one wants to be in anymore. A basement egress window can serve as a safe exit from the basement in the event of a fire or some other emergency. Whenever you want to remodel your basement to make a new bedroom, office, or other living space, you should always have basement windows installed.

Egress Window Size Requirements

The International Residential Code (IRC) sets the requirements for egress windows. They may be slightly adjusted in local building codes, so make sure you check that you are complying with the local requirements in your area.

An egress window must meet four IRC criteria:

  • The width of the opening must be at least 20 inches
  • The height of the opening must be at least 24 inches
  • The net clear opening must be at least 5.7 square feet
  • The sill height above the floor must be at least 44 inches

As for the horizontal dimensions of the window well, they should provide a net clear area of at least nine square feet and a horizontal projection and width of at least 36 inches. The net clear opening refers to the actual free and clear space that exists when the window is open.

This is not the rough opening size or the glass panel size, but the actual opening that a person can crawl through. Your window must be able to open easily from the inside without keys or tools. You may install bars, grilles, and grates over the window, but you still must be able to open the window to the minimum clear opening without tools or keys. You might make the mistake of assuming a window that measures 20 inches by 24 inches would be a big enough egress. However, those dimensions will not yield a net clear opening of 5.7 square feet. Instead, it will only be about 3.3 square feet. You will need either a 20-inch by 42-inch window or a 24-inch by 34-inch window to make it the appropriate size. Basement egress windows are not just a top safety feature but also a great investment. They require careful planning, selection, and installation for any living space or remodeling project. You must make sure that your window meets both Section 310 of UBC and IRC 2003 Building Code.

Types of Egress Windows

Slider Egress Window

These windows slide open and closed and are mounted upon tracks and runners. Some styles open vertically while others open horizontally. Size requirements can be a bit more of a challenge with basement egress windows. You will need AT LEAST a 48-inch by 48-inch window to have the appropriate size. Since they also allow for so much natural lighting, they decrease your energy bills!

Casement Egress Window

Casement windows are a great choice for basement egress windows. They often have large panes with hinges along the side. These hinges allow the window to be completely opened by swinging outward. This makes them especially easy to crawl through in an emergency situation. They are perfect for bedrooms and basements because they occupy such little wall space but offer the greatest, easiest escape route.

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