Basement Egress Window Wells

Egress means a way out or exit, so a basement egress window is an exit or means of escape generally in case of fire. Basement windows used to be tiny spaces that allowed a slight amount flood damage Brisbane of light into the basement. New safety codes are making the old windows a thing of the past. Egress windows must be put in any basement bedroom or living area.

Claiming that a basement bedroom is an office or study on the plans and then using it as a bedroom once you’ve received building approval no longer works. Any basement living space that is large enough to be used as a bedroom and has a closet, no matter what it is labeled as, must have an egress window. Other basement living spaces must also have two escape routes including an egress window. This requirement could be fulfilled by putting an egress window in a bedroom that joins a living space in most cases.

Usually installing egress windows is a pretty straightforward installation process that can be done in one day. First the area in front of the window needs to be dug out enough to put the window in. Digging a hole next to the foundation at least 6 inches deeper than the bottom of the window is helpful. You need to have room for an adult to emerge from the window so approximately a 48 inch square area should be cleared out.

Once the area in front of the window has been cleared for the egress you can score the concrete and cut a hole where the window will be placed. After cutting the area you can use a 3-pound hammer and a chisel to remove the concrete along with any bricks and mortar. A window box frame can be built with pressure treated lumber and then slid into the opening. This frame is attached using concrete nails and then the window box is slid in place. This will take two people, one to hold the window box while the other nails it in place.

Once the window box frame is in place a high quality caulk is used to seal the area surrounding the window opening. Oftentimes the demolition process causes chips and gaps around the edges of the frame; this can be filled in with premixed mortar. Once the area around the window frame has been repaired the trim can be placed. A final run with caulk around all of the seams is all that’s required for the basement egress window installation.

The window well and drainage system can then be placed. The window well is premade and just needs to be put into place and then attached to the house. Once this is done the soil will need to be replaced and tamped down firmly. During this stage you will need to create a slope away from the house will invite the water to drain away from the home as required. A drainage system will need to be in place to handle excess water during rainstorms.

The glass used on a standard window is not the same as glass used on basement egress windows. Egress windows are at below ground level so for security a much stronger glass is used, which means they are truly made for your family’s all around safety.

M Erickson

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