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Do I need an egress window?

Monday, November 1st, 2010 by Amy Iverson


The answer is maybe.....
 

All finished basements must have means of egress, a way to get out of the basement other than using the stairs.  If you have a walkout basement you will be all set.   If you do not have a walkout basement then you will be required to put in an egress window.  An important note: whether you have a walkout basement or not, if you are going to call one of your new rooms a "bedroom" you must have an egress window in that room.   

It is State Law that all basements, with habitable living space, must have means of egress. A finished basement is considered habitable living space and must meet this code.  The window must be large enough for an adult to get out of and low enough to the ground that you can climb out of the window.  To meet the minimum code requirements the window must have at least 5 sq. ft. of clear opening (not including jamb or screens).  The window sill can be no more than 44” from the finished floor.

Egress windows can be an asset to your basement. They allow natural light into the basement and when properly designed into your space they can be an attractive focal point.