Being able to get out of the house quickly and easily in the event of an emergency is an essential component of home safety.
When it comes to fires in the home, the ancient adage “Always allow yourself an out” is more relevant than ever before.
When the basement stairs are blocked by a flaming television (this actually happened), or when fire and thick, black smoke are sailing down a hallway toward a bedroom that has no exit, windows that are large enough for you to escape through, as well as for firefighters to enter, become essential pieces of lifesaving equipment.
The minimum required size for egress windows is determined by both safety regulations and construction laws. Nevertheless, building codes are subject to change.
Because of this, the mere fact that your property has egress windows does not necessarily guarantee that they satisfy the current requirements.
In this piece, we will discuss the meaning of the term “egress window,” the recommended size requirements for egress windows based on local construction rules, and whether or not you truly require an egress window in your bedroom. Continue reading for further explanation.
What is a Bedroom Egress Window?
A window that serves as an emergency exit is known as an egress window. If you are under a time crunch and need to leave the house quickly, you can do it through an egress window.
According to the International Residential Code (IRC), the size of egress windows must be large enough to permit inhabitants to depart the building in a reasonable amount of time and to allow first responders to access the building easily while carrying equipment.
The International Residential Code (IRC) also states that all rooms that are used for sleeping, basements, and attics must have an egress window that can be opened easily from the inside and does not require a key.
An egress window appears to be a typical large window, but it opens all the way. Before a finished basement can be lawfully transformed into a livable space, it must first comply with local building codes and install egress windows.
In addition, the proportions of egress windows need to be in accordance with the requirements of both the International Residential Code (IRC) and the local building regulations.
Do Bedrooms Need to Have an Egress Window?
Yes! Asides from the specific requirements of safety, there are many reasons bedrooms need to have egress windows. These include:
Egress windows are an effective safety measure
Every year, 4,000 Americans die in fires and over 20,000 are hurt. Many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented if people had proper escape plans and routes.
In the event of a major house fire, having an egress window in each bedroom and other “lived-in” areas, like the basement, greatly increases your chances of getting out safely. It also gives emergency workers a way to get into your home.
Adds value to your Home
Adding egress windows to your bedroom is especially important if you want to increase the value of your home.
This is because egress windows are the only way to bring basement bedrooms and living areas up to code and count them as part of the total square footage.
Popular Mechanics magazine says, “If you add a legal bedroom in the basement, you could get back 10 to 20 times what it cost to put in the windows when you sell the house.”
An egress window in a basement bedroom makes a dark, dingy room much brighter, which isn’t surprising since most building codes require egress windows to have “a clear opening of at least 5.7 square feet.” A window that size is also big enough to give even the stuffiest basement a lot of natural ventilation.
You don’t have to put the ugly corrugated tin in basement egress window wells. If you don’t have to worry about money, you can construct with timber, stone, or brick.
Or, you can buy composite window well liners that look like natural materials and make basement egress windows that are useful, budget-friendly, attractive, and simple to install.
You can even “landscape” this space with modest planting beds to give it some color and life.
What Size Should a Bedroom Egress Window be?
Although local egress window regulations may vary, the following International Residential Code (IRC) requirements must be met:
- The opening size must be at least 5.7 sq ft with no obstructions.
- At least 20 inches of clearance on each side of the entrance and 24 inches of height are required.
- A maximum height of 44 inches is allowed for the bottom of the clear opening.
- You shouldn’t need any special equipment to get it open.
- If the egress window is below ground, a well must be dug for the frame.
The following requirements should be met by an egress window well:
- A minimum of 9 square feet of floor area is required.
- Both the length and width must be at least 36 inches.
- If the well is more than 44 inches deep, a ladder must be installed.
- A minimum of 12 inches of width is required for the ladder. It must be at least 3 inches from the back wall and cannot extend more than 6 inches into the well. Also, the treads of the steps can’t be more than 18 inches apart.
Egress Window Size Based on Types
Asides from these standard specifications and dimensions, the type of bedroom egress window you chose to go for affects dimensions too. Here are some popular types of egress windows and their average size:
Casement Egress Windows
Egress casement windows often feature one or more side hinges. These windows may open like doors by swinging in or out. This layout permits smaller windows to yet fulfill egress criteria.
One common style of an egress window is the casement. They can be anything from 28 inches to 36 inches broad and from 35 1/2 inches to 48 inches high.
Single-Hung and Double-Hung Egress Window
Two panes of glass are standard on single-hung egress windows. Only the lower sash can be raised since the upper one remains fixed. In colder climates and older homes, single-hung windows are the norm. The egress window size requirement is very high, thus they need to be.
There are two panes of glass in a double-hung egress window. The sash at the top and bottom of the window can be adjusted independently. They need to be a decent size to ensure that they can function as an egress window in case of an emergency. Aim for a width of 28 inches and a height of 23 1/2 inches to 60 inches when designing your room.
Sliding Egress Windows
Like sliding glass doors, gliding egress windows open horizontally. For compliance, a minimum size of 4′ x 4′ is required.
Sliding windows require more space than casement windows to conform to egress window regulations. The dimensions of these windows are between 47 1/2 and 60 inches in width and between 35 1/2 and 60 inches in height.
Awning Egress Windows
Egress windows with an awning open outward from a top hinge. They can be opened by a simple outward tilt.
It’s important to check that the opening size of older awning windows satisfies current building regulations. Modern egress awning windows range in size from 36 to 48 inches in width and 23 1/2 to 36 inches in height. Awning windows work better on rooftops!