Everything You Need to Know About Egress Windows

September 20, 2022



Everything You Need To Know About Egress Windows - Clera Windows + Doors

Egress windows are fundamentally emergency exits in a home.

Because safety should always be a number one priority, it’s important to consider incorporating one when building your dream house or going about renovations. Not only will egress windows provide plenty of ventilation and sunlight, but they also offer a safe escape route in case of an emergency.

However, it is an unfortunate truth that many builders and window companies do not provide proper information on current egress window regulations, which is not only unlawful but also potentially fatal. Having an adequate understanding of basement egress windows is essential to your own safety and that of your family.  

In order to ensure that you are equipped with a full understanding of what egress windows are and all the regulations that they come with, we’ve compiled a guide to help give you a basic starting point.

What Are Egress Windows?

Let’s start with the basics: what are egress windows? Like we mentioned earlier, egress windows are used as emergency exits in a home. They were designed to optimize safety and offer your family a contingency escape plan in the rare case of a fire.

Egress basement windows are helpful for any basements or upstairs windows, where finding an exit can be a lot more difficult.

If you live in an older, pre-owned home, it’s possible that your bedroom windows are no longer up to regulation requirements. Newer homes might also lack proper egress windows, which can be extremely unsafe. The next section covers what regulation requirements your egress windows must meet.

What Are Egress Windows - Clera Windows + Doors

What Are the Legal Requirements of Egress Windows?

The National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) is what sets the standards for egress windows, determining what regulatory requirements they must meet during manufacturing and installation. These regulations dictate their minimum height, width, and net clear opening area requirements, as well as their maximum distance from the floor.

They must be at least 24 inches tall, 20 inches wide, and have a net clearance of 5.7 square feet. In other words, it needs to be large enough for a person to crawl through.

In newer home builds, every room that is used for sleeping must have at least one egress window that is up to code.

This can sometimes be tricky to manage, especially if rooms that were not originally intended to function as bedrooms find themselves transformed into them years after being built. For instance, a family room in a basement does not require an egress window. But if that space eventually becomes your teenage son’s bedroom, it will then require an egress window by law.

Moreover being an escape route for anyone trapped inside, egress windows also serve as an alternative entryway for firefighters to douse a fire.

Types of Egress Windows

There are a variety of egress windows that have been used in newly built or remodelled homes that you can have installed. It doesn’t matter what type of egress window is used, so long as it meets the necessary requirements as dictated by the NBCC. Here are the three most common:

 1. Double-Hung  

Double-hung windows are a common egress window style found in both new and old homes. They consist of two overlapping sashes across the horizontal middle, with the bottom half opening upwards and top half to the bottom. To meet regulatory requirements, double-hung windows while open, must be at least 24 inches tall and 34 inches wide.

 2. Sliding Windows  

This style of egress windows opens from side to side, rather than up and down, acting similarly to a sliding door. They must be able to open at least 20 inches in width, and a minimum of 55 inches wide. They would also need to be at least 41 inches tall.

 3. Casement Windows  

Casement windows open in or out, much like a door on a hinge. They can either be opened by a handle or with a rotating lever. Since the entirety of a casement window can open, they can be smaller and still meet the minimum sizing requirements.

Everything You Need To Know About Egress Windows - Clera Windows + Doors

How Do I Convert My Standard Basement Windows to Egress Windows?

Basement egress windows present their own set of challenges. In addition to the specific size requirements we previously mentioned, they also require a window well to surround it. Window wells come with their own set of requirements. This list includes:

  • Enough space for the window to be fully opened.
  • Nine sq. ft. of floor space with minimum dimensions of 36 inches by 36 inches.
  • A ladder that is permanently attached to the side of the well is required if it is deeper than 44 inches. The ladder cannot be more than 12 inches wide and project no more than three inches from the well’s wall.
  • You do not need to install a ladder if the window well is built from timbers or modular concrete blocks.

How Much Do Egress Windows Cost?

The cost of egress windows varies greatly. Typically, a homeowner can expect to spend about $2,000 on average. The lowest cost reported was $400, and the highest was $5,000. With all that being said, the biggest variants that will factor into how much an egress window costs will depend on if custom excavation is needed and how many windows are being installed.

If you’d like to know more about the costs of egress windows, contact Clera Windows + Doors for a consultation.

Egress Basement Windows That You Can Count On

The importance of egress basement windows cannot be stressed enough. They are an absolute necessity for safety.

To ensure that your home gets high-quality egress windows that guarantee the safety of your family, you can trust Clera Windows + Doors! For over 44 years we have been providing premium windows and doors to our valued customers all over the nation. From effective conceptualization and affordable financing options all the way to production and installation, you can rest assured that you get nothing less than top-tier quality.

To find out more about how much egress windows will cost you, contact Clera Windows & Doors today!

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