Do You Need Egress Windows?

Have you ever heard of the word ‘egress?’ No, not ‘egret. ‘That’s a bird. While we do have a number of snowy egrets in Maryland, we’re talking about a different word…one that means ‘the action of going out of or leaving a place.’ You may not hear your friend tell you they’re going to ‘egress’ the room, but it IS common to hear the term ‘egress’ when talking about windows.

Why Might You Need Egress Windows in Your Basement?

  • Building code requirements
  • Safety for your family
  • Increased home value

Building Codes for Egress Windows

In a building, a ‘means of egress’ is a ‘continuous and unobstructed way of exit travel from any point in a building or structure to a public way and consists of three separate and distinct parts: the way of exit access; the exit; and the way of exit discharge.’ In a basement, it means having a safe and easy exit from underground.

Many state and local building codes require egress windows for basement rental units, as well as in new home construction. If you have a bedroom in your basement, building codes require you to have a means of egress, or escape to the outside from the bedroom.

This can be a door, egress window, or a patio door for a walkout basement. The important thing to understand here is that the means of egress must be IN the bedroom.

Read more about specific sizes for building codes in our previous blog, “Why Are Egress Windows So Important?

Safety For Your Family

These building codes exist for a reason because it could be the difference between life or death in a fire. If your home catches fire, anyone in the basement without access to a reasonably sized and safe exit could be in danger as they may not be able to get out or could be in the home too long and have the ceiling cave in on them. An Egress Window allows for a safe way to exit the basement with a large window and ladder directly to the outside.

That could mean the difference between a scary situation being inconvenient and an unimaginable tragedy. An egress window can provide your family peace of mind when you have children living in the basement, college kids home for the holidays sleeping in the basement, or guests staying in your basement guest room.

Increase Your Home Value

When it comes to real estate, it’s always good to know how to make your home more valuable and having an egress window in a basement room is a definite winner. You cannot legally claim in a real estate listing that you have a 4-bedroom house if one of those bedrooms is in a basement without a means of egress other than the stairs.

If you have a basement in Maryland or Northern Virginia with a room that does not include a means of egress to the outside, you technically can’t call it a ‘bedroom.’ Adding an Egress window can take your house from a three bedroom to a four bedroom and increase the value of your home.

Based on data from Open Door, with all other things being equal, your home value has the highest increase when adding a second or third bedroom. The data also shows that adding up to a third bedroom can have an average increase of 6.2% for the median home. That’s an estimated dollar increase of about $19,813 in an average market.

Check out our Egress Windows page on the Value Dry website.

Egress Windows and Basement Waterproofing

You may ask yourself how ‘Basement Waterproofing’ and ‘Egress Windows’ go together, but consider that when digging into the ground around a home’s foundation, it’s important to also ensure that water drainage does not enter your home. If you need to have a window well for your basement bedroom egress window, you need to have a drain at the bottom of that egress window well so your basement doesn’t leak.

A proper basement waterproofing system is how you accomplish that. In fact, basement waterproofing companies often get calls where homeowners complain that their egress window leaks during heavy rains. Make sure you do this right the first time by hiring a basement waterproofing company to install the egress window.

Egress window installation is not a DIY job. You will need to hire a company experienced in installing egress windows for basements. While certain window companies install egress windows, we recommend that you hire a basement waterproofing company.

There are several reasons why you will want to hire a basement waterproofing company to install your egress windows. One is due to the type of work required to cut through your basement foundation walls. There is also the possibility that you will need one or more sump pumps installed to protect your home from water seepage.

In addition, if there are any drainage issues or evidence of existing water seepage, we can help take care of that at the time of your window installation. Your average window installer is not equipped to deal with water intrusion issues such as these.

Schedule a FREE Egress Window Consultation

If you’re looking to install new egress windows or replace smaller windows with egress windows, we would welcome the opportunity to help you upgrade your basement and Reclaim Your Territory™. We offer egress window installation, foundation repair, and basement waterproofing solutions to homeowners throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia, Washington DC, and Southern Delaware.

Schedule a free consultation by filling out our form, or calling us at (888) 768-2583.

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