egress window

Why Are Egress Windows So Important?

If you own a home with a basement in Maryland or Northern Virginia, you may have heard about egress windows. So, just what is an egress window? Simply put, it’s a large window that is partially underground that allows for emergency escape from your basement.

Why is that important? Because if there is a fire that blocks the stairs to the upstairs, or an intruder coming down into the basement, you and your family have an emergency exit. Building codes require basement egress windows in the construction of new homes. Maryland building codes also require egress windows if you are going to convert part of your basement into a bedroom or rental property. 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.

Egress Window Size

Building codes are very specific about the egress window size. Maryland follows the IRC Egress Codes concerning size, as well. While a window can (and probably should) be bigger than this, it must:

  • Be at least 20” wide
  • Be at least 24” high
  • Project at least 36” from the foundation wall
  • Be no more than 44” from the floor

These specific dimensions are to ensure that it is easy for someone to exit your basement through the egress window whether they are a child or an adult.

Arranging Egress Window Installation

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. 

This is because of the work required to cut through your basement foundation walls. The possibility that you will need one or more sump pumps installed to protect your home from water seepage is also a reason. 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.

The Importance of Egress Window Covers

Because the window well outside your egress window is open to the elements, you need to invest in quality egress window covers. The best cover is sized correctly for your window well, and made of clear, industrial-grade polycarbonate.

Window well covers can help keep rain, snow, hail, debris, and small animals out of your window well. You will want to attach them with spring clips so they don’t blow away in the slightest breeze. But don’t worry, egress window well covers will easily “pop off” from the inside when pushed.

It’s important to note that while window covers will keep most things out, you need to periodically check your window wells and keep them clear of debris and snow. Your window wells will have a drain, which you need to keep clear to avoid a flooded window well and water seepage into your basement.

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 the form, or calling us at (888) 768-2583.

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