If you’re looking to add finished space to your basement (maybe you want a bedroom, recreation room, exercise room etc.) building codes will require you to add an emergency egress window (or door). Since this is not a simple or inexpensive project it’s critical to know your options to make the best choice for your home and budget. This article will provide 5 steps to guide you through this process.

Step 1 – Design the inside space first – What room(s) do you want in your basement? Are you looking to add a bedroom, a TV/Home Theater/Game or entertainment room, an area to exercise, bathroom, utility room or more desirable storage space? An operable emergency exit window or door is required for each bedroom and also for common use areas like TV and exercise rooms. Consider which rooms you would like to have more light and ventilation which will benefit from the larger window space (you’ll probably want to put this window as far away from a theater room as possible). Bathrooms, laundry rooms, and utilities areas generally do not require the emergency exit windows. http://smartwebsiteideas.com/

Step 2 – Determine how many escape windows you’ll need – You’ll need the emergency window in every bedroom and one for the common areas. For a basement remodeling project you’ll want to add these windows before starting your inside work.

Step 3 – Know your local building codes (or hire a contractor who does) – This is one area in the basement remodeling process you’ll want to get right. Egress windows involve a good amount of effort to create (new construction is much less costly since there is no cutting or additional excavation required) so doing the project to code (while not cheap) will save money down the road. In most municipalities the 2006 International Residential Code will apply which will require the open space for this window to equal or exceed 5.7 square feet (and have an open area at least 20″ wide and 24″ high), the area inside the window well to be 9 square feet or greater, and the sill to be no more than 44″ off the inside of the basement floor. Make sure to check your local codes and plan accordingly before you start.

Step 4 Order the best basement window and well for your space – There are many choices for an emergency escape basement window both in the operating style (casement, double hung or slider) and in the type of window (acrylic block, vinyl, or aluminum clad wood window).

When choosing the operating style a casement window (which cranks out) generally works best. The reason the casement is a good choice is it is hinged on the side so the entire sash opens up (which will allow you to be able to order a smaller window and window well than choosing a double hung or slider window where only one of the two sashes in the window will count as the operable space).

When you’re ordering the actual window you’ll want to make a selection which will maximize the amount of light and ventilation but also one that will provide safety, security, and privacy (since the view outside the window is only of the window well walls). For this reason an acrylic block casement window can provide a high degree of privacy and light, easy to clean and open as well.

Step 5 Get the Right Tools and Equipment or Hire the Right Contractor – In almost all egress window installations the existing basement openings are not large enough to meet local building codes. This will require your poured concrete or block walls to be cut and sized for the new emergency exit window. This project will require the area for the well be excavated, the opening cut with a concrete saw, masonry work be done on the opening, drainage added for the well, and the window and window well be installed. Since excavation and concrete equipment are quite expensive many homeowners choose to work with a professional basement remodeling contractor.

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