Fire, earthquakes, and floods can strike at any time, catching you off guard in the comfort of your home. Although you can never predict when these emergencies will happen, you can implement several preventative measures, such as installing basement egress windows to set up escape routes you and your family can slip through in times of need.
In this blog, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about basement egress windows, including their purpose, building code requirements, placement considerations, and the benefits of installing them on your property. Without further ado, let’s get started.
The importance of basement egress windows
In the state of Michigan, basement egress windows are a building code requirement for residential areas rather than an optional architectural feature like corner windows. This is because the primary purpose of basement egress windows is to provide a safe means of escape for occupants in case of a fire or other emergencies.
Requirements of basement egress windows
Unlike other types of windows, basement egress windows require careful planning before they’re installed due to specific building code requirements for Michigan homes. Here are some factors to consider:
Basement egress windows should be large enough for a person to escape through. At WMGB, we require a minimum opening width of 20 inches and an opening height of 24 inches.
The window sill should be at most 44 inches above the floor, and the window well must have at least 9 square feet of floor space with minimum dimensions of 36 inches wide and long. A permanent ladder is also needed if the window well is over 44 inches deep.
Anyone must be able to open basement egress windows without exerting too much force or using keys or additional tools to guarantee hassle-free escape during emergency scenarios.
Optimal accessibility can be achieved by utilizing smooth-gliding tracks, sturdy yet lightweight frames, and easy-to-grip handles during the initial installation of basement egress windows. Regularly lubricating the moving parts will also prevent them from getting stuck.
- Window wells and ladders
Window wells are structures built around basement windows that extend outward from the exterior wall of a building, providing enough space for people to run away and climb out of the basement grounds. Additionally, window wells often have ladders secured to the interior walls for quick escape.
Placement considerations of basement egress windows
During the pre-installations of basement egress windows, technicians will access the location of your basement and avoid placing egress windows near gas or propane meters and outdoor air conditioning compressors. This precaution ensures that your escape route is safe to access and free from obstructions.
Advantages of basement egress windows
Basement egress windows offer a range of benefits beyond their essential evacuation function, making them a valuable addition to your home.
- Natural light and ventilation — Egress windows allow daylight and airflow to enter basements, brightening and reducing humidity levels in the area, making it a more comfortable and inviting space.
- Aesthetic flair — Basement egress windows have a natural charm, enhancing the appearance of your exteriors and boosting your property’s curb appeal.
- Increased resale value — The safety feature basement egress windows add to your home will make your property more desirable for potential buyers, increasing its marketability and resale value.
Trust WMGB Home Improvement to install your basement egress windows
Now that you’ve learned the function, purpose, and importance of basement egress windows, there’s no better time to partner with WMGB Home Improvement for your home-building requirements.
Whether renovating your property or planning to build a custom home in Michigan, our team can help you adhere to building codes and create an accessible and reliable escape route with our expert installation of basement egress windows.
Already working with another home development or renovation company? No problem! WMGB is flexible in working with other contractors to ensure your home improvement project is completed to your satisfaction.
Aside from our comprehensive window installation and replacement services, we also provide home energy solutions to clients in Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, Battle Creek, and surrounding areas. Contact us today for a free quote.