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A Buyer’s Guide to Egress Windows

If you are building or remodeling your basement in the Grand Rapids area, you’ll need an egress window. All bedrooms require an egress window, especially those below grade. Egress windows make

your home safe and code compliant. We’ll cover everything you need to know about egress windows, including the types, sizes, and all various Michigan code requirements in our Egress Windows Buyer’s Guide here. 

What Are Egress Windows? 

Egress windows provide you and your family with a save passage to safety in the event of fires, floods and other natural disasters. Every finished basement must have an egress window in Michigan if finished living space exists below grade.

Egress Window Requirements

IRC building codes require that egress windows and window wells meet minimum size requirements. They shall provide an unobstructed, clear opening passage to the exterior of your home. No locks,

security grates, bars or other devices are allowed to block the window well. 

Here are the specific dimensions for basement egress windows:

  • Minimum of 5.7 sq ft openable space
  • Must open to at least 24 inches in height 
  • Must open to at least 20 inches wide 
  • Windowsill can be no more than 44” above the floor

Egress Window Wells

If your egress window is below grade a window well will also be needed. WMGB egress window wells

allows someone to escape in the case of an emergency or for  emergency personnel entry. Egress

window wells come in many designs, shapes, and sizes yet they must all meet minimum code

requirements. Covers and grates are options to add safety against falls and security.

Here are the Michigan codes requirements for basement window wells:

  • Inside area must be no less than 9 sq ft.
  • Minimum projection inside the well is 36”
  • Window must open fully and completely within the window well
  • If the inside depth of the well is greater than 36” a fixed operable ladder must be installed

Egress window wells come in minimum sizes and go up to 84” wide, all meeting Michigan code requirements.

Benefits of Egress Windows 

The most valuable advantage of egress windows is to provide a safe exit in case of emergency for your family. You cannot put a price on your loved ones so keeping them safe is important. While costs to install an egress window varies from as little as $1500 – $7000, having a finished—and code-compliant—basement will add that and more value to your home. Other benefits include:

  • More natural light
  • Natural air flow
  • Aesthetics
  • Point of access for large items
  • Peace of mind

Types of Egress Windows 

Windows used for your egress window are most often limited to a few designs when used for below

grade egress windows and wells. These include:

Casement Windows

Casement windows open to the exterior and provide a large square foot  area in a narrow design. These can be doubled or mulled together for large size egress windows.

Inswing casement windows

Inswing windows are essentially two windows in one. They operate vertically as a single hung window

for ventilation but open to the interior of your home for escape. A great alternative that achieves

many size limitations.

Sliding Windows

Slider windows open left or right and are the largest of your egress window choices. Maximum light

with maximum ventilation a sliding window is a great option for those wanting as much light as

possible. You can make them as big as needed.

Download the full Egress Windows Buyer’s Guide here. 

Call WMGB Home Improvement For Basement Egress Windows

At WMGB Home Improvement we are the experts in egress windows and wells. We have over 35 years of experience installing egress window systems in the Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Holland and Lake shore areas in Michigan. Our team of designers and experts will help you find the right choice for your egress window that fits your home’s needs and budget.

Get a free basement egress window estimate. Call 616-226-5558 or contact us online.


Everyone was pleasant to work with. They did a quality job at a reasonable price.
Gail W
I just had basement windows installed and they look great The light brightens up the space.
Nicholas Graham

Contact Us Today

WMGB Home Improvement is committed to making your home look its absolute best. To learn more about our home improvement products and services, give us a call at 616-205-9568 or Contact Us online.
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