Casement windows not only have excellent curb appeal and efficiency ratings but they also allow your home to be up to today’s codes. At Husker Siding, Windows & Roofing we have found many homeowners don’t understand that in order for a bedroom in your house to truly qualify as a bedroom it must have a window inside it that, per code, has a large enough opening to qualify as an egress window. Without it, you simply have a room not a bedroom. The International Residential Code spells out a number of code requirements for egress windows and emergency escape in houses and other residential buildings.
What is code for Egress windows?
As stated above, you’re required to have at least one egress window or door in a basement and in every bedroom. If you have a window in a bedroom in the basement then you don’t need to have an additional one elsewhere in the basement unless you have another bedroom in which case you need to have one in that bedroom as well.
The bottom of the window (sill height) can’t be more than 44″ above the floor. This allows a for some ease in getting one’s bodyweight above that height and out of the opening. The opening must be at least 5.7 square feet unless its on the ground floor where it only has to be 5 sf. The minimum opening also needs to be at least 24″ tall and at least 20″ wide. You also have to be able to open the window from inside without any special keys or hardware. These sizes should not be confused with the size of the window you order. This is the “clear opening” size required.
If your egress window is below grade (not a walkout basement) you need a window well with space inside the well of at least 9 sf and measuring 36″ minimum space in both directions. If it is more than 44″ deep you need a permanent ladder with rungs at least 12″ wide, with no more than 18″ of height between rungs and projecting 3″ to 6″ off the wall.
Why are there so many rules to an egress window?
Why does the opening need to be so big? There are a number of reasons. The obvious answer is in case there is an emergency like a fire, you can get out of the window. However, upon seeing the size of an egress window you will determine that getting out of that size opening appears to be easy. To be honest, that is the idea. However, the other reason is a good one. The real idea is making the opening large enough for a fireman with his gear can not only get in but also get you and he out of the window safely. Makes sense right?
Due to the many different window manufacturers it can be very challenging to understand what size window you need to get to these minimum size requirements. That’s where we can help. At Husker Siding Windows & Roofing we have the code and product knowledge necessary to help guide you in the right direction to ensure your needs are met. We do this by empowering you with the information needed to make an informed decision. Call, visit us on the web or simply stop by our showroom with over 40 windows on display so we can help you today. (402) 894-9525, www.huskerhamer.com.