Egress Windows

An egress window is a window that is required in specific locations of a home. These windows provide increase light, livability, and acts as an exit point in case of an emergency.

Required Egress Window Locations

One egress window must be installed in every room within a home that is considered for sleeping purposes. These rooms can be on any floor including basements with habitable living space. If you are adding an addition or doing any type of new construction work, the building code requires that an egress window is installed in each bedroom.

Required Egress Window Size’s

All windows need to meet a specific size requirement to be considered an “Egress” window. Those size requirements may vary by state and city. Here are the required measurements based on the four International Residential Code (IRC):

  • Minimum width of opening: 20 in.
  • The minimum height of opening: 24 in.
  • Minimum net clear opening: 5.7 sq. ft. (5.0 sq. ft. for ground floor).
  • The minimum net clear opening: 5.7 sq. ft. (5.0 sq. ft. for ground floor).
  • Maximum sill height above floor: 44 in

All measurements are based on the actual opening a person can crawl through, and not the rough opening or glass panel size. It is important to note, the window needs to be operational from the inside of the home and cannot require tools or keys to open it.

Basement Egress Windows

Casement windows are ideal when meeting the size requirements of an egress window in your basement. This window is favorable because of how they are built. Casement windows have a hinged like that allows the window to swing free and clear of the opening, giving easier access in and out of a structure.

Other than the height, width, and overall square-footage requirements that a basement egress window must meet, there are other requirements pertaining to the “window well”. Here are those requirements:

  • The “window well” must be able to open fully.
  • The area of the “floor area” must meet 9 sq. ft. with a minimum dimension of 36 inches in width and length.
  • Must contain steps, stairs, or a ladder for climbing out of the “window well” if it exceeds 44 inches in depth.

Egress windows can be installed under a porch or deck as long as the height between the top of the window well and the bottom of the deck or porch joists is at least 48 inches.

Replacement Windows

If a smaller window is being replaced with a larger one to meet egress requirements, it is good to know enlarging the height of the opening takes less structural work than enlarging the width. See some of our replacement windows we offer.


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