Have you ever avoided basements because they were dark and you felt trapped in them? That is a common reaction experienced by many people. After all, we’ve all seen movies and read books where characters are trapped in old cellars with no way of getting out and end up in dire circumstances. In older homes especially, most basement windows, if there were any at all, are small and placed high up on the walls. With modern window technology, however, there are other, more attractive options available that will allow both light and safety to become a part of your basement environment.
These modern windows are usually called egress windows. They are located at normal window levels in a basement with window wells and even ladders outside of them, if necessary, so as to allow you a second means of escape room from your basement in case of emergency. It can be a comforting thought to know that you’ll never be “trapped” in your basement again. There will always be a way out.
If some of your basement walls are above-ground, you’ll be able to use your egress windows for other purposes. They can function like regular windows and be opened to let in fresh air. They are also large enough so that you can pop out the screens and climb out of them if you need to. Additionally, you may find them very handy if you need to move furniture and materials into and out of your basement, because they are at ground level on the outside of the house.
Building codes in most areas require egress windows for homes that have bedrooms in the basement. Although you might consider them a waste of money, they can be vital in saving someone’s life and in protecting the safety of your family. Most codes specify that egress windows be at least 22″ w x 24″ h. This space will allow plenty of room for most people to climb out of them safely. Of course, you can always install larger windows if you like to make them easier for everyone who might need to use them.
If you’re thinking of remodeling your basement into new living space, one of the first things you’ll need to do is look into the building codes in your area to find out what you are required to have for egress windows. Once they’re installed, you’ll feel good in knowing that your home is safer and more secure than ever.