Are Window Wells Considered Egress?
Are Window Wells Considered Egress?
Yes, window wells are considered a form of egress because of their ability to provide an emergency exit from the home, particularly from below-ground areas such as basements.
An egress well is typically larger and more durable than a standard window, providing a secure, reliable means of access for people or pets.
The well also serves to protect the window from rocks, dirt, and other debris, as well as from excessive precipitation that could otherwise leak into the home. In addition to providing an escape route, window wells allow more natural light to enter the basement, creating an inviting and more livable environment.
Therefore, egress wells can be a great solution to safety and comfort issues while providing an aesthetic benefit to the home. However, to be considered egress, the window well must meet certain guidelines.
The window well must be large enough for a person to escape through in an emergency. This means that it must be at least 36 square inches in area and extend from below the surface of the ground to above grade.
The sides of the well must be vertical or have a minimum slope of 15 downward toward the interior of the home.
In order that people can exit through this area, 2 inches of clear space along each side is required between the floor and wall or window sill so that in case of a power blackout, individuals are not trapped inside by debris or furniture blocking their way out.
Can A Basement Egress Window Be Under A Deck?
Yes, Basement egress windows can be installed under decks and porches as long as certain conditions are met. Primarily, the location of the deck must allow the emergency escape window to be fully opened, which means it must be able to open without impediment.
Additionally, it must provide a pathway of at least 36 inches (914 mm) in height to a yard or court. This pathway allows the user to exit the window without encountering additional obstacles.
Furthermore, it is important to note that the egress window must be installed per local building codes, which typically require the window no higher than 44 inches from the basement floor. Suppose a basement egress window is installed under a deck.
In that case, the well must be constructed of concrete, masonry, or some other solid material to avoid breaking if someone accidentally steps in the opening. In this case, the window well should be made of a material that can support a minimum static load of 200 pounds per square foot and be about 2 inches thick.
Can A Casement Window Be An Egress Window?
Casement windows are an excellent choice when considering an egress window installation, as they are designed to meet code standards while occupying the least amount of wall space.
A casement window is typically composed of a single frame hinged on one side and is opened and closed by rotating a crank handle.
This type of window is ideal for egress window installations, as they can easily be opened wide enough to meet the code requirements for egress. Additionally, a specially built operator arm can be attached to the window, allowing even greater opening widths to meet egress requirements.
Casement windows are also easy to clean from the inside and can be opened to allow for natural ventilation. Furthermore, due to their efficient design, casement windows can deliver up to three times more natural light than a single-hung window.
Additionally, casement windows can be designed to accommodate interior glazing as well as exterior glazing, creating a dual-purpose egress window.