Your Ultimate Guide To Basement Egress Windows And Why You Need One

An egress window is a window large enough to allow exit or entry in case of an emergency. Can you imagine being stuck in your basement in case of a fire that prevents you from getting out the door? A basement egress window comes in handy during such emergencies. It is a wise installation for your home to provide safety whenever there is a disastrous emergency such as a fire. An egress window Calgary also adds more functionality and comfort to your home.

The international building code (IRC) requires every basement or sleeping room beneath the fourth story of a house to have an emergency exit or rescue opening, whether a window, patio door, or a skylight. They emphasize that it must be big enough for one to pass through or for an emergency responder to get through into to your house. To meet the IRC standards, an egress window must have:

  • A net-clear opening of at least 5.7feet- this refers to the space available when the window is open.
  • Opening height of at least 24inches.
  • Opening width of at least 20inches.
  • Bottom of the clear opening to be 44inches from the floor.
  • The opening should be functional from the inside, and the window should not have grills or bars or require keys or tools to open it.

Not all basement windows qualify to be egress windows.

You may have basement windows in your house, but they do not qualify to be egress windows. For example, maybe you have an unfinished basement with ventilation windows. Those do not qualify to be egress windows because they do not meet the IRC standards. If you add or have a bedroom in your basement, you must install an egress window in that bedroom. Whenever you install a habitable room in your basement, you need to install an egress window as well in that room. That is part of the international building codes.

Basement egress window treatments

If you would like to add treatments to your basement egress window, keep them unified, airy, and light. That is to maximize the light coming into the room, not add more darkness into an otherwise dark room. Remember that the IRC requires that the basement egress window be easy to open from the inside and not require any tools. When incorporating window treatments in your basement egress window, ensure the window is still easy to open. You can use stained glass, light drapery, decorative window film, or valances to decorate your basement windows Calgary.

Benefits of basement egress windows

Safety- an egress window makes it easy to break out of the room in case of an emergency. You can escape through it if you can’t access the top level of your house for some reason.

Natural light- a basement window allows natural light to get into the basement room, especially if it is a bedroom.

Stay up to the IRC code- having an egress window in your basement is an IRC requirement by law.

Aesthetic appeal- when you look at it from the outside, an egress window adds a sense of style to your home design, and you can use matching materials to boost the aesthetic appeal.


If your basement needs an egress window, call a professional and have one installed for safety and compliance.