Basement Windows

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Basement Windows
Basement Windows
Other Names:
Windows for Basements, Basement Replacement Windows
Local codes mandate special sizes and styles of basement windows.

Increasing numbers of homeowners are deciding to stay in their own homes instead of spending their resources on relocating to a new home. Many of these homeowners decide to renovate their home to make better use of the existing space. Renovating a basement is a great way to add a bedroom, family room or workshop to a home but local codes strictly regulate the window application needed for basement rooms.


[edit] Basement Window Considerations

When installing a basement replacement window a homeowner must ensure that the window will meet all the applicable codes for an egress emergency escape window. Codes include all of the necessary components that would allow the people in the room to exit safely in the event of an emergency or would allow emergency personnel to enter the room safely when necessary.

[edit] Air and Light

Remodeling a basement space as a living area requires a replacement window that can bring air and light into the basement space and can also function as a door.

[edit] Code Requirements

Local codes differ slightly but in almost every location the fire codes stipulate that a replacement basement window must be installed at a level which is low enough to allow for an easy exit or entrance in case of emergency. The codes generally demand a replacement egress window that measures anywhere from 5 ½ feet to 6 feet in diameter.

[edit] Installation

When installing a replacement egress window the installer must insure that the code requirements for the entrance opening are met. Most egress window codes mandate that the window be no more than 44 inches from the floor. The installation must ensure that the entrance opening extends at least 36 inches from the window and the opening well may not interfere with the window's operation. Homeowners can investigate the availability of a pre-constructed well for the window's installation.

[edit] Styles

Casement or horizontal sliding windows are acceptable as replacement egress basement windows. These windows provide ventilation and daylighting to an otherwise dark basement along with the ability to function as a door if needed.

[edit] Sliders

Sliding windows, also called "gliders" function as a sliding glass door, allowing a person either inside or outside the basement to slide one pane open horizontally while the other pane remains fixed. A sliding window is an attractive and economical window option which functions efficiently as a replacement basement egress window.

[edit] Casements

Casement windows are hinged on the side and open fully at a 90 degree angle to provide full venting, sufficient light and a code-compliant replacement basement egress window. Replacement casement windows should provide 20" or more of clearance.

[edit] Framing Materials

Replacement basement windows are available as composite,fiberglass windows,wood-clad, vinyl or aluminum frame framing. Costs and energy performance of these window frames vary. If the basement renovation is planned as a bedroom, it is especially important to ensure that the windows provide a high level of insulation. Replacement basement windows are available with Energy Star certifications which qualify them as energy effective window solutions.

[edit] Basement Window Installation Tips

Installing a basement window is frequently a more complicated window installation than other types of window installations due to the necessity for a "well" or area surrounding the window which allows access to the window in case the window needs to be used as an escape window.

There are basement window liners and inserts on the market but industry advisers suggest that a sturdy and durable basement window well saves homeowners time and money in the long run. A complete corroded basement window well exchange is a more economical option than a liner or insert and it also protects the structural integrity of the house.

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