When building a new home, many people wonder whether they need to include egress windows. Many homeowners are unsure how to be compliant with city or state building codes while maintaining their architectural vision.
Egress windows may be an unfamiliar topic for others, who may never have heard of them before. Others may wonder why they need egress windows in the first place. Since it pays to be knowledgeable about improving home safety, egress windows are a relevant topic for every homeowner.
In this article, we will introduce you to egress windows like the ones manufactured by FAKRO. We will also go over how to ensure you are compliant with your local building codes.
You will see that adding egress windows does not have to limit your style and design options. We will also show you why it is vital that you include egress windows in your home. By the end, you will be ready to talk to your contractor about your egress windows and have an idea of how to install them.
What Is an Egress Window?
Egress windows are windows that can be used to escape your home during an emergency. Egress windows are required in specific locations throughout your home. Generally, codes require that an egress window should be in place in every room where people sleep.
However, an egress window is not necessarily a distinct kind of window. Egress windows are usually normal casement, sliding, and double-hung windows. The only specifications are that they are a minimum size to allow people to use them as an emergency exit.
The word “egress” is derived from the Latin word “egressus,” which means to go out or to exit. Egress windows are designed to be safe, convenient exits for emergencies like fires, home intrusions, or even sudden medical situations.
Usually, newly constructed homes need to have an egress window in every bedroom and the basement. These windows serve as an escape option in case routine exits are unreachable or unsafe. Since egress windows need to be a minimum size, they can be in most styles and shapes.
Usually, egress windows must have 5.7 square feet of net clear opening area unless they are at-grade floor or below grade. In either case, the minimum becomes five feet.
They also require 24 inches of net clear height opening and 20 inches of net clear width opening. If windows are used to meet egress regulations, rather than doors, the windowsill height cannot be more than 44 inches above your finished floor.
Why Have Egress Windows?
An egress window is a necessity in case of a fire or other life-threatening situation that happens in your home. Without egress windows, you and your family could be trapped in a dangerous situation.
Not every room has to have an egress window. However, the general rule is that the more egress windows throughout your home, the better. Any place where someone could sleep, such as basement bedrooms or guest rooms, should be equipped with at least one egress window.
Another reason to learn about egress windows is that they will likely be required should you install new windows. Even if your home was built before egress windows were added to the local building code, you still might need to retrofit your house with them. Requirements are different in each locale.
Make sure to check with the local building code enforcement office before you begin any window replacement project. If you fail to do this, you may create a legal and financial headache for yourself somewhere down the line.
When thinking about the value of egress windows, the most crucial component is safety. With properly installed and compliant egress windows, your family is much safer.
Emergencies can happen at any time and to any of us. It pays to be prepared in the event of a life-threatening situation. Part of proper preparation is safe building design, which is why jurisdictions enforce building codes to ensure every individual is that much safer.
Without an egress window in every bedroom, one or more of your family members could be unable to reach safety in an emergency. For most homeowners, this thought alone is enough to convince them that egress windows are a smart idea.
An egress window is like the emergency door in an aircraft: you hope you never need to use it, but it should always be there. While we all wish we never have a home emergency, being unprepared can have disastrous and even deadly results.
Erring on the side of caution when constructing new buildings of any kind is always wise. Without egress windows, you could be gambling with your family’s safety.
Installing Egress Windows
Egress windows need to be installed per local regulations. Most cities base their requirements on the International Residential Code, though they are not always required to follow the code. However, an increasing number of American jurisdictions are adopting the IRC as their minimum standards.
This makes it a good rule of thumb to make sure your windows are compliant with the IRC. Generally, every room in your home where people will sleep needs an egress window or exterior door to serve as an emergency exit.
Check your local regulations to ensure your egress window will meet the minimum size and placement requirements. Make sure you discuss egress windows with your contractor so you can decide on the correct locations, size, and spatial adjustments.
Your contractor should know and follow local residential codes. Once you complete these steps, it is only a matter of picking a window that meets your taste.
FAKRO’s Roof Access Egress Windows
Our roof access egress windows let in plenty of daylight and improve your home’s air circulation. They also provide great leisure, maintenance, and emergency access to your roof. FAKRO has proven its commitment to high-quality products for more than 20 years.
This experience lets us design new roof windows while considering every factor that could potentially affect a homeowner. FAKRO roof access egress windows are designed to be functionally efficient and easy to use while maintaining style.
You can learn more about FAKRO product certifications here. We can also provide you with an estimate for your next window replacement project. Contact us with any questions, and we will be more than happy to help you.
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