An egress window is a window that is required in specific locations in a home because it is intended to provide an emergency means of exiting the dwelling. Windows must meet specific size and other requirements to qualify as an egress window.
WHERE ARE EGRESS WINDOWS REQUIRED?
Egress windows are required in every room use for sleeping purposes (bedrooms) on any floor and in basements with habitable space. If you are constructing a new home, the code requires that you put an egress window in each bedroom. It also requires an egress window in the basement if habitable rooms will be finished. So whether you're building a new home, or adding a room or rooms in your existing basement, code requires an egress window in each of those.
WHAT ARE SIZE REQUIREMENTS FOR AN EGRESS WINDOW?
An egress window must satisfy four International Residential Code (IRC) criteria:
• Minimum width of opening: 20 in.
• Minimum height of opening: 24 in.
• Minimum net clear opening: 5.7 sq. ft.
• Maximum still height above floor: 44 in.
Net clear opening refers to the actual free and clear space that exists when the window is open. It is not the rough opening size or the glass panel size, but the actual opening a person can crawl through.
The window opening must be operational from the inside without keys or tools. Bars, grilles, and grates may be installed over windows but same thing, they must be operational without tools or keys and still allow the minimum clear opening.
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