Egress Windows Guide

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If you are a landlord or utilize the basement in your home, having egress windows can save a life.

So when you are choosing the right kind of egress windows for your home, you want a team that offers professional and knowledgeable advice and service you can rely on.

Winmax has been helping homeowners create living spaces that are comfortable and safe for more than 30 years.

What Is An Egress Window?

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Egress windows provide a quick and safe escape in the event of an emergency. They traditionally come in three designs.

  • Casement
  • Vertical Slider
  • Horizontal Slider

Homeowners are required to have egress windows to ensure occupants of lower-level dwellings have an escape if alternative exits are blocked such as in the event of a fire. Most provincial and federal building fire codes now require egress windows. Homeowners who do not have the proper windows installed can face severe fines and penalties.

The size of egress windows should measure not less than 0.35 m2 (3.8ft2), with no dimension less than 380 mm (15 in.). The measurement should be taken between the sashes, jambs, sills, and opening mechanisms. The ideal size should accommodate an average-sized person.

The team at Winmax will review your current building structure to determine the best location and style to suit your home. We can then quickly begin installing the new windows so you can get your home up to code right away.

When Should You Get Egress Windows?

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If your home has a living space that only has one exit or a bedroom window that does not meet the measurement guidelines for a safe escape, then you should consider installing egress windows for added safety.

According to the National Building Code of Canada, bedroom windows must provide the floor area with a minimum of 5-percent light.

Windows should also provide adequate year-round mechanical ventilation and must be properly sized for emergency escape. This means windows should be able to open from the inside without keys, tools, or hardware.

Egress windows should also be easily accessible from the floor to ensure a safe escape. Windows should be no higher than 1.5 metres or 4.9 feet from the floor for easy access.

An egress window is not required if a sprinkler system is installed in the room.

Homeowners should check that there are not exterior blockages that would prevent a safe escape through an egress window such as window wells that would block exit or debris in front of the window.

Window wells should be at least 760mm or 2.49 feet away from the window. The team at Winmax will evaluate the exterior of your home and ensure adequate space is available between your egress window and the window well.

You want your home to be safe for you or your tenants, providing as many exit opportunities as possible. Egress windows are an affordable and lifesaving option to improve both the value and safety of your home.

Egress windows offer an affordable and safe option that allows easy and safe escape while meeting all fire code requirements.

Winmax Corporation can help you find the right egress window solution for your residence, paired with the best value and installation service so you don’t have to worry about the budget.

But which type of egress window is right for your home? We have put together a helpful guide that will make choosing and installing egress windows easier.

What Is the Minimum Opening for An Egress Window?

Egress windows are designed to provide a safe escape in case of an emergency. So it is important that they meet minimum size standards to ensure an adult can safely enter or exit.

According to the Ontario building code, an egress window must be openable from the inside without the use of tools. It must provide an individual, unobstructed open portion having a minimum area of 0.35 m² with no dimension less than 380 mm.

The window must also be able to stay open without support to ensure easy access.

Other Important Rules to Remember Include:

  • Except for basement areas, the window required shall have a maximum sill height of 1 000 mm above the floor.
  • When sliding windows are used, the minimum dimension shall apply to the openable portion of the window.
  • Where the sleeping area within a live/work unit is on a mezzanine with no obstructions more than 1 070 mm above the floor, the window may be provided on the main level of the live/work unit provided the mezzanine is not more than 25% of the area of the live/work unit or 20 m2, whichever is less, and an unobstructed direct path of travel is provided from the mezzanine to this window.
  • Where a window required opens into a window well, a clearance of not less than 550 mm shall be provided in front of the window.
  • Where the sash of a window swings towards the window well, the operation of the sash shall not reduce the clearance in a manner that would restrict escape in an emergency.
  • Where a protective enclosure is installed over the window well, such enclosure shall be openable from the inside without the use of keys, tools, or special knowledge of the opening mechanism.

Difference Between Egress Windows than Any Other Window

The differences between egress windows and traditional windows are minimal, however, there are some general location requirements. If a basement window is higher than 1.5 meters, it is recommended that you build a step up to the window to ensure access for adults and children. Window wells should be at least 760 mm from the window to prevent blockage.

Should a Special Type of Window Be Used?

To ensure proper function, it is recommended to use, at a minimum, casement windows as egress windows. It is important that hinged sashes of casement windows be able to open freely. It is recommended to use the largest window possible so that anyone could easily escape.

Egress windows are designed to serve many functions:

  • Emergency Exit
  • Ventilation
  • Light (a minimum of 5%)

It is important for the health and safety of those in the room where the egress window is located that you provide the most space possible and ensure that there is no hindrance to opening and closing.

Why Most Windows Don’t Meet Egress Requirements

Health and safety standards have changed greatly over the years. Homes that pre-date egress window building codes often don’t meet the necessary requirements for safety and accessibility. However, this problem is not just with older homes. Many new homes do not meet egress window building requirements. It is important to consult with a building expert to ensure that any renovations or new builds meet the necessary requirements.

What Is Needed to Convert My Standard Basement Windows Into Egress Windows?

Are you looking to convert your basement into a living space for renters? Do you want to add an office or media room? If you are planning on using your basement for more than just storage, it’s important to ensure you provide adequate egress windows in the event of an emergency.

Winmax is proud to help homeowners create a living space that is safe for their families and guests. We provide fast, friendly, and affordable service so you can meet building regulations without worrying about breaking your budget.

Contact us today to get a free quote on upgrading your windows to egress windows.