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If you’re like me you probably have no idea what egress means, but I’ve been learning lately that it’s rather important. When replacing your existing windows, especially in older homes, you must make sure that the replacement window meets proper egress requirements.

What is an egress window?

An egress window is a window that is required in specific locations in a residence and is intended to provide an emergency means of exiting a residence. Window must meet specific size requirements to qualify as an egress window.

Dimensions of Egress Window - Polar Ray-O-Max Windows

Where are egress windows required?

Egress windows are required in every room used 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 in the basement. If you install a basement bedroom or bedrooms, an egress window is required in each bedroom. If you have an existing home and you add a sleeping room in an unfinished basement, the code requires that you install an egress window in the sleeping room or rooms.

Egress Window Specifications - Polar Ray-O-Max WindowsThe size of an egress window is not based on the physical size of the window frame, but on what the unobstructed clear opening is (once the window has been fully opened). Must be at least 0.35 m2 (542 in2) with no horizontal or vertical side having a dimension of less than 380mm (15”).

So, if you are contemplating replacing an existing bedroom window, or adding a bedroom to your basement, you need to ensure each bedroom window meets the minimum egress window requirements.