Does a basement that has a bedroom have to have an egress window in the actual bedroom or just somewhere in the basement?

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Posted by: from Hamilton
4/18/2014 at 10:00:14 PM

We know we need an egress window in the basement if we put a bedroom in, but if the egress window is in the rec room and there is just a regular basement window in the bedroom is it still to code?

Also, how big does an egress window in the basement have to be and how big does the window well have to come out from the house?

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Rodney from PGCrenovations in Cambridge
Date/Time4/18/2014 at 11:28:22 PM

All basement bedrooms windows must be egress, size and other details are on the internet along with lots of detail and window well sizes.

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Steve from Cozybuilt Homes in Delta
Date/Time4/18/2014 at 11:30:52 PM

Hello Aileen,

An egress window is required in all sleeping rooms, so the regular window in the basement bedroom will not meet code. The window must have an unobstructed opening of 3.8 square feet when the window is open, with no dimension less than 15". Awning windows are typically not allowed in a well.

This information is for British Columbia (Delta) - best to check your local building codes as they can differ.

Steve Hamilton

Cozybuilt Homes

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Date/Time4/19/2014 at 11:26:30 AM

Hi Aileen,

The code is looking into two different things when they looking for basement windows.

In one hand each bedroom has to have a window with "natural light" of at least 5% from floor space, so you need to enlarge the small window to fit the room size.

When you have people sleeping in the basement you need to have at least two fire escapes, one is the stairs to the first floor, the other one is a door or a window to outside.

If you have a door then you do not have to have an egress window.

The window can be anywhere in the basement preferred in a far spot from the stairs to allow escape in case the fire is beside the stairs.

Any window can be an Egress window as long as it fits the code for Egress window.

The sizes for Ontario code now are 4.1 square foot and 18" at the nerrow side (there is a change in the code around 2006 ) the window needs a lintel of 3.5" x 3.5" x 1/4" sitting above the window at least 6: on each side.

You need to install brick veneer between the window and the cement.

As far as well if the bottom of the window in not at least 3" above ground level (or it's lower then ground level ) you need a well that will has to come out of the house at least 22".

The well has to have a 4" flexible pipe with holes all around it fill with crushed stone and covered with a sock,going down to weeping tiles to allow fast escape of water from the well.

the ground in the well has to have 4" of gap to the cut in the cement and the last 4"-6" will be filled with crushed stone (gravel ).

Hope this answer your needs.

Thank you,

Harry C.

Does a basement that has a bedroom have to have an egress window in the actual bedroom or just somewhere in the basement?
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Aileen in Hamilton
Date/Time4/20/2014 at 12:16:20 PM

Thanks very much! That is the first clear response we have gotten. It seems every contractor says something different and it makes it tough to understand what is actually required. Your response makes complete sense.

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Date/Time4/23/2014 at 9:19:24 PM

No the window must be in a bedroom, In an emergency you may not be able to get out of the bedroom to another window in the basement.

As noted above -

To be considered an acceptable second exit, a window must have an opening of at least 600 (30 inches by 20 inches for example) square inches, with the smallest dimension being 18 inches; the windowsill must be within three feet of grade; and basement window wells must extend three (3) feet out from the house wall, to allow room to crawl out. If the sill is too high a step or some other form of step up should be provided. No burglar bars either.

Also provide a smoke alarm outside of bedroom and one in the bedroom. While only an alarm is required outside of the bedroom, if the door is closed during sleeping hours then its a good idea to put a secondary alarm inside the bedroom.

This is for Toronto as of 2012

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Date/Time4/25/2014 at 3:52:15 PM

If have independent entrance door you no require have, but if no have you require about kind and model Need choose on window store near you place.


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