Egress windows in basements are important for safety. They should be properly configured in order to provide a reliable route of escape in case of an emergency. They should also be able to provide an entry way for emergency personnel who may have no other way to access your home. Keeping these functions of the windows in mind is vital when selecting windows for your basement.
If you want to ensure that your egress window is able to meet the requirements for safety discussed above, you should consider the following factors when choosing a window:
- Ground and cored corners
The installation process involves cutting a hole into the wall of the basement. Most contractors rely on a concrete saw for this. The round cutting blade limits how the contractor will cut the opening in the wall. To prevent cracking and leaking, use cored corners before applying a grinder to get 90 degree corners is best.
- Install metal window well liners
If you want to avoid the effects of hydrostatic pressure on your windows and foundation walls, it’s a good idea to install metal window well liners. These window well liners will be able to withstand the constant pressure exerted by expanding soils especially in the winter and during heavy rains.
Plastic liners are a bad idea since they can be torn as a result of extreme pressure. They can also be heaved upward as a result of the pressure of freezing soil.
- Consider choosing casement windows
There are various types of egress windows to choose from in the market today. Where possible, it’s best to go for casement windows. These are easy to open when there is an emergency. They are also large enough for an adult emergency worker with emergency equipment to climb through.
- Install a working drain
It’s important to ensure that the egress window has a working drain. This will ensure that water does not collect in the window well like an aquarium. The window can break under this pressure and you will have to deal with a flooded basement and the expense of replacing your egress window.
- Include a cover
Consider having a window with a cover. This may be in the form of reinforced polycarbonate. These covers not only provide privacy for the basement but will also keep pets, children and even adults safe from falling into the window well. The cover will also keep debris out of the window well.
Jerome Fokas is the President of Select Basement Waterproofing, and has more than 15 years of professional basement waterproofing installation and ownership experience.