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urgurl031 10-06-2012 12:44 AM

how to go about making a window bigger in my basement so that I can put a bedroom
I am wondering if anyone can help me with how to go about making a window bigger in my basement so that I can put a bedroom down there. I'm not sure what the professional term is but I do know that if you have a living area in a basement you need to have a window that you can get thru.

bbo 10-06-2012 01:19 AM

its an egress window.

contact you rlocal building inspector for the proper specs and install requirements locally.

mae-ling 10-06-2012 01:29 AM

what type of construction is the basement? wood, concrete, cinderblock or ???

Gissle 10-06-2012 06:11 AM

It will need to comply with building regs if you are changing the use of the room. Re: window - you will probably need to take out the surrounding structure and fix a new lintel. Get a builder in to do this.

Fix'n it 10-06-2012 09:10 AM

iirc. the actuall opening must be about 5sf

urgurl031 10-06-2012 06:26 PM

redo a window
Well My entire basement is poured concrete. I was told that I needed to have a window big enough for an adult to get out because it will be used as a second family room/spare bedroom. Because of the age of my house no one seems willing to start on this project due to they don't wanna be liable for further damage then whats neccessary so I'm stuck doing it myself. I know I have to have a surround which I have. I have a regular window that you can pop the screen off and get out of. I'm not sure how to frame in the window or cut through the cement.

Windows on Wash 10-07-2012 10:11 AM

If you are unsure about this process, I would highly suggest hiring a pro.

You will likely need a permit and the best locations are where there is already a window that you can just extend down.

Is the basement wall below grade? Do you have a sump pump and some weeping tile around the footer.

Fix'n it 10-07-2012 10:38 AM

how about a pic/s of the opening

mae-ling 10-07-2012 11:38 AM

This is an advanced diy project - what is your skill level?
I have done this many times (as have others) and we can help you, just don't want you getting hurt or the house collapsing.

woodworkbykirk 10-07-2012 12:36 PM

you`ll need a concrete cutting company to come in.. they have a saw that can cut all the way through the concrete and straight. you may also need a window well installed after the fact.

this isnt a diy project. i specialize in renovations and when we need this done we have a company cut out the opening for us, then we take it from there

mae-ling 10-07-2012 04:35 PM

We rent the saw and do it ourselves. No company to do it for miles and miles

concretemasonry 10-07-2012 05:34 PM

If you go through all that work and money, you should make sure it complies with the local code and can PROVE it with an inspection. - Otherwise the extra space will not be included in the livable space for valuation and limit the amount that can be financed by a potential buyer.

The size of the opening is for egress (kids) and access (firefighters with gear). Just the square footage (5.7 sf) does not cut it!!! There are requirements for unobstructed OPENINGS (height AND width) and the minimum height of the bottom of the opening to the FINISHED floor (usually 42" or 44" depending on the locality) at the time of inspection. Most financing companies require a proof of certification to include the square footage for valuation.


GBrackins 10-07-2012 06:26 PM

the following is based upon the 2009 International Residential Code, the basis for most local and state building codes. please verify with your local building department.


R310.1 Emergency escape and rescue required. Basements, habitable attics and every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency escape and rescue opening. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, emergency egress and rescue openings shall be required in each sleeping room. Where emergency escape and rescue openings are provided they shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches (1118 mm) above the floor. Where a door opening having a threshold below the adjacent ground elevation serves as an emergency escape and rescue opening and is provided with a bulkhead enclosure, the bulkhead enclosure shall comply with Section R310.3. The net clear opening dimensions required by this section shall be obtained by the normal operation of the emergency escape and rescue opening from the inside. Emergency escape and rescue openings with a finished sill height below the adjacent ground elevation shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Section R310.2. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court that opens to a public way.

Exception: Basements used only to house mechanical equipment and not exceeding total floor area of 200 square feet (18.58 m2).

R310.1.1 Minimum opening area. All emergency escape and rescue openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet (0.530 m2).

Exception: Grade floor openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5 square feet (0.465 m2). R310.1.2 Minimum opening height. The minimum net clear opening height shall be 24 inches (610 mm). R310.1.3 Minimum opening width. The minimum net clear opening width shall be 20 inches (508 mm). R310.1.4 Operational constraints. Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge. R310.2 Window wells. The minimum horizontal area of the window well shall be 9 square feet (0.9 m2), with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches (914 mm). The area of the window well shall allow the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened.

Exception: The ladder or steps required by Section R310.2.1 shall be permitted to encroach a maximum of 6 inches (152 mm) into the required dimensions of the window well.

R310.2.1 Ladder and steps. Window wells with a vertical depth greater than 44 inches (1118 mm) shall be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully open position. Ladders or steps required by this section shall not be required to comply with Sections R311.7 and R311.8. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches (305 mm), shall project at least 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the window well. R310.3 Bulkhead enclosures. Bulkhead enclosures shall provide direct access to the basement. The bulkhead enclosure with the door panels in the fully open position shall provide the minimum net clear opening required by Section R310.1.1. Bulkhead enclosures shall also comply with Section R311.7.8.2.

R310.4 Bars, grilles, covers and screens. Bars, grilles, covers, screens or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings, bulkhead enclosures, or window wells that serve such openings, provided the minimum net clear opening size complies with Sections R310.1.1 to R310.1.3, and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool, special knowledge or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.

R310.5 Emergency escape windows under decks and porches. Emergency escape windows are allowed to be installed under decks and porches provided the location of the deck allows the emergency escape window to be fully opened and provides a path not less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height to a yard or court.

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