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Old 08-30-2010, 12:59 AM   #1
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Can I build a wall over a window in basement?


Hi everyone, just a quick question here.

I'm in the middle of finishing my basement, and I'm wondering if it is acceptable to build a wall right over one of the windows?

The window in question is very small (the opening is no more than about 14 inches wide by 10 inches high) and it is near the bottom of a deep window well, so its use as an escape route in case of fire is highly unlikely for all but the smallest of children. It also doesn't really offer much in terms of natural light for the same reasons.

I've framed an opening for the window in my wall, but I'm hoping that it is acceptable to just drywall over it. Aesthetically, that part of the basement would look much nicer without it there.

Thanks!

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Old 08-30-2010, 02:29 AM   #2
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Can I build a wall over a window in basement?


Rife, In general all basements with full-height foundation walls must have at least one emergency egress window. Local codes may require additional fenestration for natural lighting and ventilation.

Many states such as Michigan have Basement Window Egress Rules not only for a Basement Guest room but also for a Basement home office, Media Center, or even a Craft Area. Check with your local Building Department to get the Egress rules for your area.

Building a Code compliant Basement Egress is not a huge deal, It involves enlarging at least one window opening and the window well. This can be done as long as it is all done and inspected to pass your local codes.
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Old 08-30-2010, 08:20 AM   #3
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Can I build a wall over a window in basement?


^exactly. also you may need to consider the protection of merely putting up drywall. perhaps cement board?
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:26 AM   #4
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Can I build a wall over a window in basement?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rife View Post
Hi everyone, just a quick question here.

I'm in the middle of finishing my basement, and I'm wondering if it is acceptable to build a wall right over one of the windows?

The window in question is very small (the opening is no more than about 14 inches wide by 10 inches high) and it is near the bottom of a deep window well, so its use as an escape route in case of fire is highly unlikely for all but the smallest of children. It also doesn't really offer much in terms of natural light for the same reasons.

I've framed an opening for the window in my wall, but I'm hoping that it is acceptable to just drywall over it. Aesthetically, that part of the basement would look much nicer without it there.

Thanks!
This is the second thread about this basement. The first one was in July and you asked questions about your beam and were told to seek advice from an Engineer. You never responded back to Dan. Did you seek advice?

Basement beam concern

This thread your talking about covering up a window to finish off your basement. Can you answer these questions?

1) Did you file for permits?

2) If so, is this wall something new you're thinking about and not on the plans you submitted to get the permits? If it is, call the inspector and ask him since he's the one with the answers. Is it a bedroom wall?

3) Are you not filing for permits and doing the basement illegally?

If you don't respond back, that means you are doing it illegally and coming here for advice how to finish off a basement.

Hopefully you will respond back and say that you are doing the right thing because if not and that wall is part of a bedroom, you need to have an egress window in case of a fire so that you kill someone.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:21 AM   #5
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Can I build a wall over a window in basement?


Thanks for the responses.

Palibob:

We do have another, larger window in the utility room portion of the basement which would still be accessible in case of emergency.

"Many states such as Michigan have Basement Window Egress Rules not only for a Basement Guest room but also for a Basement home office, Media Center, or even a Craft Area. Check with your local Building Department to get the Egress rules for your area."

That's interesting! I've only heard of egress window rules for basement bedrooms where I live. It's not going to be bedroom space, so I didn't think much about that. Will have to double-check on this. Thanks!

To Joe:

Yes, beam has been dealt with thanks to the advice from people on this forum.

Yes, I have filed for permits for both the construction and electrical. The permit process where i live does not require plans to be submitted for this, just a description of the work to be done. I have plans of my own drawn up (not on napkins), but now that I"m getting further along I'm realizing that the window is not in a great position aesthetically, and that it doesn't really serve much purpose. Plans sometimes change.

It is not going to be a bedroom space. That window is too small for a bedroom in any case, and I don't really want to have another window put in if I don't need to. There are 2 of us living in a 3 bedroom house already.. I don't need a 4th bedroom.

Anyway, thanks for the responses. I will contact my local inspector to check if an egress window is required for non-bedroom space in the basement.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:25 AM   #6
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Can I build a wall over a window in basement?


One problem I see with covering the window is water vapor
Unless the window & frame is perfectly sealed water vapor will intrude
I tend to like natural light & would not cover up a window

Without a pic or any idea of what you are doing hard to say beyond that
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Old 08-30-2010, 06:40 PM   #7
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Can I build a wall over a window in basement?


You probably need it for minimum light requirements: “IRC § 303.1: Light, Ventilation, and Heating/Habitable Rooms. Habitable rooms must be provided with total glazing (window) area of at least eight percent of the room’s floor area. Natural ventilation must be provided through readily controllable windows, doors, etc. Minimum openable area to the outdoors must be four percent of the room’s floor area. Windows need not be openable if they are not needed for emergency exit and a mechanical ventilation system is capable of producing 0.35 air change per hour in the room, or a whole-house ventilation system is installed capable of supplying outdoor air at 15 ft³ per minute per occupant, with occupants computed based on the number of bedrooms.”

Check locally for something like this from the IRC: http://www.aacounty.org/IP/Resources...ementGuide.pdf

Look for your State: http://bulk.resource.org/codes.gov/

Egress, notice the window sizes change: http://illowaicc.org/uploadedFiles/I...20Openings.pdf


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