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Old 09-02-2008, 11:58 PM   #1
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DIY Egress window in basement?


Hi, we're currently remodeling our basement, and are sorting through options as far as code-compliant egress. The basement is walkout, however we are building an in-law suite, and are hoping to avoid having the existing exit door as part of the bedroom.

Right now, the original window that will be in the bedroom is too small to pass egress code. First question- does anyone know what a reasonable estimate would be for a professional to come in and enlarge the window? A neighbor said they had it done for roughly $2,500, which is far more than we're willing to spend.

Currently, the foundation of the house on the outside is exposed at least 3 ft, so a well wouldn't be necessary. The wall in question is a concrete slab, not cinder blocks.

Also, I've tried to read up a bit on DIY egress window installation of this type. Exactly how difficult is it? It looks like we'd have to cut through about 10 inches around the perimeter if we were to try this. Anyone have experience?

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Old 09-03-2008, 12:18 AM   #2
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DIY Egress window in basement?


Oh, and also- as far as load-bearing- if I'm extending the existing window frame downwards toward the floor, (about 20 inches), will this significantly take away from the support of the concrete slab? If so, is there something I can do to maintain the strength of the existing wall?

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Old 09-03-2008, 06:27 AM   #3
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DIY Egress window in basement?


if it's for in-laws, shouldn't you be filling IN the old window with cement and adding bars to the doorway?

sorry, couldn't resist....

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Old 09-03-2008, 08:00 AM   #4
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DIY Egress window in basement?


The answer to your question really depends on how large the opening is now. Sounds like you're planning to cut 10" of concrete from the perimeter of the opening. In most cases you can cut the wall out a little bit with a rental concrete saw. Personally, I'd pay a contractor to do that, and would have an engineer consult if the concrete "header" dimension would be modified at all.

A couple thousand dollars doesn't sound unreasonable.

You might consider a casement window with egress hardware. Casement windows typically yield larger egress openings than double-hung windows of the same size, so you might be able to swap windows without modifying the opening.

Last edited by Termite; 09-03-2008 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:00 AM   #5
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DIY Egress window in basement?


Make sure your window is acceptable as an egress window. - The standards are generally the same but check your local code office with the manufacturers description, including dimensions of the open area.

Make sure your window is located at the right height above the floor. This can vary somewhat from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but only by an inch or two. This can be very critical. I have heard of people putting off the carpet installation until after the final inspection and approval.

Since you want to do it right, make sure you know the local rules.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:15 AM   #6
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DIY Egress window in basement?


General overview of the IRC code basement window egress requirements:
  • Minimum 5.0 square foot net opening (with window in fully open position
  • Minimum 20" opening width
  • Minimum 24" opening height
  • Bottom of opening no higher than 44" above finished floor (no steps or platforms on interior side)
  • No tools or special knowledge required. Egress must be achieved via normal opening of the window...No sash tilting, removal, etc.
  • The well must be 3x3 minimum in front of the window.
  • If the well is 44" or deeper a compliant egress ladder must be installed.
  • Egress required from each sleeping area

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