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kikipauw 11-09-2010 05:32 PM

egress window
we need an egress window put in. My brother is doing it. There is a bedroom window on main floor that will be right above egress window we plan to place. Any special things we need to do to keep any problems away? We have no other area we can use for basement bedroom. Our basement is blocks

Tom Struble 11-09-2010 07:39 PM

a basement egress?,you also need ''steps'' out of the window well

Michael Thomas 11-09-2010 07:58 PM

As far as I know, the only requirement for a well cover is for a 40 lbs/sq/ft live load.

But if I was putting an egress well below a required egress window, I would want a cover able to support the full weight of a fire-fighter: at least 225 lbs plus a possible 100 lbs of equipment.

GB Greg 11-10-2010 06:30 AM

There are several options for retro-fits out there. The biggest expense (assuming the labor is paid in beer for the brother) is going to be the window well. There are cheap alternatives out there by the way of modular stacking sections. Bilco ( has one we use, but there are other mfgs out there that make them as well.

The law says your window sill needs to be 42" off of the floor on the inside and you need 5.7 square feet of clear opening. The stipulations are that the sashes must be removable without the use of tools. So, a double-hung window, or 2-lite slider would need to be a pretty big window.

If there is already a basement window where the egress needs to be, depending on the width, you could simply elongate the window opening down to the 42" sill height and use a casement window. What's nice about using an existing basement window is that they are usually between 32" and 36" and by the time you cut the sill down to the 42" height, you will be in excess of that 5.7 square feet.

If you don't have a basement window in place it gets complicated. You'll need to determine if it is structurally safe to remove the block. You don't want the floor or wall coming down on your head.

You may be able to cut back the mortar joint in the CMU and add a steel lintel in that joint on both the inside and outside, then use all-thread to tie the anlges together by drilling through the angle, the block and the other angle. Once that's done, you can remove the block you need below the top course of block.

In either case, if you are using a casement window, remember that the sash opens to 90* from the frame. Make sure your window well is big enough and placed properly so that the window will function without hitting the well. The best method (IMHO) to installing the new window would be to simply use masonry mortar to fill the joint between the window and the foundation block. This means you will have no wood between the window and the block to deteriorate or rott over time.

In any event, it's not a bad idea to talk to the city or an engineer to make sure that you won't have any structural issues with your wall. Since the age of the home and condition of the foundation could make this project something for an experienced contractor so that no permanent damage is caused.


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