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jhakkim 03-05-2012 07:52 AM

Egress Window Recommendations
Hi all,

I'm planning on finishing my basement this year (once I finish installing the plumbing and electrical for a new island at the end of the month). I already have the design I want for the basement, and short of drawing it up properly to go get permits, I'm starting some of the preplanning for work that needs to be done.

One of the things I want to install is an egress window. I won't have any bedrooms in my design (a couple large rec rooms and a bathroom), but for peace of mind and to let in more light than the 3 2x1 windows the builder put in, I'm going to replace one of the windows with something larger. Now the builder did frame one of these windows to be replaced by an egress window, so the location is already selected by default, but this is not a job I want to tackle (as much as I would LOVE to dig out the well and pull the trigger on the concrete saw).

So a couple questions:

1. Do you have recommendations on types/brands of egress windows to install? I would like a window well that is something nicer than the galvanized steel, and will also want a window well cover. I technically don't need a window sized for an egress (since no bedroom), but I'm looking for suggestions on windows/wells.

2. Do you have receommendations on contractors/companies that can do this type of work in Ajax, Ontario?

dengle 03-05-2012 08:41 AM

That's awesome that the builder framed the window opening already. That's the brunt of the "nasty" work already done. I'm always hesitant to start cutting into my foundation wall :-)
When I was seriously researching the installation of an egress window in my old house, the issues I had to take into consideration were
making the external window well big enough, handling water properly and picking the style you'd like.

I've seen window wells done with pressure treated lumber, stone, and all sorts of inserts that would do well.
Google images has a ton of styles that you can check out:

Unfortunately, I don't have any models/types of actual windows on hand, and I'm a USA boy, so will defer to those with local/more experience.

Beepster 03-05-2012 09:03 AM

I hired out on my first basement and me digging the hole it was $1,500. I borrowed a buddies concrete saw and did it on my second house for the price of the window, $300. I just got a pella casement argon filled window. Go to any big box store. Even though it isn't required, it wouldn't hurt to meet the rules of an egress window.

You don't have a buddy or acquaintence who you can pay in beer (after the hole is cut)?

Google "window wells" and look at "Pictures". You can see the different styles.

Pop open the yellow pages or Craigslist if you are not too far out in the boonies to find someone to do this. You do not need a highly skilled contractor as it is not that difficult.

What do you mean the builder "framed" already for you?


concretemasonry 03-05-2012 10:08 AM

If you go through all that trouble and cost, make sure the window is qualified as a certified egress window and get a permit and inspection (even if not required) to provide you with proof and "grandfathered" rights in case the requirements change or you or future owners change the use of the area in the future.

There are many manufacturers that make certified windows for your area. Leave the stickers on until after the inspection, so there is no question.

Edit - Make sure the bottom of the window opening (not sill) is 42" or 44", depending on the local requirements. Some areas have a lot of short children so the locality can over-ride the model codes.


Marvel 03-08-2012 09:05 AM

As for product, take a look at Integral Window Systems in Concord Ontario as they manufacture structural basement egress windows.

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