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Old 01-17-2011, 10:59 PM   #1
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Egress window, structurally safe?


I need to make this small basement window into an egress to finish up my basement renovation. I plan on having a pro cut it out, and I'll dig the well and install the window.

I plan on getting a structural engineer to look at the window to see how it would affect my slab. I plan on installing wooden framing with anchor bolts to the floor, and making a tight fit to help take some of the weight off the slab "just in case" (although that wall needs to be framed anyway, I'd rather frame onto the wall to save space).

My question, is there any general rules about these cuts? How much cement slab be in tact above the window to keep it structurally sound (I'm assuming say only 2 inches or so of concrete would be too week... Maybe it's 12 inches or 18??)

Any help appreciated!

Jm
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:17 AM   #2
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Egress window, structurally safe?


You will be fine. BTW, that is not a slab. The slab is your floor. What they will do, is use a Concrete saw to cut through the form wall for the rough opening, then frame it with Pressure Treated lumber for the window to have a frame to sit in.

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Old 01-18-2011, 07:47 AM   #3
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Egress window, structurally safe?


Make sure you have the hole cut at the proper height, so the finished sill is the right height (42" or 44" depending on your location) to qualify as a complying egress window. Also make sure the window has the correct size clear opening be to qualify and usually the window manufacturer will identify if it qualifies as an egress window.

Since you are going into this project do it right, because being an inch shy could be a big waste of time and money.

Dick
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:10 PM   #4
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Egress window, structurally safe?


I did, going with a casement window, from 42" from the slab floor. I added 3" to accommodate the PT frame, and an extra 1.5" on top to do a double stud header to dive me some more support, but also something to attach a small window awning if water is a problem.

I've attached a list of egress window measurements I got from a government website* hopefully it helps others out in the future!

*NOTE it does NOT take into account the framing you'll need around all sides, so add a minimum of three inches to accommodate this.

Lastly, are there any structure requirements from my original question... IE when is the amount of concrete too thin to support the load bearing walls above.

Oh and FYI my house is only one story, but I just want to know for my piece of mind!
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:36 PM   #5
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Egress window, structurally safe?


Check with your local firehouse, because having an awning means that it will imped exiting from the egress, and they may tell you not to put one up for concerns of safely exiting, or fire crash crews having to enter the structure through that window.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:03 PM   #6
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Egress window, structurally safe?


All very good points.

Window well clearances, page 2; http://illowaicc.org/uploadedFiles/I...20Openings.pdf

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...33otStRi7Aff7g


Check with your local B.D., as said already. Usually the top of the existing hole/window is the starting measurement going down if you meet the floor to window opening going up (not window frame).


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Old 01-19-2011, 05:37 PM   #7
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Egress window, structurally safe?


As for the question on the header, you have two options IMO.

- Leave it alone as it is now, and don't cut the opening any taller or wider, and the header will be sufficient. Just cut straight down the existing jambs.

- If that isn't an option, place a temp stud wall under the floor joists, cut the header completely out, and start over with a new header of known strength. Right now, no one knows how much rebar is in the existing header, or how close it is to the opening for that matter.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:13 AM   #8
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Egress window, structurally safe?


i got sort of a reverse question: i have such an egress window that was put in, and now there is some leaking in from the window well. whats a good action to remedy this? so far i put a big wooden slab on top of the window well on the outside and covered it with a plastic sheet, but this is obviously not a good solution, just a fix for now. thanks for any input.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:05 AM   #9
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Egress window, structurally safe?


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i got sort of a reverse question: i have such an egress window that was put in, and now there is some leaking in from the window well. whats a good action to remedy this? so far i put a big wooden slab on top of the window well on the outside and covered it with a plastic sheet, but this is obviously not a good solution, just a fix for now. thanks for any input.
When the well was put in, there should have been a "column" of clear draining stone installed down to the exterior draintile to weep the water that gets into the well. With the large footprint of egress wells, they can take on a fairly substantial amount of rainwater, which needs to drain somewhere. We typically just use a hand post hole digger when the hole is initially excavated to finish digging down until we hit the stone over the existing draintile. Then place a piece of 3-4" corrugated plastic drainpipe, etc... into the hole you dug, and fill it entirely with washed stone, pea stone, etc...., followed by a few inches of stone cover on the "floor" of the egress well.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:57 AM   #10
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Egress window, structurally safe?


fed, depending on the home's age, you may NOT have drain tile in which case a sump & pump will be necessary,,, cold drops so its possible water in the sump & pump could freeze,,, keeping a spotlight on in the sump overcomes this problem,,, pump & light should be wired to panel box incl gfci breaker OR weatherproof receptacle
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:46 AM   #11
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Egress window, structurally safe?


On this topic, if you have a bedroom in the basement, does the egress window have to be in that room? or anywhere within the basement?
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:00 AM   #12
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Egress window, structurally safe?


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On this topic, if you have a bedroom in the basement, does the egress window have to be in that room? or anywhere within the basement?
In my local codes the egress window has to be in the bedroom if you are putting a bedroom in the basement.
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:21 AM   #13
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Egress window, structurally safe?


You say you are adding 3" for the PT on the sides. I would add 3 1/2 or 4" because: a] PT lumber is usually thicker than 1 1/2" b] you need a little room to shim the window level and plumb c] the concrete cutter wil be challenged to cut the concrete perfectly straight
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:33 AM   #14
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Egress window, structurally safe?


Just keep in mind that the height above the floor is to the bottom of the clear opening. I have seen people that had to make sure they got their final inspection before the carpet went in. Since it is a life-safety concern and children have to be able to get out, they can be very fussy. Also make sure you have a window with a sticker on it that the manufacturer has had that window certified as a be a complying egress window. Just using a tape measure is not good enough and casement windows can be real problems since the CLEAR opening width may not be what you think.

It would be a shame to go through the expense and trouble and then find out the window installation does not comply, so the area cannot be included in the living space and the appraised value for a sale may not be as great, - Fewer qualifying buyers.

Dick
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:56 PM   #15
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Egress window, structurally safe?


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Originally Posted by concretemasonry View Post
Just keep in mind that the height above the floor is to the bottom of the clear opening. I have seen people that had to make sure they got their final inspection before the carpet went in. Since it is a life-safety concern and children have to be able to get out, they can be very fussy. Also make sure you have a window with a sticker on it that the manufacturer has had that window certified as a be a complying egress window. Just using a tape measure is not good enough and casement windows can be real problems since the CLEAR opening width may not be what you think.

It would be a shame to go through the expense and trouble and then find out the window installation does not comply, so the area cannot be included in the living space and the appraised value for a sale may not be as great, - Fewer qualifying buyers.

Dick
Although it's certainly not ideal, there is an alternative option for a permanent step on the interior if for some reason the actual clear opening is too high. At least in "our" code there is.

I've sawed nearly a hundred of these in my career, and in a block basement we saw down to the 5'th course of block, which is about 38" off the floor in full 8" construction. Typically about 38-40" on poured wall construction, and are code states 44" max. off the floor for the finished opening. Obviously, it's best to have the window onsite first to field measure the actual window clear opening.

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