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rescueswimmer 07-17-2008 06:03 PM

Basement Egress Windows
I have a question for you pro's out there. We are in the process of building a new home.

We have upgraded the whole house to Anderson 400 windows. The basement however calls for something different. I am in the process of finding out what windows go there 4x4. I want to put 400's there as well but the builder is saying since they are set in the concrete form that I need a bilco well and its going to run 2500 extra per window to put the 400's in. I am going to talk with them tomorrow about this crock. He stated that the form needs to be re done because of how they set in the concrete. There both 4x4 windows and the both slide open. Any info on this would be appreciated.

Termite 07-17-2008 09:46 PM

It is not uncommon to frame an opening around a basement egress window. There's no code issue with using a conventional stamped steel well, but if it were mine I'd want a concrete well with an excellent drainage system if you're putting wood framing and wood windows below grade.

Your builder is not giving you all the options. Plan on paying more...Not only for the window but for the installation, the framing, the well, the flashing, and the painting. This should not be expected to be an even-money deal, even if the windows cost the same.

rescueswimmer 07-17-2008 10:05 PM

I have to go back and check on what type of well they use, I am just trying to understand, all the facts. I also didnt see the need for a different well just by adding a different window, but then again I'm not a contractor. I do not see the wood being an issue. From what was explained to me the drainage set up is top notch. Any other insights would be greatly appreciated.

Termite 07-18-2008 07:49 AM

The window change typically won't drive the need for a new window well configuration.

The IRC code requires the window well to measure 36x36" of open space right at the portion of the window that you would climb out of. On a sliding window, that 3x3 space would be offset in the well. That is not a big deal if you have a concrete well that has 90* corners. But a rolled steel well is curved and tapered somewhat, which could easily encroach into the required clear space in front of the window opening.

That sliding window has an off-center opening, which would shift the req'd clear space left or right in the well.

To help you picture this requirement, imagine a 36x36x36" cube in the well. The cube must be placed in front of the window opening when the window is fully opened. The cube has to fit, and has to be able to come up and out of the well. The egress ladder (if req'd due to well depth) can encroach into the req'd clear space.

As for enforcement of the requirement, I'll turn someone down for 35-1/2". There's no room for "close enough" when dealing with the egress code. Too much liability there.

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