Basement windows literally remain in the shadows. Barely visible, their value is more practical than esthetic. In fact, most basement windows are sliding windows, which are convenient and affordable. In basements, you’ll find few casement windows, even fewer awning windows and virtually no sash windows. The advantages of sliding windows in the basement include the fact that they let in a lot of light, thanks to their unobtrusive frames and absence of visible hardware, and that they respond to certain regulations, thanks to the way they open.
Basement windows and “Egress” regulations
Every lodging or house is legally required to have two exit doors to provide an escape in the event of a fire. In the basement, a window can serve as a second exit. The Building Code also requires any basement room used as a bedroom to meet certain emergency exit regulations (unless the building is equipped with a sprinkler system). Compliance with these “Egress” regulations can be verified by the cities, which may impose fines if they find any violations. Insurance companies may also check for compliance when a claim is filed. So it’s very important to follow these regulations in order to avoid injuries or other problems. Here are a few rules that apply to basement bedroom windows:
- The hardware mechanism for opening the window must be simple enough for a child to operate, and it must be easy for an adult to open the window and escape through it in the event of an emergency.
- The window must open from the inside without a key, without any tools and without having to remove any kind of frame.
- The hardware must not obstruct the emergency exit. This is one of the main reasons why awning windows aren’t generally used in basement bedrooms.
- The total area of the window opening must be at least 3.77 square feet. The height and width may not be less than 15 inches.
- There must be at least 760 mm of clearance in front of the basement window on the outside. Otherwise, an egress window well must be dug.
If the opening of your basement bedroom window doesn’t meet these requirements, ask the advice of a Portes et Fenêtres Verdun representative, who will find a way to resolve the problem, whether by modifying the hardware of the existing basement window, replacing one type of window with another, enlarging the opening, constructing a window well or some other solution.