Both the Ohio Residential Code, Section 4101:1029 , and the International Residential Code, Section R310, require an egress window in any below level bedroom. An egress window is a window with an opening of no less than 5.7 sq.ft, the bottom of which must be no higher than 44 inches from the inside finished floor. You must be able to open the egress window from the inside without the use of any locking device.
Egress windows are installed below ground level therefore, a window well is required. The window well must meet certain requirements in order to ensure a person is able to craw out in the event of an emergency. The window well must have an area of at least 9 square foot, and should be at least 36 inches from the foundation wall. If the window well is deeper than 40 inches, it must be equipped with some form of ladder or steps with the first step no more than 18 inches from the ground and other steps no greater than 12 inches apart.
Aside from code requirements, there are other benefits to having an egress window in basement living space. If all the other amenities required by building codes are also met, it can be counted as square footage of “habitable space” your home provides. This can be added to your real estate, thus increasing the value of your home.
Egress windows can greatly transform the look of your finished basement. They allow natural light to flow through the space, all while providing safety for you and your loved ones.
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