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16 Best Egress Window In 2022

Sonya Harris
  Oct 5, 2022 3:22 AM

We independently study, test, and review 16 Best Egress Window products before making recommendations. We’re testing the N/A, FAKRO, Wellcraft, Segal, Wellcraft Egress Systems, BILCO, AP Products, Defender Security, Happybuy, PRIME-LINE  for a for a future update to this guide.


Overview

Basement egress windows can be used for a variety of reasons. Others see the value in protecting their family in the event of a fire, brightening a basement, or ensuring building code compliance, among other things. Making a legal bedroom out of an unused basement space may also help them resell their house for more money. Egress windows are a wise purchase, and the average cost should be taken into account regardless of whether you plan to do the work yourself or hire a contractor.

Because of the wide range of options available, the cost of an egress window can vary greatly. To ensure a successful basement egress window installation, here are a few things to keep in mind.


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Buying Guide

In addition to metal, plastic, and concrete, egress window wells are available in a variety of other materials.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each type. To learn why we always use precast concrete window wells for our egress window wells, continue reading.

Metal Window Wells

Since steel window wells are lighter than concrete, they're easier for the do-it-yourselfer to handle. Despite the fact that metal window wells can have an unappealing industrial aesthetic, there are several unique variations on the theme. Rust is probably their biggest flaw. There is, however, no guarantee that galvanized steel wells will be completely impervious to corrosion in damp soil.

Plastic Window Wells

Fiberglass and poly egress window wells are included in this category. The fact that it will not rot or rust makes this type of window well an excellent long-term moisture resistance option. Despite the fact that these window wells are easier to install than concrete ones, not everyone will like the look of them.

The main drawbacks of most plastics are their brittleness and lack of resistance to sunlight. Broken plastic window wells are a common occurrence for us. Some types of fiberglass and polycarbonate window wells are destroyed over time because the soil around them expands and contracts.

Cored and Ground Corners

If you want to avoid cracks in your foundation wall after installing a new window, this is an important feature to look for in the window's design. Installers typically use a concrete saw to cut through the foundation. The round cutting blade is the only drawback to using one. Cutting the foundation deeply necessitates overcutting the wall opening. Wall cracking and leaking can be exacerbated by these overcuts.

A 90-degree corner must be ground into the concrete wall before the window opening can be cut to ensure a proper fit in the wall. This method of opening a wall is more time consuming, but it greatly reduces the likelihood of future cracks and seepage.

Metal Window Well Liners

Clay soil in Chicago expands when it is wet. Cracks in foundation walls are caused by the force of the expanding soil. This is why you need a very thick metal liner for your window wells. Expansive soils may put a lot of strain on the well liner of your egress window. This pressure causes the thinner ones to bend. As a result, water and dirt can wash into the well through the lining. In terms of resistance to pressure from the ground, plastic liners perform significantly worse than metal ones. If you live in an area that sees a lot of freezing rain, you may want to consider installing an underground sprinkler system.

  • One-Piece - A deeper liner can be made by combining two or more window well liners that aren't very deep. Again, water seeps into the well through the seams between these liner pieces. Insist on a liner that is made of only one piece.

  • Galvanized - Metal liners rust when they are exposed to wet soil for long periods of time. Damage to the metal is caused by rust, which corrodes and weakens it, allowing water and dirt to seep into the window well. When this occurs, the well fills up, the water pressure breaks the window, and your basement floods. Your liners should be made of galvanized metal so that you only have to put them in once.

  • Large Opening - Emergency situations necessitate both occupants and firefighters scrambling out of the window well, so make sure the opening is wide enough to accommodate both. When it comes to the building codes, this is an absolute necessity!

  • Sealed - One final note on liners. Ensure that the metal liner is sealed with membrane on the outside, where it is bolted to the building, by the installation company. To keep water out of the well, it's critical that the outside of the casing be sealed. Do not accept contractors caulking the interior of your home. That seal isn't going to hold up. Liner should be installed at least a foot deeper than well's depth. In this way, water and dirt will be kept out of the window well and out of the liner.


FAQS

What does egress mean?

As a noun, it's pronounced "ee-gres," and it refers to a way to leave; an exit. As a noun, it means "to emerge; to leave one's house." An Egress Window, then, is a window through which people can leave a building. Another way of saying this is that it's an exit.

Can I use a regular window as an egress window?

To be considered true egress windows, they must meet a number of exacting standards. To begin, it must have a 5.7-square-foot net clear opening. An opening of 24 inches or less is required. If the window does not meet these requirements, it will not be permitted. Without keys, tools, or any other special knowledge, a window must be able to open and close from the inside of the room. Another consideration is that the window must be correctly mounted. The sill of the window must not rise higher than 44 inches (1118 mm) from the floor of the room in which it is located. As a result, any window that meets or exceeds these requirements can be considered an Egress Window.

What are the size requirements?

There must be a minimum of 0.35 m2 of opening space.

Each dimension must be at least 380 millimeters long.

If the window is not in a basement, the maximum height is 1 meter.

If your windows open outward, they must have a 0.35 m2 opening.

Why would I want to use a well cover or grate?

Protective measures such as well covers and grates are critical. They prevent people from falling into the well by accident. Also, it prevents the accumulation of leaves and other yard waste at its bottom. Protecting the well from snowfall is another benefit of well covers.

Should I use a Cover or a Grate?

It all depends on what you're looking for. The Egress Well is protected from the elements by covers, which also provide some insulation and prevent debris from building up in the well's bottom. Foot traffic on some covers and grates is permitted up to a weight limit of 500 pounds. An Egress Window's open grate allows the most fresh air into the room, and it is visually appealing and can withstand mild foot traffic of up to 500 pounds on certain models.

I have an older house; do I need to comply with the new Building Code for Egress?

If you are unsure of which codes apply to your project, check with the relevant authorities in your area. You may have to meet current building codes, however, in the event that you are converting an unfinished basement into additional living space (such as a bedroom).


Conclusion

In terms of strength and durability, concrete window wells are absolutely the best choice. If you’re doing a DIY installation and you don’t have any power equipment to maneuver heavy slabs of concrete, you might choose a plastic or metal window well. (We also offer a service where we can cut your concrete basement wall, install a precast window well, and you do the rest). Typically, you’ll be best served by sticking with an engineered concrete egress window well.


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