Basement Egress Windows

What Are Egress Windows: Understanding the Importance

Many homeowners focus on home safety features like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms, and security systems. However, one crucial aspect often overlooked is egress windows.

This article will explore the importance of egress windows and why they are a necessary addition to any home.

What Are Egress Windows?

Egress windows are basement windows large enough for a person to escape through in case of an emergency. They are typically installed in basements but can also be found in bedrooms and other living spaces.

According to the National Building Code of Canada, egress windows must have a minimum opening of 0.35 square meters (3.77 square feet) and a minimum height and width of 380mm (15 inches). They must also be easily operable from the inside without keys or tools.

Why Are Egress Windows Important?

They are essential for several reasons:

  • Emergency Exit: In case of a fire or other emergency, egress windows provide a safe and easy way to exit the home. This is especially important in basements, where traditional windows may not be large enough for a person to fit through.
  • Natural Light and Ventilation: It provides natural light and ventilation to basements and other living spaces. This can help improve air quality and make the space more comfortable.
  • Increased Home Value: They are desirable for potential homebuyers, adding extra safety and functionality to your basement. This can increase the value of your home and make it more attractive to buyers.

Legal Requirements for Egress Windows

In addition to the National Building Code of Canada, local building codes and regulations may require the installation of egress windows. It is essential to check with your local building authority to ensure your home is up to code.

In Ontario, for example, the Ontario Building Code requires that all basement bedrooms have at least one egress window. This ensures that occupants have a safe way to exit the home in case of an emergency.

Types of Egress Windows

There are several types of egress windows available, including:

  • Casement Windows: These windows open outward and are hinged on one side. They are popular as they provide a large opening for easy escape.
  • Sliding Windows: Sliding windows have one fixed pane and one sliding pane. They are a good option as they provide a large opening and are easy to operate.
  • Double-Hung Windows: These windows have two sashes that slide up and down. While they may not provide as large of an opening as casement or sliding windows, they are still a viable option.

Considerations When Choosing Egress Windows

When making a choice, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Size: As mentioned earlier, they must meet specific size requirements. Choosing a window that meets these requirements is vital to ensure your home’s safety.
  • Location: They should be easily accessible and provide a clear path to the outside. They should also be located in areas not obstructed by decks, bushes, or other structures.
  • Style: While the size and location are essential, choosing a style that complements your home’s overall aesthetic is also important. This can help maintain your home’s value and curb appeal.

Egress Window Installation

Egress Window cut out in Toronto, ON

Installing egress windows is not a DIY project and should be left to professionals. Proper installation is crucial for the window’s safety and functionality.

The installation typically involves cutting an opening in the foundation wall, installing a window well, and securing the window. It is essential to ensure that the window is sealed correctly and the window well is properly drained to prevent water from entering the basement.

Cost of Egress Windows

The egress window installation cost can vary depending on the window type, size, and installation efforts. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $1,800 and $6,000, but more comprehensive installations could cost more than $6,000.

While this may seem like a significant investment, your basement’s added safety and functionality make it worth the cost.


Egress windows are essential to home safety and should not be overlooked. They provide a safe and easy way to exit the home in case of an emergency and natural light and ventilation to living spaces.

If you are considering adding a window to your basement, get a professional consultation today to determine an accurate egress window cost and ensure it’s installed correctly and meets all Ontario requirements. With the right choice, you can have peace of mind knowing that your home has the safety features required to protect you and your loved ones.

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