Basement escape windows are called egress windows. These windows, which are large enough for an adult to crawl through with ease, come in three basic styles: sliding glass windows, compact bi-pane windows and in-swing windows. These windows are installed below the ground level and have a tunnel or walkway dug to the window. Installing an egress window will provide an excellent fire escape route.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Shovel or small backhoe
- Hammer drill
- Concrete saw
- Hammer and chisel
- 3-inch concrete screws
- Foundation jacks
- Polyurethane foam
- Egress window with frame
Contact local government in your area and ask if building permits are needed to install the windows. Most large cities will require a permit, but many smaller towns will not.
Examine the basement and the land around the basement to find a location for the window. Choose a location that does not have obstacles such as trees, driveways or patios. The area should have good drainage. You will also need to plan the escape route. There are three basic types of routes: a slanted ramp, a ladder and stairs.
Choose the type of window. Compact egress windows look like common bi-panel windows that have hinges on the side so the entire window opens. Sliding glass egress windows look like sliding glass doors and operate in a similar fashion. In-swing egress windows are large, one-panel windows that open inward. All egress windows come in a variety of sizes and can be custom made to fit a specific need. Some egress windows are sold with entire kits that include window wells with steps or ladders included.
Dig out the escape route from the window. The hole should be large enough to expose the window and the frame. Prepare the hole for the escape route. Frame out the exit route and pour in concrete or install the window well.
Draw the outline of the window on the interior basement wall. Brace the floor joist with foundation jacks so the floor does not weaken during the installation process.
Drill a starter or pilot hole with a hammer drill in the centre of the bottom line of the outline. Cut out the opening with a concrete saw. Remove rough edges with a hammer and chisel.
Insert the frame of the window into the opening. Use the level to make sure the frame is straight. Place the seals that came with the frame and screw the frame in place with concrete screws. Seal all the gaps or holes around the frame with polyurethane foam.
Attach the window into the frame and screw it in place.
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