The basement. That one room in the house that is perfect for storage or to use as a separate utility room for getting through the household chores like washing and drying the clothes. But not all basements are used only as storage or even neglected. No. Nowadays, basements are used as extra bedrooms or entertainment spaces for when guests come over.
Basements make excellent space savers, and more people are starting to make the most of the space under the house. And just like any ideal space for kicking back and entertaining guests, it’s important that it is maintained properly and treated with the same care as any other room in the house.
The basement of any house ideally should be well lit and free from dampness. Although, as it is the one room of the house built below ground level, often older properties suffer from damages caused by damp that starts in the basement. Dampness can enter through the brick and masonry works if they are not damp proofed properly during the construction. Another form of entry is through the windows of the basement.
Not all basements have windows, and it is not a legal requirement, nor is it a building regulation that basements require windows. Although, if you wanted to use the basement as a space for entertaining or as an extra bedroom, then windows would be a must.
If by design the basement were to be a bedroom, then egress windows would be the ideal choice of windows as they not only offer sufficient light to enter but can also be used as a means to escape during any household emergency such as fires or basement flooding.
Egress windows by design open in an upward or outward fashion depending on the design and fitting method. Not only are they easy to open and close, but they offer perfect ventilation to allow fresh air in or out of the building.
The term ‘egress’ means leaving or going out. Therefore an egress window is one that is designed to be big enough to allow for residents to exit, or in some cases, enter the property. Hence, egress windows are best to use as basement windows.
Unlike your other regular designed windows, egress windows don’t tend to have an opening catch or latch.
Windows that are fitted higher in the house will have restricted opening spaces for obvious reasons, to prevent residents from leaning too far or falling through the window opening.
Egress windows are designed specifically as an escape route for anyone trapped below ground level during an emergency. It is believed that the required size of an egress window is a minimum opening of 15 inches in width and height and offers an opening of 3.77 square feet. Of course, they can be made to suit much larger openings.
Houses built over the previous decades, as we’ve already mentioned, had no specific regulations in place to ensure homes with basements had egress windows installed. However, newly designed homes tend to have egress windows fitted as standard. And any construction firm refurbishing and converting the basement space into a living area would have to install egress windows as a safety feature.
Of course, not all basements are used as living spaces or entertainment areas and used only as a storage place, as already mentioned. If you’re content with limited lighting or artificial lighting, then there are no laws in place that state you must have egress windows installed.
When it comes to installing egress windows, it’s important you choose the right window that’s the right size and of good enough quality. Like we said before, basements can be vulnerable to damage caused by dampness as they are built below ground level. The installed windows must be completely watertight to prevent any unnecessary moisture from entering the building via the window opening.
Once upon a time, before architects and construction workers fully understood the damages and causes of dampness, windows and doors were often made out of wood. Wood is a cheap and sturdy product, one that the construction has an abundance of. However, it soon came to attention that, over time, wood will begin to rot and decay; therefore, homes were replacing old rotting wooden windows and door frames with UPVC and vinyl plastic alternatives. And the same thing applies to the egress windows of the basement.
You may want to consider contacting a professional Calgary windows replacement company to get the job done right. Besides Egress windows, Royal View Windows and Doors has many vinyl windows available to choose from.
Ideally, you’d want plastic window frames installing to prevent any form of rotting or decay.
Metallic frames are always an option; however, over time, they can become susceptible to rusting. Many wooden and metal window frames come treated with varnishing and oils to prevent decaying and rusting and ultimately prolong the lifespan, but plastic requires little maintenance and tends to be a cheaper option.
With basement windows comes uncertainty as to whether or not they should be used like other windows of the house. By that, we mean homeowners are often reluctant to open their windows below ground level through fear or letting in damp and wet weather. But, egress windows are perfectly fine to use as any other house window to improve air circulation or release excessive heat from the room.
If you are looking to get egress windows installed in your basement, then you’re probably when would be the best time to do so. Well, technically, you can have egress windows installed as and when you feel the need. Preferably you’d want them installed during the dryer seasons of the year to make the installation process run as smooth as possible, and if you’re undertaking a full basement conversion, then you’d want to start with the windows first to allow sufficient lighting throughout the project.
It is worth mentioning that not all basements require egress windows. Alternatively, you can have a cheaper operable window installed if you feel it would be ideal. In a few cases, fixed windows are installed in basements, but obviously, fixed windows don’t serve as an escape route. Fixed windows also mean restricted circulation in the basement and limited lighting.
RVW has been serving Calgary area residents for many years. As a window and doors company we have a variety of vinyl window choices for your home. If you are looking for professional window replacements for your Calgary home, give us a call at 587-707-9257.