How Do You Install an Egress Window?

Egress WindowAn egress window is typically required by local codes as a safety feature in a home, and you may need to learn how to install an egress window in order to bring your home in compliance with local codes in your area. Its purpose is to provide you with a safe escape route out of your home in the event there is a fire, and it is typically a requirement in homes that have a basement, according to Family Handyman. Because of this, there are special requirements regarding the size, shape and placement of the window. Installing any type of window can be a completed with relative ease when you take time to learn the process up-front.

Choose the Right Window

The first step to take when you want to install an egress window on your property is to choose the right window. While you may want to select a stylish window, you ultimately need this window to comply with local codes. Codes can change over time. Therefore, if you are replacing an existing window, do not assume that you can simply order the same size window and install it in the same location. Instead, take time to research the current code for your local area before you make your purchase. The style and optional features of the window should be considered secondary to the code requirements. You typically can work with a local window supply company, a hardware store or even an online window supply company to make your purchase.

Prepare to Install the Window

After you have purchased your egress window, you will need to begin preparing for the installation process. The local codes typically will have instructions regarding placement for the window. For example, the bottom of an egress window typically must be installed approximately one meter above the floor. This varies from location to location, so review your local requirements. Use a grease pencil to mark the location for the window placement on the wall in your basement. Measure your marks carefully multiple times before you make any cuts into the wall. You will also need to construct a support frame for the window if you do not currently have one installed. The frame typically needs to be constructed used two-by-four pieces of wood that are installed and attached to the joists in the wall.

Cutting the Wall

When you are ready to cut into the wall to install the egress window in your basement, you may consider installing a piece of plastic sheeting in order to contain the dust and debris from your construction project. You can use a drill to penetrate into the wall at the cut line that you have marked with the grease pencil, and you can drill along this line to cut out the area where the frame will be installed. Approximately six inches below the cut line, create a hole in the work area. The hole will need to be approximately four square feet in area. This is a pilot area that can serve as your reference area when you are measuring cutting into the exterior of the wall. For masonry surfaces, an electric concrete saw can be used to make the cut all the way through from the interior of the wall to the exterior of the home.

Installing the Window

After you have created a hole in the wall that can support the window frame, you may need to use a chisel to smooth out the edges. Concrete, newspaper and other filling products can be placed into the core and covered with plastic sheeting. Then, you can install the frame that you constructed into the rough frame using cement screws. Most windows are sold to consumers today with installation instructions, and some of them also come with the hardware needed for the installation. Therefore, you should be able to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the window into the frame that you have created. After the window has been installed and is fit snugly and evenly into the space, you can finish the effort by applying exterior caulk between the frame and the wall. You also need to remove the support frame that you have created and install the box or trim piece on the window. Some final paint work may be required to give your egress window a finished look.

Related Resource: Install a Prehung Door

An egress window is a requirement in many areas, and your home may need an egress window installed in the basement if one is not currently in place. You can learn more about local code requirements for egress windows in your area as a first step, and you can follow these steps to install your window. While this is a more challenging do-it-yourself project to complete, you can learn how to install an egress window on your own to save money with this installation project.