Is It Necessary to Enlarge Basement Window Wells to Meet Fire Codes?

Is It Necessary to Enlarge Basement Window Wells to Meet Fire Codes

As a homeowner in the GTA, you are most likely aware that basement windows must need the fire codes enforced by the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC). This means that it might be necessary to enlarge the basement window to convert it to an egress window, which will adhere to these codes.

In addition, it is best to install steel doors Toronto in your basement, as these are durable and secure. Both egress windows and steel interior and exterior doors can help lower energy costs in your home, as well as provide safety and peace of mind.

Do I Need to Enlarge Basement Window to Meet Egress Codes?

In order to comply with the fire codes, basement windows must meet the following criteria:

  • Those windows in a basement that are 44 inches in depth or greater must be furnished with a ladder or affixed permanent step to provide a quick and easy escape should an emergency situation, such as a fire, arise.
  • Basement egress windows must be able to clear more than 22 inches between the window unit and the window well.

Short doors for the basement do not count as egress windows and, therefore, do not meet fire codes.

In addition, all egress basement windows must meet these guidelines. If they do not, you might need to enlarge basement window wells.

  • Those who reside in the home or are present in the home at the time of an emergency must maneuver around or over a glass window unit or panel in the process of making their escape.
  • Basement egress windows should be able to open without any additional knowledge, special skills, or tools.
  • Any security bars on said windows must be able to be easily removed from inside without the use of any additional tools or complicated means thereof.
  • All egress windows are required to have an opening of at least 3 feet, 8 inches, and more than 15 inches in dimension. These must remain unobstructed at all times.

Ways to Enlarge Basement Window

Cut Down

In this method, the window opening will be expanded downward. As it does not interfere with the building structure, you may not need a permit from your municipality. This process will not interfere with the window studs or the header above the egress windows. One of the pros of a cutdown is that it does not cost a lot, as it does not involve a great deal of labor.

Wall Expansion

For this process, a permit is required, as it involves expanding the sides of the wall. It could also undertake to cut a new window into a part of your wall. Do not be fooled by window companies or contractors that say a permit is not necessary. This type of construction will always demand a permit, as the job interferes with the integrity of the structure of the home. Therefore, expanding your walls to add egress windows will be a bit costly.

Enlarge Basement Window

Keep in mind that if you need to enlarge the basement windows to convert your windows to egress basement windows, it does involve cutting into the concrete. Often, many windows companies will not perform this task, so you should hire a contractor to handle this task. This type of job requires a permit and additional costs, such as landscaping, sprinkler relocation, and trenching, in addition to enlarging the wall well.

Contact WindowTech Windows and Doors when the time to install egress windows comes. We can help you determine if you need to enlarge the basement window, cut it down, or do a wall expansion. We know everything there is to know about egress windows and fire codes for the GTA.

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