Egress Window Code | Explore Requirements & Building Codes


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Basics Of Egress Window Code

Explore the basics of egress window code, including number of exits, width and height requirements, distance from the ground and much more. There will be variations in the state or county in which you live so ALWAYS contact a professional contractor or refer to the building codes in your city or county to learn about the exact egress basement requirements. Discover pricing for your project with our egress window estimator.

Number Of Basement Egress

Basements that are used as living spaces are required by law to have at least one emergency escape route, which can either be a window or door.

Locking Mechanisms

An egress window or door must be able to be opened from the inside without having to use a key or other tool.

Window Wells

The exterior window well must be large enough for the window to open completely. The window well needs to have horizontal dimensions of at least 9 square feet and at least 36" of horizontal projection out from the house.

Ladders And Steps

If the window well height is more than 44" there has to be a permanent ladder (or integrated steps) attached to the well. The inside of the ladder rungs needs to be at least 12" wide.

Clear Window Opening (Open Window Space)

When the egress window is opened, it must provide 5.7 square feet of open window space. This provides enough space for an adult or child to enter or exit. It also provides enough room for a firefighter to enter with their gear and equipment in case of a fire. The requirement goes down to 5.0 square feet if the window is at grade level.

Width And Height Minimums

The window must be at least 20" wide and 24" tall.

Window Distance From The Ground

The bottom window sill should be no higher than 42" (44" in some counties and states) from the finished floor. This placement is low enough to the ground to allow a child to crawl out of the window.

Casement Windows

Casements must meet the following minimum window sizes for code - 20" wide & 24" tall.

More On Casements


Sliders must meet the following minimum window sizes for code - 4' wide & 4' tall.

More On Sliding Windows

Double Hungs

Double hungs must meet the following minimum window sizes for code - 3' wide & 5' tall.

More On Double Hungs

Single Hungs

Single hungs must meet the following minimum window sizes for code - 3' wide & 5' tall.

More On Single Hungs

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