Egress FAQ

Why would I want an Egress Window?

  1. They let a lot of light into the basement
  2. They turn a basement room into a legal bedroom
  3. They increase safety by having a secondary fire escape
  4. They increase your property value with the addition of an extra bedroom
  5. They create a more enjoyable space without the feeling of being ‘in a basement

Is the installation done to code?

Yes, yes and yes. To see our section about codes click HERE

How long does an installation take?

Most projects can be completed within a single day. Sometimes, in only 6 hours. Weather, soil conditions, and the complexity of the window well design make this a bit of a variable, but typically a single day.

Don’t they fill up with snow in the winter?

Not usually. Ambient ground and house heat tend to keep the well clear and open all winter long.

Does this make a big mess?

Well, there is an awful lot of dirt to be moved for the window well. There is also a lot of equipment to be brought on site. Cutting the hole in the basement wall will also create a lot of cement dust. Each of these issues is specifically addressed.

  • A Plywood Flooring is laid down on the grass and around the hole to minimize lawn stress.
  • The dust is contained with tarps, fans, and air pressure. The area where we are cutting is tapped off with sheets of poly (thick plastic tarps), contained, vented, and cleaned up the best I can, but there will be some dust and dirt around.
  • The dirt can be hauled off site.
You will not see a big mess when we are done.

Are egress windows safe from burglars?

They are no more or less easy to enter than any other window in your home. They have double lock latching mechanisms. I have discussed this with the police and they say most burglars enter through an unlocked door, not a window. In fact, the service door to the garage is the most frequent method of entry.

 Can I use a double hung window? 

Yes. These windows need to be a bit bigger to meet code, but it can be done and they look great. Let us help select a proper size.

 Can I use a slider/glider type window?

Yes. Historically, this was not a good choice as the gliding hardware did not work well, but with modern improvements to the hardware most gliders work quite well. An added benefit of this style is that you can remove both panes and have a wide opening to move couches and other large objects in and out of your basement.

 Can I use a casement/crank-out type window?

Yes. This is the most common style that we install for an egress, as it minimizes the cutting for the rough opening size and maximizes the window opening.

Will all your equipment tear up my yard?

No. The mini excavator we use is quite small and has rubber treads. We also put down a sheets of plywood around the excavation area and anyplace the machinery will be sitting for any amount of time. The dirt is moved manually with wheelbarrows, and not with a big bobcat.  Our crews take pride in leaving the work-site as clean as when we arrived.

Can you install windows in the winter when the ground is frozen?

Thanks to modern digging equipment and electric blankets, we can now dig through frozen dirt. There is no reason to put off your window project until the warm summer months. Give us a call!

Do window wells fill up with water?

Water can only get in from 3 areas:

  • From above: A heavy rain could drop a few inches of water. Egress Window Guy places approx. 6 to 8 inches of gravel in the bottom of the window well and the  space below the gravel is graded away with drainage reservoirs to absorb most of the water volume.
If you are concerned that you have heavy clay soil, we recommend that you read over our page on Water Drainage and consider putting in a sump basket.

 

  • The Retaining Wall: Heavy rains will create localized rivers of flooding. The Window well is installed higher than the grade surrounding it. This way it acts as a barrier to keep water from flowing over the wall. Obvious issues are graded with the excavated dirt. The grade is something to consider when thinking about where to install your new egress window.
  • From Below: If the ground is completely saturated, water will fill up from the base of the well. If your home typically has flooding problems, let us know as there are a number of fairly simple remedies such as a French drain, or tying the window well into an existing drain tile system.