A well-designed egress window well will look beautiful while keeping you and your family safe. It is also necessary if you plan to expand your basement and add a bedroom.
A well is built outside an egress window to provide an escape route in case of fire. Building regulations disallow a basement bedroom without one, but since that mandate is fairly new, most existing basements do not have an egress window.
You do not have to be content with the way your house was built. You can cut an opening through your basement wall yourself, instead of leaving it to a contractor who will charge up to $3,000.
Beauty and Safety in One
An egress window well is a system that allows safe escape from a basement in case of a calamity or disaster; however, you do not have to sacrifice the beauty of your basement just to comply with what the code requires.
There are complete window well escape system designs in the market and will make your basement a comfortable and bright part of the house. It can in fact be as comfortable as your bedroom or living room while at the same time maintaining the safety requirements imposed in your area.
Work Site Concerns
To properly install an egress window well, first consider access. Identify obstacles that are in the way, such as electrical outlets, fencing, water drainage, hills, utility meters, and the proximity of the window well to property lines.
If you continue digging without considering them and a line is cut in the process, you might get in trouble with local authorities as well as your neighbors. Note the ceiling height of your basement and determine whether you need to build a bearing wall.
Selecting Your Egress Window Well
A number of egress window well designs are available. Typically you need to pick one that will match the design of the rest of the house. Bear in mind though that your selection should meet or exceed the local code requirements. The type of timber that you will use should always be among your considerations, as well as whether you are staining or painting it afterward.
Egress Window Well Features
There are many options for an egress window well, but treated landscaping wood would always look good. For safety reasons, most codes require a well to have a ladder that is permanently installed.
If there is enough space, you can add aesthetic value by creating steps or by terracing. There are also custom designs from which you can choose. Bear in mind that an egress window well is a large part of the view from inside the bedroom, so it might be good if you do not economize on this aspect.