Make a Basement Room into a Bedroom with an Egress Window

Seattle Egress Window Installation

Increasing the livable space of your home is never a bad thing from both a home valuation and functionality standpoint. It’s even better when you don’t have to pay a contractor for an expensive home addition or deal with the hassle of having builders in your house and on your property for weeks at a time.

Finishing a basement and adding egress windows allows you to add extra bedrooms to your home without having to add an actual extension on to your property.

Steps You Need to Take to Turn a Basement into Bedrooms

  1. Walls – You may already have walls built out in your basement to delineate rooms and spaces. However, it takes more than walls and a door categorize a room as a bedroom.

  2. Ceiling – In most unfinished basements the ceiling is usually just the subfloor of the rooms in your home. That means you can see all the exposed pipes, wiring and other stuff going on up there. The addition of ceiling material will actually make it look like a room in your home.

  3. Lighting – This one is optional, but many people like to have some kind of recessed or track lighting installed in their bedrooms.

  4. Flooring – Concrete slab generally isn’t the most popular flooring for bedrooms – but to each their own. If you do want to install carpeting, luxury vinyl tile or some other type of flooring it could go a long way towards making the space feel more like a bedroom.

  5. An outside egress – Having a clear path to escape the room in case of a fire is a strict bedroom requirement that’s often overlooked by homeowners seeking to convert a basement room into an actual bedroom.

Bedroom Requirements According to International Residential Code (IRC) Section R202

There is a significant amount of confusion regarding what classifies a room as a bedroom and what doesn’t. This classification can affect home valuation and the number of rooms you say your home has when listing it for resale.

You can find quite a few debates on internet forums about the definition. Is a bedroom required to have a closet? (It’s not required.) Is HVAC a requirement? What are the minimal dimensions of a bedroom?

Here’s how the mostly commonly followed building guidelines define a bedroom:

  • 120 square feet of gross floor space

  • Be at least seven feet wide and long in each direction

  • Ceiling must be no less than seven feet tall

    • If the ceiling in the room is sloped, at least 50 percent must have 7 feet or more clearance and the lowest part of the slope can’t have less than 5 feet of clearance

  • If the temperature outside is below 60 degrees there has to be some way to heat the room to maintain a 68 degree Fahrenheit temperature – and you can’t just use portable space heaters – so it will need to either have ducted heating or receive enough heating from the upstairs rooms to maintain at least 68 degrees

  • A basement egress window needs to have an opening with a minimum width of 20 inches and a minimum height of 24 inches

  • The window well must be at least 36 inches wide and extend at least 36 inches out from the egress window

  • The windowsill cannot be more than 44-inches above the bedroom floor unless there are built in steps or a ladder up to the window

  • The bottom of a window well can be more than 44 inches below the surface but if it is there must be permanent steps or a ladder

  • Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms

Some Things to Keep in Mind About Window Modifications

  • It takes less structural modification to increase a window’s height than it does widening the window opening horizontally

  • If your basement walls are concrete, you will need to hire a company experienced with carpentry and construction to make an adequate egress opening and install an appropriate window

  • The window well either needs to be dug out or modified to allow for a proper egress space if one doesn’t already exist

Get More Functional Space out of Your Basement with the Help of Procraft Windows

If you’re a Seattle area homeowner and want to add additional bedrooms without paying for a home addition, consider converting some of your basement space into a bedroom. Procraft is the company to call for help adding egress windows that are up to code. We can make the opening and install the right window for your needs. Give us a call at 206.361.5121 for more information or to schedule a consultation.