Adding a basement egress window (a “way out” in simple English) changes the dynamic of any home. In new construction, it is often a basic element. In most cases, it is retrofit into an older home as part of a basement finishing project. While basement remodeling is often a winter project in Madison WI, spring and summer are better suited to installing basement egress windows. In Wisconsin’s climate you aren’t likely to enjoy having a hole in the basement wall in January or February.
When properly installed, basement egress windows increase the comfort and appeal of any room below normal grade. They’re ideal for family rooms, bathrooms and bedrooms. They transform basements from dark and dreary to open and bright. When it comes to resale value, they count there, too. Installation of these relatively simple structures increases useable living space without the expense of major remodeling.
A ‘Way Out” is Code
To have a legal bedroom in a basement – one that meets current building codes – an egress window is a must. If your basement finishing plan includes a bedroom or you think it might in the future, put in basement egress windows right away.
Realtors and appraisers look at basement remodeling projects and additional windows as truly valuable additions. While relatively inexpensive in the overall remodeling world, basement egress windows add more than their original cost –
- They provide a safe escape route in case of fire (which can be taken into consideration in homeowners insurance)
- They create usable family space that may have been underused or not used at all
- Natural light can help to reduce your electric bill
- These valuable additions are available in a range of styles and materials to match your design style and budget
Typical Basement Egress Windows Installation
Once you’ve decided your basement remodeling plan will include additional windows, the process is straightforward. The steps include:
- Excavating dirt away from the foundation
- Cutting an appropriately-sized hole in the foundation for each window
- Installing a wooden window frame for each window
- Installing each window
- Adding the appropriate weather seal
- Installing the lining of the escape well – this can be as simple as an over-sized metal window well structure or as complex as a stone paver wall with terraced garden space.
- Soil is correctly backfilled around the new open space
- The ground around the new installation is graded to make sure water is properly shunted away from the house and new opening
- The area is landscaped or mulched
- The interior area is then ready to the homeowners own design touch
Basement Finishing – A Transformation
Every home has unique characteristics that influence the final remodeling plan. Before you go too far, consider:
- In an older home, be sure the is foundation solid
- Are there water issues – tiling or drainage may need revision
- Older homes often have low ceilings that restrict lighting, ceiling designs and the ductwork it will accommodate
- What walls can be changed or where should new ones be added as the basement project moves ahead
Before any work begins, details need to be on paper. Things like what kind of ceiling will we have, what kind of floor coverings will work – tile, carpet, laminates – and where will our new windows go?
A knowledgeable source of remodeling options, Sims Exteriors & Remodeling serves greater Dane County, including Middleton, Waunakee, Fitchburg, Oregon Verona, McFarland, Stoughton, Cottage Grove, Sun Prairie and Deforest.
Contact Sims Exteriors and Remodeling at 608-825-4500, or email us for assistance in developing the best basement finishing ideas and to review basement egress window options in Madison WI.