An egress window is required in specific locations in a dwelling to provide an emergency exit. Windows must meet specific size requirements to qualify as an egress window.
The State of Minnesota has updated the building code effective January 24, 2015. We are in the process of reviewing our website to make sure everything is up to code, but you should always review the State of MN Building Code before beginning any project.
Window wells may be made of rust-resistant metal, treated wood, wood naturally resistant to decay, concrete, masonry, or plastic. Some window well designs have steps built or molded into them.
Egress windows are required in every room used for sleeping purposes (bedrooms) on any floor and in basements with habitable space.
An egress window must satisfy four International Residential Code (IRC) criteria.
A wide variety of window designs can be used for egress windows. You should select a window design that meets your architectural, aesthetic, space, and financial limitations.
Why Are Egress Windows Required?
When bedrooms are added to basements without the requisite egress window, they create a dangerous underground firetrap. During remodeling, homeowners often unwittingly replace large egress windows with smaller, non-egress windows. And while the code will require egress windows be installed when bedrooms are added on, they won't necessarily dictate that windows in existing bedrooms be enlarged to egress size; it's simply too difficult to monitor every situation.
Required or not, egress windows are crucial lifesaving equipment. If a room has even the remote possibility of later becoming a bedroom, include an egress size window.