As housing prices continue to rise, it makes sense to look for ways to improve the value of a home. One of the easiest ways to accomplish that effort is to add a basement room or apartment.
When renovating basements in Toronto, the project must meet the current egress code. Each space, emphasizing any sleeping rooms, must have two exit options if an emergency occurs.
Basements achieve the second option by installing egress windows.
What Is an Egress Window?
The term “egress” means to “go out” or “leave.” Anything in a home that allows you to leave it creates one, although it’s typically a door or a window.
Egress windows let you leave a room because of how they open. Although it might seem like a regulatory burden to have them installed, their design offers a chance to escape if something unexpected happens and the primary escape route is unavailable.
This option is most often seen in basements because you’re coming from underground to escape an emergency. That’s why they’re required by the building code and the law, especially when there is a bedroom on the bottom floor.
Although the egress window’s primary purpose is to offer an escape route, it can also provide several benefits. It allows more natural light into the basement, creates a venting option to reduce humidification, and provides a design feature to consider.
What Are the Requirements for Egress Windows in Toronto?
Most jurisdictions in the greater Toronto area typically revert to Ontario’s building code for the installation of egress windows.
These windows must pass specific requirements in Toronto to pass the building code expectations. Here are the points that inspectors look at when approving a new installation.
- The egress window must open from the inside without needing any special knowledge or tools to complete the task.
- When open, it must offer an unobstructed opening with at least 0.35 sq. m. with no dimensions less than 380 mm.
- When the window sash swings toward a window well, it must complete the action so that it won’t restrict how a person tries to escape during an emergency.
- At least 550 mm of clear space must be available in front of the window.
The Ontario Building Code requires that each floor level with a bedroom in a suite have at least one window that someone can easily open from inside. It must offer the correct amount of unobstructed space and maintain the opening without extra support.
Since the basement window is underground, a window well is often necessary to facilitate the escape. It helps to have gravel in this area to enable drainage since pooling water could leak through the installation.
What Are the Benefits of Basement Window Replacement?
The primary benefit of replacing basement windows in Toronto homes is that you’re bringing the structure up to code. During a remodeling plan, they’re often overlooked, which means the installation could have some significant age. That means you’re meeting the current egress requirements.
Here are some of the other benefits that come when you install or replace basement windows at home.
1. Insulated Glass
Older basement windows provide a thin glass pane to separate your living areas from the cold Ontario winter temperatures. Instead of having a chill in the basement, you can invest in a thicker product that keeps you more comfortable while reducing heat loss costs.
2. Fix Cracks and Gaps
The original windows in a basement often let air through because of cracks and gaps that develop. This issue occurs as a home naturally settles. When these areas aren’t closed, moisture can get into your living areas to cause more potential damage.
3. Security Improvements
Basement windows are sometimes seen as an entry point for intruders. It’s crucial to remove or fix any installations that are prone to this problem. From tempered glass to security tints and films, you can add more resistance to prevent someone from using the egress to come in instead of getting out.
4. Air Movement
Old basement windows don’t open smoothly. Some don’t even open at all! That can lead to odor buildups that leave your living areas smelling musty. With an updated design, you can improve ventilation in this space while eliminating the potential hazards that come with unwanted fumes.
5. Better Aesthetics
Basement windows are prone to more wear and tear than others at home. When you replace them with code-meeting egress designs, you can add more curb appeal to your property.
We can help your home get up to code, make better use of your basement, and have an escape route to use if an emergency occurs. If you’re interested in the benefits that new egress windows offer, our team is standing by to answer any questions you might have!