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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Question Need basement window well ideas

    I am designing a small home, in such I will using some below grade space as living space. I have decided to go with large (4'x4') windows 18" from ceiling (or below I-Joist). So I need to be at least 6' down. These will be used for needed natural light, egress, and fresh air.

    At my local lumbar yard I have found a system called Well-Craft (I believe). They are 18" high 4 foot wide half circles made of plastic with molded in stairs. I cannot seem to find other competitors of this product, much less other ideas besides pouring concrete or using landscape retainers.

    Anyone have any ideas or other manufaturers' names? I wish I was made of money, but I am not. I also will be building my home by myself... so though labor is cheap, if I could save time so I could work on other projects that would be great too!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Fayette County, Ohio

    Default Re: Need basement window well ideas

    Use this search egress wells
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Re: Need basement window well ideas

    If you will be designing and building the home yourself, it may be more cost-effective to design one whole basement wall with its own entry door & windows that will open up (like a patio) to a sub-grade living quarters.

    You could then install one egress basement window on an opposite wall, to meet the code of having 2 fire exits, and the codes of having a certain percentage of glass for the basement apt.

    You should check with your local town hall as to how many windows, or square footage of glass they require for such a basement apt.

    The outside grade (ground level) is usually not allowed to be more that 50% of the concrete/masonry foundation.

    If one foundation wall is exposed, a percentage of all the wall exposures is calculated.

    On newly-poured foundations, the wells for the windows and entry door are factored into the design of the concrete foundation.

    Basement egress windows are not cheap, they must comply with a lot of local town codes.

    The fire dept., believe it or not, has the say as to how wide they are, & rapid access by the fire dept. and rapid egress by the occupant must be easy in the event of a fire.

    The town usually assumes someone will be sleeping there, so will designate even a living room as a "bedroom".

    The person fleeing a fire has to be able to easily climb thru the egress window, out to the window well, then up & out of the window well to the yard.

    This mandates certain heights that can't be exceeded.

    Merle Henkenius has a good article on this topic.

    Also Google "Basement egress windows" (with and without the quotes).
    Last edited by JacktheShack; 10-23-2007 at 12:13 AM.

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