All you need to know about Egress Windows in Canada

Because not every window company will provide you with essential information on egress windows and some of them will just sell you windows that are below the provincial fire code, which of course is dangerous and unlawful, we, at Optima Windows and Doors, have decided to lay out everything that you need to know about egress windows.

What is it?

Egress windows are required by law as they provide a fast and safe escape from your home given an emergency situation. The National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) requires you to have it in basement or bedroom.

Most homes were built before egress window requirements existed. This means that they did not follow the egress window requirements. Basements and attics were in most cases redone into bedrooms. If you convert your basement into a bedroom without the guidance of an inspector or a certified company, it can be quite dangerous without a standard egress window.

Why do you need them?

If a person is involved in an accident or life-threatening situation, he/she gets so confused and panicked that thinking straight becomes almost impossible. In fire accidents, most people rush to the door, instead of looking for exits in buildings, which in most cases leads to even more accidents. That is the main reason egress windows are essential to your house. You need them to add value to your home and to increase safety in most rooms.

What windows can be considered egress windows?

According to the NBCC, a bedroom window should meet the following requirements:

  • The window should be large enough so that it can be used as an emergency exit.
  • You should be able to open such a window without special knowledge, hardware, tools, or keys.
  • The window must provide adequate ventilation throughout the year.
  • The window should provide at least 5 percent light to the entire room.

Basically, the vertical or horizontal slider and casement windows are acceptable as egress windows. However, these building codes are not the same for all provinces.

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    Allowed Window Types for Egress Windows

    Casement Windows

    Slider Windows

    Hung Windows

    Hopper Windows

    Hopper window Toronto

    Egress window sizes vary from province to province.

    Here is the Ontario Building Code:

    • Area for egress windows: No less than 3.8 ft2 (0.35 m2)
    • Minimum dimension for egress windows: No less than 15 inches (380 mm)
    • The opening should be large enough to allow people an easy and quick escape

    Requirements of the Basement Egress Window:

    • Egress basement windows are required by law to have a step to a high window to allow easy exit in case of fire
    • Basement egress windows must have window wells that are 760m from the window and an opening of 30 inches deep

    Optima Windows and Doors provides accurate dimensions of egress windows based on the already existing local building codes. Call or email us today to get a quote or a detailed guide on egress windows.

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