Bob Vila Radio: Your Finished Basement Needs an Egress

In most municipalities these days, a finished basement must include an egress window or door. Here's what that means for you.

By Bob Vila | Updated Apr 11, 2015 4:50 PM

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Transforming a dark, dank basement into welcoming living space isn’t a small job. But once complete, a finished basement gives a big boost to home value, even while adding comfort and convenience to daily life.

Basement Egress Windows and Doors


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Listen to BOB VILA ON ADDING AN EGRESS or read the text below:

When planning a basement renovation, don’t forget to account for egress windows and doors. These are exits to the outside meant to be used in case of fire or other emergencies. Today, most building codes not only require egresses, but also enforce detailed specifications as to their size and placement.

If you have a sloping yard, you may be able to add exits completely above ground. On an average lot with even terrain, you’ll probably need to excavate, then cut through the concrete walls of the foundation to install a window well.

Cutting through concrete isn’t a DIY-friendly job; call in an experienced pro. And remember that before you do any digging, it’s imperative that you check with all utility providers for the location of buried lines coming in or out of your house. You don’t want to end up with an even larger and more expensive project on your hands.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.