What is an Egress and Why Are They Important?

When planning a remodel on your older home, you should be aware of the codes for the egress of your home.  Many older homes may not have proper or update to date egresses for their homes. You may need to change your egresses when you remodel.

What is an Egress? 

 An egress is any exit point in your home, it can be a door, window, or skylight. Over the past decade or more, many changes have been made to the egress requirements for your home. When you are remodeling, many states and towns will require your to update the egress requirements. These requirements are important because you will be able get out of the house in case of a fire or emergency. You will also have easier access for first responders to be able to enter your home.

What do I do if my Egresses aren’t up to Code?

All homes now must have at least a 36” wide entry into the home. Many older homes were not designed with these wider openings, so you may have to enlarge your doorway when doing a remodel. Most municipalities do not require you to do this if you are just replacing the door. If you are doing a larger interior remodel they may require you to upgrade.

International Building Code & Egresses

For bedrooms, you must have an egress to the exterior of the house from the room, in the vast majority of cases this is a window. The international building code requires windows in bedrooms to have a 5.7 sqft wide opening, but some states like Massachusetts may expand on that requirement to make sure there is a “clear opening” or an unobstructed opening of at least 20” x 24”. When you are remodeling a bedroom you may be required by the town to have at least 1 window in each bedroom that meets these requirements.

When talking with your contractor or architect about a remodel you should consider these requirements. Call us today to discuss adding on new windows, skylights, and doors.

Craig Guido

With 20 years of remodeling experience both in the field and working in collaboration with homeowners to develop remodeling projects designed to fit your lifestyle.