Egress Windows Kitchener
Window Enlargements, Cut Outs and Egress. Create a legal basement …
Egress Window Requirements in Kitchener
Just like other municipalities across the province, sizing requirements for egress windows in Kitchener must adhere to the Ontario Building Code. The code sets out specifications for the type, dimensions and functionality of both the egress window and the window well. Here is a summary of the requirements below:
- Unless there is a door leading directly to the outside, every floor with a bedroom needs to have an egress window. This window must:
- Be openable from the inside without the use of tools
- Have an open portion that is at least 3.8 square feet (Approximately a 30” x 30” brick opening)
- Not have any dimension that is less than 15”
- If sliding windows are used, only the open portion counts towards the window size requirement
- Egress windows that open into a window well, must have a well clearance (projection of the well) that is not less than 22” in front of the window.
- If the window sash swings into the well, the window must be installed in a way that allows the window to open fully into the well without reducing the clearance
- If a cover is placed on the window well, it must be openable without the use of tools or any special knowledge
If you are in the process of converting your basement into a secondary suite, you might need something called an “escape window”. The requirements for an escape window are slightly different than those for an egress window. If your architect or engineer calls for an escape window, it must meet the following requirements:
- Must have an openable portion that is 4.1 Square feet (approximately 31 x 31 brick opening)
- Must not have any dimension that is less than 18”
- The bottom of the window sill must not be higher than 35” than the floor below (can use steps or fixed furniture to meet this requirement)
- The window well must open into a window well that has a projection no less than 39”
If you are unsure about meeting the requirement or have any questions, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss your specific situation.
Egress Window Types
We often get questions about the types of windows that can be used as egress window. It’s important to keep in mind that there is no “egress window”, most windows can be an egress window as long as it meets the necessary requirements.
As mentioned above, when using sliding windows, only the openable portion of the window counts towards the egress size requirement. Some contractors and suppliers will claim that a slider window can have panes that also swing in but beware because most inspectors will not pass those. Operating the latches that allow the windows to swing is considered “special knowledge” and therefore will not pass the regulations above.
Hopper windows are a common choice for egress windows. They open upwards and remain in the open position without needing any additional support. When considering hopper windows, make sure that you have sufficient clearance for them to fully open upwards without hitting a ceiling above. Also keep in mind that hopper windows have a width restriction of 36″, in order for the mechanism to be able to support the window sash in the open position.
Casement windows that swing outwards are a popular choice for egress windows. These windows are opened using a crank handle and can open outward to 90 degrees. Our casement windows are also fitted with specialized egress hinges that allow the window to open more fully than regular egress windows. By positioning the window closer to the interior of the foundation, we can allow a 30” wide window to open fully into a 22” window well. The width limit for a casement window is 72″.
In-swing casement windows
These windows open inwards and are operated like a door with side hinges. They are also a very common as egress windows because they have a single pane that creates a large opening. These are not always an option because egress windows are often installed into a recess in the ceiling so they will not be able to fully open inwards.The width limit for in-swing casement windows is 36″.
Tilt and turn windows
These are similar in operation to the in-swing casement windows but have the additional functionality of being tilted. Tilting the windows creates an opening that allows air to enter from the top of the window without having to fully opening the window. Similar to in-swing windows, these can only be installed if there is nothing that is obstructing the window from opening fully into the interior of the house. Tilt and turn windows have a width restriction of 40″ for the hinges to support the weight of the sash.
Cutting and Enlarging Windows for Egress
In most cases, your basement windows will need to be enlarged to meet egress regulations. Standard builder basement windows are usually about 28” x 12” slider windows which are too small to serve as an egress window.
The easiest way to enlarge a window is by cutting it down. A cut down doesn’t require additional support for either the floor joists or the exterior brick. In some cases, it is also easier to obtain a city permit for a cut down then it is for a horizontal window enlargement.
At minimum, a window that is about 28” wide will have to be cut down to 32” which, after frame deductions, will give you an openable area of 4 square feet (the requirement is 3.8 square feet). Of course, the window can be cut down to larger height if you prefer to let more light and air into the basement.
Unless you have enough clearance to keep the window above grade, you will also need to install a window well and excavate the ground below. This also means that proper drainage will need to be installed to make sure that water is not accumulating in the window well.
When considering a horizontal cut, it is important to remember that there will be additional work associated with the enlargement. A steel lintel will need to be placed on the exterior of the home in order to support the brick and a wooden header placed on the inside to support the floor joists. You should also check the exterior of the house to make sure there is nothing in the way that will prevent the window from being enlarged.
Egress Window Cost in Kitchener
Egress work is complicated and there are a lot of factors that go into pricing a job. Each egress installation is unique so it’s best to contact us in order to get the most accurate pricing.
There are a few cases to consider before understanding the approximate cost for your egress window project:
- The existing slider window needs to be changed into a single pane window
If you have an existing slider window with a large enough opening to meet egress regulation, you can simply replace that slider window with a single pane window. This involves manufacturing and installing the window, the cost for a project like this is usually under $1000.
- The window needs to be cut down with excavation
If you have a small above-grade window, you will need to cut it down in order to meet regulations. This means that we will have to excavate the ground, and install a window well with drainage. The cost for a job like this is approximately $2000-$3000.
- The window needs to be enlarged without excavation
If you have a small above grade window and enough clearance to cut it down, the window can be installed without having to excavate the ground. The cost for an enlargement like this is approximately $1400-$2400.
- A new window needs to be cut out
Cutting out a new basement window is much more complicated than a new window on above-ground floors. A new basement window needs to be properly supported to maintain the structural integrity of the window. If the window also needs to be below grade, a window well with proper drainage needs to be installed. A below grade window with excavation will cost approximately $2800-$4000. .
If you want to get information about the cost of your specific project, give us a call and we will be happy to discuss it.
Egress Window Installation Process
When you call us to schedule a free estimate, we will send out one of our certified estimators to help understand your needs for the project. Once we get an idea of what you would like to accomplish, we can make suggestions and work out the best way to complete your project within your timeframe and budget. Once the details of the project have been worked out, we will write up a quote that outlines the work that will be done and the associated costs.
Once we agreed on the scope of the job, our expert installers will come to take precision measurements. They will also confirm that the job can be done safely and efficiently as explained by the estimator. The installer will also measure to make sure that all the sizes are in compliance with the Ontario Building Code and municipal regulations. The measurement process is quick and shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes.
Our expert installers are insured and certified to the latest installation standards. Installing egress windows can be a complicated job especially when horizontal cuts are being made to the foundation of the house. In this type of installation, having installers that thoroughly understand the work and can perform it professionally is very important. You can usually tell a good installer apart from a bad one by asking if they are willing to do the work with a home inspector present. There are many opportunities to cut corners and many companies often do. Providing adequate support, seal and framing for the window can add to the cost of labour but is vital for the long term integrity of the window and preventing costly repairs in the future.
One of the important and often overlooked aspects of a proper installation is the cleanup. Removing soil, debris and other waste is important for both the cleanliness and safety of a job site. While a thorough cleanup can be time-consuming, we believe it is an important part of the project and we don’t leave the site until proper cleanup is completed.
Egress Window Permits in Kitchener
The building standards department for the City of Kitchener notes that a permit is required for the following:
- Installing a new window where there was none before
- Installing a new door where there was none before
- Increasing the width of an existing window opening
A permit is not required when replacing a window or when no structural changes are being made.
If you are not sure if a permit is required in your case, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss your specific situation.
You can also visit the building department website for the City of Kitchener for more information.
Egress Window for Secondary Suites
With the recent legalization of secondary suites in Kitchener, homeowners are increasingly converting their basements into secondary units in their basement. Secondary suites are a great way to generate more income from your property and increase housing availability in Kitchener.
Usually, one of the requirements for converting your basement into a secondary suite is installing functioning egress windows. Some basements already have windows that are large enough to function as egress windows but mostly they have to be enlarged or a new window has to be fully cut out.
When egress windows are installed as part of a legal secondary suite conversion, your window will be inspected by a city inspector. The inspector will ensure that the window meets all the regulations outlined above. In addition, the inspector will verify that the window was properly installed to meet all building standards. That means that he will check to see that the window opening is properly supported using lintels and wood headers where necessary (among other things).
Keep in mind that windows in secondary suites also have to meet specific light requirements. If you are considering enlarging your window for egress purposes, it’s a good idea to make sure that they also meet the light requirement for your basement (The clear portion of the window needs to be 5% of the total living area or 2.5% in bedrooms).
If you are not sure whether your secondary suite needs an egress window or have any questions, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss your specific circumstances.
Secondary Suite Zoning in Kitchener
Converting your basement into a secondary suite can sometime be a long and expensive process. You will need the help of a certified architect and a number of tradespeople to help with the conversion. Before starting any work, it’s a good idea to check if your property meets the zoning requirements outlined by the city of Kitchener. Below are some of the zoning requirements as can be found on the city website:
- Second suites are allowed in detached, semidetached and street townhouses. They are allowed in low-density residential zones.
- Additional parking is required for the second unit (cars can be parked in tandem)
- Minimum required lot size is 2530 sqft.
- No unit size requirements
- A separate entrance can only be provided from the side or rear yard
You can contact the city of Kitchener building department at 519-741-2312 or review the city’s zoning requirements. You can also call us if you have any questions and we will be happy to discuss your situation or point you in the right direction.
Why Choose Egress Window Experts
Egress Experts are the leading installer of egress windows in Ontario. With our unique focus on installing egress windows, our crew has more experience working with egress windows than anyone else in Ontario. We can handle any installation, no matter how complex, from beginning to end.
With hundreds of satisfied customers, our reputation speaks for itself. We complete the work to the highest standards of quality without cutting and corners and with a comprehensive warranty. We guarantee that you will love your new windows and will have peace of mind knowing that your job was handled by the pros. We can help with:
- Permit applications for your project
- Window and door enlargements
- Basement walkouts
- & more!
Call us today to get a free consultation from one of our experts!