Egress Windows London
Window Enlargements, Cut Outs and Egress. Create a legal basement …
Egress Window Regulations in London, ON
Egress windows in London must meet a set of requirements as outlined by the building and fire code. These requirements specify the dimensions and functionality of both the window and the window well. This is meant to ensure that every egress window is fit to provide a safe means of escape in case of an emergency. If an egress window is not made to code, a building inspector can request that changes are made to the window well so that it meets all the requirements as outlined in the code. Here is a summary of the requirements:
Every floor with a bedroom must have an egress window unless it also has a door that leads directly to the outside of the house. The window must meet the following requirements:
- It needs to be openable from the inside of the house without the use of any special tools or expertise
- Have an openable portion of at least 3.8 square feet (Roughly translates to a brick opening that is 30” x 30”)
- Not have any dimension (length or width) that is less than 15”
When choosing an egress window, it’s also important to remember that some of the window space is taken up by the window frame. This means the opening has to be somewhat larger than the eventual window.
- Whenever sliding windows are used as egress windows. Only the open portion counts toward the sizing requirement
- When the windows open into a window well, the well must have a projection that is not less than 22”
- If the window swings into the window well, it must open in a way that does not reduce the required clearance
- Whenever a cover is placed on top of the well, it must be easily openable without the use of expertise or special tools
If you are unsure about the required specifications for your windows, please give us a call and we will be happy to explain the requirements in your specific situation.
Types of Egress Windows
There are a number of different window styles that can qualify as Egress Windows. As long as the window meets the requirements outlined in the building code it can be considered an Egress Window.
When using sliding windows, only the openable portion of the window counts towards the egress size requirement. Although some slider windows have a sash that can swing into the house and open fully, be aware that some inspectors will not pass these. The reason being is that using latches to open the window is considered expert knowledge and therefore can not be used in an emergency.
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. The downside of hopper windows is that the mechanism wears out over time and they have trouble remaining in the upward open position. For that reason, we usually prefer to go with another style of window.
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 casement windows. This window also offers great energy efficiency and a tight seal to save you money on your energy bills.
In-swing casement windows
These casement windows swing inwards to the interior of the house. They are a common choice for egress windows and provide all the required comfort and functionality. When there is sufficient ceiling clearance, inswing windows are a great choice for an egress window.
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 open the window. These windows are commonly found throughout Europe and provide excellent insulation. Similar to in-swing windows, these can only be installed if there are no obstructions in the interior of the house.
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 than it is for a horizontal window enlargement.
At a 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 a 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 London
Egress installation is complicated and highly skilled work. Each installation requires careful planning and estimating. It’s always best to contact us to get the most accurate estimate for your project.
There are a few scenarios to consider before understanding the approximate cost of your egress window project:
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 project like this is approximately $2500-$3500.
The window needs to be enlarged without excavation
If you have a small above-grade window and enough clearance, the window can be installed without having to excavate the ground. The cost for a project like this is approximately $2000-$2500.
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 $3000-$4000.
Single window replacement
In some cases, the existing opening is large enough to meet egress requirements but the window style disqualifies the window from meeting egress requirements. For example, a slider window needs to be replaced with a single-pane window. The cost for a single replacement like this will start at about $1700. (A handyman or a general window company might be able to offer this service at a more competitive rate than us because of our scheduling minimums).
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 for 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 London
The building standards department for the City of London 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 London for more information.
Secondary Suite Zoning in London
Although there are no existing requirements for secondary suites in London, legislation is currently on the way to set those in place.
In 2019, Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choices Act) was enacted to require municipalities to adopt policies that will provide more residential units.
Following a public meeting on Nov 30, 2020, London’s city council approved changes to the city’s official plan. These new changes will allow Londoners to have up to 3 units on the property. Detailed regulations have not come out yet but the plan for the next two decades is to increase the amount of affordable housing in the municipality.
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!