If you are considering a basement renovation, excellent idea! However, if a new bedroom is part of your plan, in case of fire, an egress window is code. At least one window in each bedroom must be of sufficient size (5.7 sq. feet) to permit the occupants the ability to escape a fire, and to allow a fully outfitted firefighter (with oxygen tank) to enter. County Codes and regulations in Texas simply will not allow a basement bedroom without one. And because this is a recent ruling in many parts of the country, most existing basements were not built with egress windows.
Thankfully, you need not be restricted by the basement your house was built with. We can solve this problem for you by adding an egress window that meets all code requirements for egress. Although this may be a dusty project, there’s nothing particularly complicated about it, and by hiring us, as opposed to some other contractors out there, your savings can be substantial.
If you are planning to expand your basement to add in an extra room or furnish up space to use it for any other purpose, you need to follow state regulations and install egress windows doors in Central Texas. A basement egress window is necessary in case of a fire for appropriate ventilation.
What will you get for your investment in an egress window? The added light let in by the new, deep window. The sensory difference can be outstanding. In basements, more so than elsewhere, light is a critical design element in basement design which is usually absent.
Egress Window FAQ’s
Q:What if I have a bedroom in the basement?
A: If you have a bedroom in the basement, the egress window system must be located within the bedroom. If you have two bedrooms in the basement, two egress window systems must be installed-one within each bedroom.
Q: My basement is finished; can you still install the egress window system?
A: Absolutely. Approximately 80% of our installations are performed in finished basements. We go through the normal installation procedures outside the house. However, the inside is painstakingly protected from damage or debris generated during the installation process. After the rough work is performed and the window is installed, the interior is refinished to match the existing decor as if the window had always been there.
Q: How quickly can I get an estimate?
A: Call us today to schedule an appointment that is convenient for you. We will come to your home, listen to your needs, assess the situation, make recommendations, and provide you with a guaranteed price for your new egress system.
Q: How do you prevent my well from filling up with water?
A: First, proper drainage. We take the preventative measure of installing a drainage pipe in the bottom of the well within the crushed stone base. If your house is newer, we tie the drainage pipe to the existing foundation drain that the builder installed while building your house. If you house is older, we drill through the foundation wall and install the drainage pipe through the wall and terminate it into your existing sump pump. If you do not have a pump, one needs to be installed, as an added expense. Second, we can install egress well covers, which have hinges that are mechanically fastened to the house and/or well. The cover, as the name implies, completely covers the well preventing water from entering the well and they are designed to shed water away from the house out into the yard.
Q: Do you guarantee against water leaks?
A: If we install a waterproof or water management system, we give you a lifetime warranty. If we need to tap into an existing system, then no – we cannot be responsible for another company’s work, regardless of who they are. If we install a sump pump just for the window, yes. However, the sump pump has a limited warranty. If there is an existing water drainage issue near the proposed installation location, it must be addressed prior to the installation of the egress system. The manufacturers of our windows guarantee them against leaks due to seal failures and stress cracks in the glass. The term of the warranty usually depends on which design you choose from different manufacturers.
Q: I would like my window installed near utilities – is that a problem?
A: Nope. In ALL instances, we call ‘Miss Utility’, which prompts all of the utility companies that provide services to your home to come out and mark the area where their lines and pipes are buried. Most times, we have to hand dig the hole because the desired egress location is too close to the foundation wall, and sometimes in between the electrical service and the gas service.
Q: Is there any maintenance required?
A: Not with an Apex install. The exterior of the egress system will be completely maintenance free. Once the unit is attached to the house and the cover is installed, there are no openings or crevices that will allow water, debris, and/or where animals can enter.
Q: You are cutting into the foundation – will that weaken the structure?
A: Not with an Apex install. There are basically two scenarios. Scenario One, which is 95% of the time – we are cutting into an area which has virtually no loads bearing upon it (this is usually where the builder installs the standard basement windows). However, sometimes we are cutting into an area, which may have load bearing on it. If necessary (usually not) we have our drawings signed, sealed and dated by a Certified Engineer in whichever state we are installing (MD/VA/DC). Rest assured, no mistakes are made, and the structural integrity of your house is never compromised.
Q: I have a stone foundation, is that a problem?
A: Not for Apex. We have a mason who works with us on these types of installations. We dig the hole and the mason takes over. The mason takes the stone wall apart to create the required rough opening within the stone foundation. He installs an engineered steel angle to support the remaining stone above the opening. Then we proceed as usual with the remainder of the installation.
Q: How long will it take to perform the work?
A: If you have an unfinished basement, we can usually complete the installation in one day, although we ask for two days to be safe. If you have a finished basement, it will usually take one to two days.
Q: Will there be a mess left behind?
A: No. We remove all job related debris in every project we undertake. We take away all of the excavation dirt and the concrete which was cut out of the wall. We utilize all of the stone that we bring by placing it at the base of the well and completely backfilling the cavity between the well and the earth. Then, as we remove our equipment, we do our best to be sure that there are no traces of us ever being there. Whether you have a finished basement or an unfinished basement, it will be cleaned upon completion of the installation.
Q: Do I need a permit for the work?
A: Yes. A permit is required in all local, city, county municipalities for this type of work. You can pull the permit, or we will complete and submit all of the paperwork required to obtain the permit. However, due to the different fees imposed by different municipalities, the fee for the permit is added to your overall investment.
Q: Do you have the proper Insurance coverage?
A: Yes we do. We have General Liability Coverage, Commercial Vehicle Coverage, Rental Equipment Coverage, and Workman’s Compensation Coverage. As of January 2008, all of these insurances must be presented, via Certificates of Insurance, to pull permits.
Q: I have decided to use Apex – how do we begin?
A: Excellent choice! First, we must schedule an appointment to come out to your house so that we can look at what you would like to do. Give Apex a call right now! Since we offer different designs, we must determine which one best meets your needs and desire. Then we take measurements. Usually we can give you a quote and proposal right then and there, and begin the project; or allow you some time to consider our proposal. If you like, feel free to get other estimates! Regardless, we are here to answer any questions you might have, and we hope to be your contractor of choice – for life!