How to Upsize your home with a Basement Egress Window

How installing an egress window helped one young couple make room for their growing family without the need to spend a fortune upsizing to a larger home

Four summers ago, Jordyn and her new husband Dan finally made the big decision and bought their first home together. A cozy two-bedroom bungalow nestled nicely in a quiet neighbourhood with a small garden in the front yard. It was the perfect starter home. A great place for them to build some home equity and maybe one day start a family

A bungalow in need of a brighter basement

Fast forward a few years and things are looking a little bit different for Dan and Jordyn. A nice cozy home tends to feel a little more cramped when you start sharing it with a hyper new golden retriever puppy and two adorable twin girls. For their own sanity, Dan and Jordyn decided that they needed to start looking for a bigger home. 

But before they could get too far into their search, the world got hit by the Coronavirus Pandemic.


Uncertain Times

Dan got laid off from his job and was forced to sit by and watch as the price of homes large enough to contain his growing family shot through the roof, much higher than they could afford to move into off of just one income. It was starting to look like they would have to make do with what they had.

Always the problem solvers, Dan and Jordyn started looking inwards for a solution to their space problem. Adding a full-on expansion seemed too expensive and would take away a lot of their precious little outdoor backyard space. But the basement had some potential.

The previous owners of the home had put a guest bedroom in the basement next to an open lounge area. But for the whole time that Dan and Jordyn had lived there, the space sat unused. It was dark, uninviting, and the air just seemed perpetually stale. The only thing it seemed good for was storing the rapidly multiplying mountain of toys that had slowly begun taking over their lives.

But that was about to change. Dan was on a mission to transform their dark and dreary basement into a vibrant space the family could truly enjoy.

A set of tools to be used in a basement renovation

Operation Brighter Basement

Like any good handyman stuck in quarantine, Dan went straight to the internet for some ideas on how to brighten the basement and make it more welcoming. A handful of clicks later he had a plan in mind: white paint for the walls, an extra lamp or two, and a cool piece of artwork to add a splash of colour. Check, check, and check.

Within a week, the walls had a fresh coat of paint, the lamps had been plugged in and the quirky frog painting had been hung. It sure looked better, but it just was not quite what they had been hoping for. It still felt dark and that stale smell seemed to only be made worse by the lingering aroma of not-so-fresh paint.

It was back to the drawing board for Dan. A bit more research told him that the best way to add light is to let mother nature take care of things. He needed a bigger window.


The Basement Windows

Since their home was originally built in the 1970s, well before the existing egress window code was put in place, the windows in the basement were quite small. There was one in the lounge area and one in the bedroom, but since these rooms were separated, each only had a small sliver of natural light coming in. Dan didn’t mind that the bedroom was a little dark, it would only really be used for sleeping anyways, but the lounge needed more light if they were going to truly enjoy it. It was time for a bigger window

As he started looking around for a bigger basement window that wouldn’t require tearing up his whole yard, Dan started to see posts about these “egress” windows for basements. He decided to investigate it a little more so he could find out what a basement egress window is.


What is a Basement Egress Window?

A basement egress window is a safety window that meets certain minimum size requirements to allow a person to fit through in the event of an emergency, like a fire. Since they are installed in basements, some of them can be made in a way that strikes a balance between being large enough to meet the legal requirements, while also being small enough that they can be installed without an enormous amount of structural work.

As he kept researching, Dan learned that the basement egress building code may actually work in their favour.


Egress window size requirements in Ontario

What is the Basement Egress Window Code? 

In order for a basement bedroom to meet egress code in the province of Ontario, where Dan and Jordyn live, there must be 2 separate paths that can be taken to get outside. By installing a window that meets egress requirements, their basement would have the 2 paths necessary: the stairs up to the main floor, and the route through the window.

Egress code in Ontario does not require the egress window to be in the actual bedroom; it only needs to be on the same floor level as the bedroom (as long as there is still a window in the bedroom that meets certain light and ventilation requirements). This means that Dan could install the egress window in the lounge, brightening up the space that they would really want to use, while still having the basement bedroom pass as a legal bedroom. Talk about getting two birds with one egress window.  


Their Basement’s Added Value

After buying and installing a basement egress window, Dan and Jordyn noticed a few things. First, as hoped the lounge area felt way brighter, more spacious, and more inviting. They actually found themselves enjoying that space for the first time in four years. It became their little sanctuary from the clutter and chaos of the upstairs world. A happy place where they could escape to for a few minutes of peace here and there. 

Perhaps more delightfully surprising, they learned that installing the basement egress window added substantial market value to their home. Since the basement in the home they purchased was not completely up to egress code, the “bedroom” could not be considered a bedroom when they purchased it. This means that with one simple basement egress window, the two-bedroom home they bought could be sold as a three-bedroom home, bringing with it the added market value of an additional bedroom. Not a bad return for the small cost of the basement egress window.

A brighter basement made possible by an egress window and some white paint

Happily Ever After

With more usable space in their home, Dan and Jordyn found their sanity again. They decided that for now, they would be perfectly happy spending a bit more time in their home. But now they have the added peace of mind that when it does come time to move on, they will have that much more home equity built up to put towards their forever home.



Are you looking for an egress window to brighten up your basement and pass a home inspection? The Great Egress Co stocks and sells basement egress windows in a variety of sizes and styles. We will ship it straight to your door for no additional cost. Have a look at our collection to see how we might be able to help you finish your basement renovation project.

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