If you’re thinking about adding an egress window to your basement apartment, you may have noticed that some options include an egress window cover.  You may have also noticed that other window well setups are completely open.

So why do some people choose to keep their egress window covered, when really it’s a means for escape in the case of an emergency?  Shouldn’t every second count?

Every second does count, which is why there are regulations to follow with all things concerning your egress window!  While regulations vary from city to city, it’s Michigan law that all livable spaces in basements have an emergency exit or egress window.  Generally speaking, your egress window must also have a clearing of at least 5.7 feet for space to climb out of.  Any egress window covering cannot obstruct that clearing space to ensure that people can safely exit in case of an emergency.

It’s also important to note that any egress window covering cannot have a locking mechanism that requires a key to open.  It would defeat the purpose of having an emergency exit if you weren’t able to quickly, and safely exit.  Sliding locks or bar locks are great options if you’re concerned about the security of your egress window cover, as these locking mechanisms don’t require a key and can be quickly unlocked.

But again, why add an egress window cover over having an open well egress window?  Typically, it’s personal preference.  Many people choose to add a covering for aesthetic reasons alone.  An egress window cover is a great option if you’re looking for ways to help your egress window blend with the architecture of your home.  There are many types of window well covers that give your window well a subtle look.  Some options include:

  • Domed covers
  • Low profile covers
  • Grill or Grate covers
  • Bar Covers

Which style of cover you select is based on personal preference and the look you’d like to achieve.  Grill, bar, and grate options allow more sunlight through your egress window, while domed or low profile covers tend to give a more subtle look.

Looks aren’t the only reason people choose to add a cover to their egress window well.  Safety concerns also play a part when deciding to add a cover. If the location of your egress window is in an area where children may run and play, or if it’s located near the side of a deck, it may be a good idea to add a cover.  Any egress window cover should be made out of durable material to withstand weight on it.  While no one should be standing on the cover, if someone missteps, the cover should be able to hold their weight.

In the end, it all comes down to personal preference based on the look you’re aiming for and the amount of foot traffic near your egress window.  If your egress window isn’t in a high traffic area of your yard, you may prefer the classic open look of your egress window.  You may also decide to want a cover for a more finished look to your egress window well.  Whichever you decide, we’d love to help!  Give us a call today at (586) 205-0351 to get started on your egress window setup!