Uniquely Designed Windows
In the course of our discussions on different types of window treatments, we have learned that variety lies not only with window coverings but also with windows. When it comes to window shapes and sizes there are endless possibilities. Specialty-shaped windows like triangular, semi-circular and hexagon, angled windows, bay windows, skylight windows, the list is quite considerable. Each of these windows lends a touch of uniqueness and personality to your rooms. With the right room decor and window treatment, these windows can look quite stunning and leave an everlasting impression on the minds of people. And to this list of special windows, we now add the Egress window. These are equally popular and have been designed to serve a special purpose in houses.
What are Egress Windows?
As per the International Building Code (IRC), basements and all bedrooms that are located below the fourth story of a room must have at least one emergency and rescue opening or window. This is referred to as an egress opening and this could be anything, a skylight a patio door, etc. but whatever it is it must be big enough to allow people to escape and rescue personnel to enter in the event of an emergency like a fire.
Egress openings in any other part of the house must have the following:
• Minimum clear opening of 5.7 feet
• Minimum opening width of 20 inches
• Minimum opening height of 24 inches
• The bottom part of the window must be at least within 44 inches of the floor
• The openings must not be blocked by grills or bars and should not require keys and tools to force them open. Easy accessibility is of prime importance.
Are Egress and Basements Windows Similar?
Though egress windows are typically located in the basement, not all windows in the basement can be termed as egress windows. There may be unfinished basements where you will find only ventilation windows.
There are many basements however which are habitable, have finished rooms and are used on a regular basis for work or living purposes. For these basements, the building code requires them to have an egress window. Every basement room must have an egress window by rule. This is t ensure the safety and security of the living space and its inhabitants.
Egress openings in basements have stricter guidelines and must have the following:
• Can be opened fully
• Must have 9 square feet of open area
• Must have a minimum width and height of 36 inches
• There must be a ladder permanently positioned near the opening if it is above 44 inches from the floor.
Window Treatments for Egress Windows: Filter Harsh Sunlight
So now that you know what egress windows are and what their purpose is, it is time to discuss the different window treatments you could opt for these windows. Remember that these windows are small and located high on the wall so it may a challenge to dress them up. Given the fact that most egress windows are located in the basement, it is unlikely that harsh sunlight will enter the room. If your egress windows are located elsewhere in the house then it is possible that you will have a lot of natural light streaming through into the house. To filter the light you can opt for any of the following window treatments.
Curtains are among the best choices for your egress windows. They look elegant and smart. You can opt from a range of patterns, designs and textures to add beauty to these windows. You could opt for short curtains that will cover the windows and extend little below the window frame or you could hang them till the floor to create the illusion of a larger window and larger space. To filter natural light and cut out the glares you could settle for sheer fabric. These will make rooms appear bigger and bright, allow light to stream through while blocking out the harshness and the harmful rays. If the windows face the sun and you want to block the light out then you could opt for blackout fabric or room-darkening fabric. You could also use a combination of sheer and room darkening fabrics.
Shutters make a sophisticated and smart window treatment choice for your egress windows. They can be fully opened like a door. The shutters come with louvers which can be adjusted for light and privacy. Closing the louvers will help to block the harsh light and heat out and provide complete privacy. Opening the louvers will filter light into the house and also allow you an outside view of the house. You can purchase plantation shutters made of natural wood. They look quite stunning. You can choose from a range of colors to blend with your decor.
Roman Shades are a timeless classic that has always proved to be an elegant choice for windows. Made of fabric they rise up in folds. They help to add softness to the decor and infuse warmth in the house. You can choose from different colors, prints and textures. If cutting out harsh light is the primary objective you could opt for woven fabrics that will help reduce the harshness.
Roller shades are a great contemporary choice for elegantly designed basements. They have neat and straight lines. They have no fold, frills or excess but extremely smart and functional. They are available in a variety of fabrics ranging from sheer, light-filtering to room darkening and blackout materials depending upon your need for light and privacy in your room. If you want to filter natural light into the room and not block light out completely you can opt for light filtering Roller shades. When raised completely these shades stack neatly at the top and exposes the windows.
Mini blinds are also a good option for your egress windows. These blinds are made of either aluminum or PVC and are extremely durable and long-lasting. They come with small slat sizes ranging between ½”, 1” and 2”. Smaller slat sizes do a good job of blocking light out. You can tilt the slats at different angles to allow warm light to filter through sans the harshness. They address your privacy issues as well.
All these window treatments do a great job of adding beauty and elegance to your egress windows without affecting or jeopardizing their functionality. They help to block out the harshness of the sun’s rays while filtering soft and warm light into the house.