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Basement Egress Windows and
Outside Basement Entryways

Building code basics

The Ohio Basic Building Code stipulates the following for windows below ground level:

  • Minimum Opening height: 24 inches
  • Minimum Opening width: 20 inches
  • Minimum sill height from floor: 44 inches
  • Minimum net clear opening: 5.7 square feet.
  • If the window sill is above the grade on the outside: 5 square feet.

Window Wells/Area Wells:
  • Required where window opening sill height is below ground elevation.
  • The window well must be a minimum of 3 feet wide and 3 feet out from the wall.

Ladders in Wells:
  • Required on window wells deeper than 44 inches and must be permanently attached.
  • Ladder may encroach into well up to 6 inches.
  • Step distance between rungs is to be 18 inches maximum vertical spacing
  • Rungs: 12 inches wide or greater and must project a minimum of 3 inches away from wall, and a maximum of 6 inches. (Our Rockwell Well has built in steps, therefore it does not need a ladder.)

  • Shall be removable without special tools.

Windows Under Decks:
  • The International Residential Code 2015 stipulates the following for basement egress windows under decks:
  • Emergency escape windows are allowed to be installed under decks and porches provided the location of the deck allows the emergency escape window to be fully opened and provides a path not less than 36 inches in height to a public space (outside).

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