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Education Center

What is an Egress Window?

Dear Chris,

“I read recently about firemen using an Egress Window to enter a home that was on fire. I have never head of this term. Could you explain this to me? “

Sarah, Glen Ellyn, Il.   



A vital portion of your safety program is what’s known as Egress. Although municipalities requirements vary, an Egress Window is generally required by code in a below-grade bedroom and in a finished basement. This allows a means of escape in a fire or other emergency. Imagine a kitchen fire that blocks the basement exit from the stairs. Occupants could be trapped with no escape. An egress window not only allows for escape for residents, but it’s sized to allow a fireman to enter wearing turn-out gear and an air tank. This is usually a 36” opening required by code.  

Egress windows are not all created equal. 


Midwest Waterproofing Egress Windows contain:

  • Full-Depth window well. Many companies piece the well together using a couple window wells to get to the appropriate depth. This creates and inherent weakness and gaps that leak.
  • All metal window well liners. Corrugated and galvanized, Midwest Waterproofing Window well liners are the strongest available and will look new for several years. Plastic liners are susceptible to cracking when frozen in the tough Chicagoland winters. Cracked window well liners will allow a cascade of water in the well and could overwhelm the drain.
  • A fully functioning drain is vital. A clogged or missing drain can create a fishbowl in a window well during a heavy downpour. If the interior window breaks under pressure, an uncontrollable cascade of water will inundate your basement.
  • Picking the correct window is vital. It needs to be easy to open, it needs to be large enough to allow entrance and exit and since the window is so large, it needs to be energy efficient.
  • Another important point is when your poured concrete wall is cut to accommodate the new, larger egress window avoiding over-cuts are vital. Over-cuts can create cracks in the future leading to seepage. Midwest Waterproofing uses a technique to avoid this problem.
  • Also, the flanges of the widow well are covered with our membrane to eliminate water seeping behind the window well. 
  • The final piece of the puzzle is a very strong cover. Our covers are custom cut, hold up to 500 lbs., and make it very difficult for the bad guys to get into but easy for the residents to exit in emergency.


Midwest Waterproofing provides a complete package to cover every element of Egress Windows and take the guess work out.

To set an appointment for a free consultation with a Midwest Waterproofing Expert click here Book Online or call 815-245-6890