Creating an egress window in your Virginia basement not only increases property value, it also adds natural light and enhances below-grade living space. However, enlarging a basement window requires careful planning and the skills of an experienced contractor. Find out how this project plays out and understand the value and work involved.
Basement windows are cut into your foundation. The structural stability of the concrete walls has been calculated using the existing window sizes. Enlarging those gaps requires a recalculation to ensure overall building stability.
Think of it this way—your first floor, second floor, and possibly even the roof transfer load down to the foundation. Removing a portion of the wall decreases the amount of concrete available to handle that load.
Additional support can be added in many cases, and window location plays a major role. Your Virginia basement contractor will inspect the area, assess the work required and complete any necessary calculations. A building permit application ensures that all work complies with local building code.
Stability of the building is the first major factor to consider when enlarging basement windows, but drainage remains a concern. In most Virginia homes, a larger window extends down the wall—this type of project requires excavation.
Your contractor needs to dig down below the new window to provide proper drainage. A traditional window well or retaining wall blocks form the barrier of a deeper well to carry water away from your window opening. This well also requires drainage, most often a French drain or drainage piping does the job.
When replacing your existing window with a larger design, consider upgrading the glass and/or the style to provide better efficiency. Heat loss through windows contributes to higher energy bills and often makes your basement living space feel cool. Now is the time to install windows with cutting edge design.
Is your home currently fitted with hopper windows in the basement? This simple style may be single or double paned and opens inward with a hinged bottom. Slider windows offer less air flow, but most often come with a more solid design and higher levels of security.
Awning windows come with the highest price tag, but can be used in rain or snow. They open from the bottom out, with a hinged top. Although awnings windows are practical and good for security purposes, they come in limited styles and sizes. Opt for a sliding style to take advantage of a good quality egress window.
Look for windows with the NFRC certification sticker. This provides proof that the manufacturer complies with NFRC standards and window performance meets minimal levels. Additional ratings provide you with more specific information about how that particular window performs in the Virginia climate.
Enlarging windows in your Virginia basement adds natural light and visually expands your living space downstairs. An egress windows also allows for a more flexible design in the basement, including the addition of bedrooms and other features. Talk to an experienced Virginia basement contractor about how to handle this project affordably and efficiently, and enjoy the difference a larger window makes.