Fairfax Contractors

Egress Window Contractor Northern Virginia

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Fairfax Contractor provides professional egress window installations In Northern Virginia.  Our installation team is experienced with all types of egress window installations,  and over the years, we have installed over 1,000 egress window projects. What sets Farifax Contractor above other contractors is that. 

Our project managers know the steps to install egress windows in an efficient and affordable team so that we can efficiently install basement egress windows that are high-quality and affordable.

Perhaps you want to remodel your basement and have found that you are required to have an emergency escape and rescue opening (EERO) to meet current building codes. Fairfax Contractor is up to date with all local building codes and can help you decide which option is best for your situation. In addition to installing egress windows, we also install walk-out doors and bulkhead enclosures like a Bilco door. We also are recognized as a contractor that provides egress window well replacement and repair.

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Bilco & Wellcraft Egress Window Systems

Fairfax contractor also installs Bilco and Wellcraft prefabricated egress window systems. Both of these window well systems meet all local building codes in most Northern Virginia county's. You will find that prefabricated window wells are very durable and are constructed of high-density polyurethane. Using a prefabricated window well will save a lot of money compared to installing a traditional masonry basement egress installation with block walls. In 2012 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code was updated and it became much more expensive to build an egress window. The reason is the new code requires that the well is excavated to the depth of the foundation footing, and then requires that footers for the walls to be poured even deeper. This adds a substantial amount of labor that can all be eliminated when using a prefabricated window well such as the Bowman & Kemp, Bilco and Wellcraft window systems. Saving money is always great but on top that these window systems look great

Egress Window Building Permits

Installing an egress window will require a building permit. When working with Fairfax Contractor we will obtain the building permit for the egress window installation. When applying for an egress window permit we will need to submit a set of drawings or plans that have been prepared and stamped by licensed civil engineer. These plans will detail how the window opening will be cut and reinforced for the structural integrity of the dwelling. before the permit is issued the drawings will be submitted for a building plan review. Another important step in obtaining a permit is to submit documentation for zoning and site review. We will need to provide a plat for the property and appropriately marked so we can get approval for the project. Other steps may be required depending on your properties location and the scope of your project. Other approvals for building a egress window may include wastewater review, health department review and a fir marshal review. We will also in many cases need to get approval from Home Owner Associations HOA's, and have the property marked for utilities prior to construction. Fairfax Contractor is fully licensed general contractor and hold a current and valid Virginia Class A contractor’s License # 2705154312 with an RBC  endorsement expiring on 7-31, 2022. Give us a call at 703-725-7945 and we would be happy to provide you with a free estimate on your new Egress Window.

Egress Window Building Codes For Northern Virginia

Egress window code based on the 2015 International Residential Building Code. The code that is followed in Northern Virginia Counties is version 2015 Virginia Uniform State Building Code (USBC), so there have been changes from the original codes when Fairfax County first implemented requiring basements to have an egress window. From the beginning and egress window sill shall not be more than 44 inches from the floor. At Fairfax Contractor we will always cut the window at 43 inches. The reason for this is that some building inspectors consider the vinyl frame of the actual egress as the sill, though this is incorrect, there have been failed inspections because of this issue. We now cut our egress Windows at 43 inches from the floor, so we don’t run into this problem. The area of the window needs to be 5.7 sq. ft. Now if you are using a double-hung window for your egress window, you really need a large window and it must be at least 34 inches wide. The normal size of a hopper window in a basement is typically 32 inches wide by 19 inches tall. So if you’re going to install a double-hung window for egress, you need to include the cost of reconstructing the header to achieve this 34-inch wide opening requirement. If you install a casement window the requirement becomes a net 20 inches clear opening. With this in mind, then it is no longer necessary to rebuild the header of the window, to accommodate a larger window. If your egress window is at grade, then the code changes to a minimum requirement of 5.7 sq. ft. of net opening and is often referred to as a clear opening. The UBC 2012 and states that emergency escape Windows shall be operational from inside a basement room without the use of a key or other types of special tools. One other note is the fact that the window used must meet the minimum requirement U-value of .32 or less. Fairfax Contractor currently utilizes a thermal vinyl replacement window that is custom built to meet this requirement. If our clients want to use a special brand window, it must be checked to see that the energy efficiency rating on that window complies with the current building codes. If your egress window is below grade. You will have to build a window well with a minimum 3’ x 3’ landing, which equates to the code of 9 sq. ft. This will require a building permit, if the finish depth, of your window, well is more than 2 feet. In Fairfax County, we can use either the Fairfax County Retaining Wall Detail or employ a licensed civil engineer to draw up custom plans for the retaining wall section of the egress window. To obtain the permit to actually construct the window well, the plans must be stamped by a Virginia state licensed engineer, and the county's engineer will review the details of the retaining wall plans. Window wells that are deeper than 44 inches will require an escape ladder and it can be constructed of steel or pressure-treated lumber. For these escape ladders to meet current building codes, the rungs of the latter must not exceed 12 inches in height. One must also note that an egress window needs to have a clearance after the window well of 36 inches, and this includes decks or other structures, so this needs to be taken into consideration when building an egress window. We typically build all egress windows with CMU cinder block, though there are kits, which are prefabricated. If you elect to utilize a prefabricated egress window well, you should be advised that we have witnessed these units fail with catastrophic results. Though they are allowed in Fairfax County the manufacturer's specifications must be included in the submission of the plans for permitting purposes. Grates, bars, metal screens, Plexiglas covers are permitted to be installed over an egress window well. But common sense must be given. So these covers are not too heavy, so a small child can easily remove the cover to escape a disaster. These requirements are in the 2012 IRC ( International Residential Building Code), and they clearly state that all bedrooms or sleeping rooms must be equipped with an egress window, and there are no exceptions for the age of the home. It must be noted that an egress window installed in a bedroom will suffice for the entire basement excluding additional bedrooms. This being said, you get the double advantage of an increase in the value of your home because you have an extra bedroom and you now meet the requirement for an egress window to make your basement code compliant. If you have additional bedrooms in your basement, each will require an egress window. So in closing, if you live in Northern Virginia let’s review some common scenarios and you may have a at your current home. This guide she’ll help you to determine if you should search out a contractor to install a code-compliant egress window. Let’s review some basement layouts and see what the requirements are.  The 1st situation is a basement that has an Egress walkout but has no bedroom in the basement. You will not need to install an egress window. Example 2:  You have purchased a home and plan to put a bedroom in the basement and want to remodel. You must at a minimum install an egress window in the sleeping room or bedroom to make this a legal basement. Example 3: You have more than 1 bedroom. You will need to install at minimum, an egress window in each bedroom for it to be considered legal sleeping quarters. Example 4: Your home has no egress walkout, no bedroom, and you want to remodel the basement. You will need to have an egress window installed. Listed below are a few examples of what most Northern Virginia counties are looking for when remodeling your basement and installing an egress window.

Building An Egress Window System

Fairfax Contractor follows these strict requirements to ensure the egress window retains the earth properly, drains properly, and most importantly is a code-compliant legal structure. Egress window construction starts with excavating the earth as needed in the site location. Footers are dug per engineering plans, typically 12-24 inches wide and deep depending on the size of the final walls surrounding the window or door. We believe the most important factor in installing an egress window is to devise a drainage system that will evacuate the water from the window well area efficiently. There are many techniques we use to do this. The best method to drain an egress window is, ( if the topography of your lot allows) to put a floor drain in the base of your egress window and drain the water by digging a trench so that a drain pipe is daylighted into your yard and the window well will never flood. If this is not an option, we will try to connect the drain box in the egress window into your existing sump pump system that may already be installed in your home. We must be very careful in doing this because the pipes leading to your sump pump may be compromised and the window well could flood. One common mistake made by inexperienced contractors is to tie the drain box into the perimeter drain system on the foundation of your home. This older drain system is often compromised by sediment and often leads to nowhere and when the water table rises your egress window well floods. If it is impossible to tie into the existing sump pump or the topography of your lot does not allow us to daylight the drainpipe, there are two other drainage options. The most expensive would be to install a sump pump in the base of the egress well, this would require additional costs for the electrician, permitting, and if the power goes out, you may be left with a flooding egress window. The smarter solution is to completely waterproof the base and walls of your egress window install a dry well in the area directly below the well, install a reverse backflow device to the line leading from the drain box to the dry well and install a Plexiglas cover. By utilizing this method as the water table rises, water cannot travel up from the dry well into the window well area because of the backflow device, which will stop the water. This method is time tested and a drain box is still installed in the base of your egress window well to allow for any water to collect in the drain box or pipe from the backflow device. Of all the installation steps the drainage of the actual well is absolutely the most critical decision that needs to be made. This is where Fairfax contractor can guide you to making the best decision on how specifically to drain the well portion of your egress window. Once the footer is excavated the hole for the window is precisely measured and the layout for the cut is marked. A specialized hydraulic saw is used to cut the hole through the basement wall and foundation where the new window or door will be located. The window is installed per engineering plans, typically with two 2x4 on each side, and two 2x8 headers above. If I casement window is used in the installation of your egress window and it is going in at a current window location a header may not need to be installed. The cut basement concrete foundation or block is removed and your new thermal vinyl replacement window will be installed with specialized masonry screws. Horizontal number 4 rebar is constructed in the footer base and vertical number 4 rebar is placed upward to support the block walls, typically every two feet along the wall. At this point, a footer inspection is done. After passing the footer inspection, the footer is poured with 3500 P.S.I. fiberglass reinforced concrete. The block walls are then assembled with a mortar mix that consists of Portland Type II Cement and Maryland Fine Masonry Sand. The blocks are filled with 3500 P.S.I. fiberglass reinforced concrete. The wall then has a parge coating applied to both sides with hydraulic cement. At this point, a backfill inspection is done. After passing the backfill inspection, aggregate gravel is installed behind the wall per engineering plans. Topsoil and sod are then applied to the surface to finalize all earth moving. Now the final touches are put on the project. Egress windows require a ladder to be installed in the egress location as well as a steel cover on top. When installing an egress door, handrails will need to be installed, lining the stairs. A final inspection is passed and the project is done. Once you have your egress window installed, you can now proceed in remodeling your basement. If your new egress window is installed in a finished basement, Fairfax Contractor will take care of repairing all drywall damage, priming, and painting the drywall. And trimming out the window with new wood casing and sill. The trim work will be caulked and painted to match the original trim in the rest of your basement.