I am looking to finish our basement and add two bedrooms. The basement has one stairway access from the basement to the main level of the home. Additionally, it has another stairway access from the basement to the garage.

I currently have four non-egress windows in the basement. I am hoping to add two bedrooms with two windows each.

Can I do this, without needing to add an egress window in the basement bedrooms? Does having a second stairway access to the garage count as a walk-out? Does having a second stairway access to the garage mean I don't need an egress window in the future finished bedroom?

  • 1
    This will be dependent on your communities code requirements. Ask your municipalities building permit department if your plan is allowed by code.
    – Alaska Man
    May 11, 2020 at 22:49

1 Answer 1


Basements and every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency and rescue opening. Such opening shall open directly into a public street, public alley, yard or court.

IRC R310.1

Egress must be available through a window to the outdoors, such that an adult can be reasonably expected to pass through to escape or to provide rescue. Down a hall, up some stairs, and through a garage or other part of the structure doesn't meet that requirement under most applicable codes, nor is it the kind of "escape route" you'd really want for your loved ones.

  • Good answer...and the window shall be a minimum of 5.7 square feet with a minimum height of 24” and minimum width of 20” with the sill no more than 44” off the floor.
    – Lee Sam
    May 12, 2020 at 1:55
  • This points out that what the OP has now is illegal, even if he leaves it as a basement. One wonders how that came to be. May 12, 2020 at 15:33
  • Not really. Basements without sleeping rooms didn't require egress until relatively recently. There are basements by the millions in the northern part of the US without egress windows.
    – isherwood
    May 12, 2020 at 15:38

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