I have a basement with three hopper windows and a walk-out door. There's also a staircase that connects the basement with the upper (main) floor of the house.

If I build a bedroom, do I need an egress window or is the basement walk-out door acting as such? (Note that there probably be an internal door between the bedroom and the walk-out exterior door.)

  • 1
    Think about it: What would you do about a fire in the doorway? Commented Oct 10, 2011 at 0:50

3 Answers 3


You need an egress window in any bedroom. The purpose is to provide an alternate point of exit from inside a bedroom in the event of an emergency. Having an exterior door located nearby but still outside of the bedroom will not qualify. If the bedroom doorway is blocked, the occupant still cannot exit the room.

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    This is correct. Every bedroom now has to have windows as egress, unless there is a door to the outside. Doors, even it just a short distance to another egress do not qualify. Older structures, existing usage etc can get variances, by local code enforcement. Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 21:58
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    In addition to the mere presence of a second means of egress, most places also require a certain amount of headroom, minimum dimensions, electrical connections, window size, and that the door to the room open into a hallway for a room to be used as a bedroom. And for real estate listings, you'll probably need a closet. Check with your local building inspector so you have all of the requirements in mind before finalizing your plans. Commented Apr 14, 2011 at 4:23
  • You definitely need an egress window. It's required in every home.
    – user3983
    Commented Oct 8, 2011 at 7:59
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    Would it be fine if the exterior door was inside the bedroom? You just need two means, not necessarily either of them being a window, right?
    – Mazura
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 0:58
  • 3
    @Mazura Yes, an exterior door inside the bedroom would be fine.
    – Doresoom
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 1:26

I don't have an answer based on any existing building code other then to relay my experience dealing with my attic remodel.

I think the point the egress route is a secondary exit if the primary (door) is blocked due to smoke/fire. I would imagine if your door to the outside is in a different location than the stairway to the upstairs (main floor) you may be OK. If it is not "up to code" you may be able to work with your local building department/fire marshal.

We turned our attic into a bedroom and only had 1 exit (the main stairway). The only accessable windows that you could crawl out of where three stories above the ground (too far the jump, at least that is what the fire marshal said). We filed, and received, a variance from the city, it was contingent on the installation of inteconnected smoke detectors on all the floors.


It will highly depend on your local codes. In Ontario, Canada, as an example, an egress exit simply needs to be on the same level as the bedroom - not located directly within it.

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