There are several areas of your home where you may be thinking about window replacement or new window installation, and one that may require some different thinking than certain other home areas is your basement. There are a few priorities you may have when it comes to basement windows, and a few different window types you might be considering based on your needs here.
At Rocky Mountain Windows & Doors, we’re happy to help clients around Utah with all their window needs, from selection of ideal products to full window replacement or window installation as needed. Here are some basics on what makes window selection and installation different for some basements compared to other rooms in the home, plus some of the priorities homeowners have for their basement windows and the window types that might be ideal for meeting them.
Why Basement Windows Can Be Unique
There are a few factors that make basement windows different from others in the home:
- Sizes: For starters, basements are often either partially or fully underground, meaning their windows tend to be smaller and placed higher than regular ones. This means a few things for your window selections, which we’ll go over.
- Lighting considerations: Since basement windows can’t let light directly into the room as they do with other windows, there are certain lighting considerations to make. This includes the type of lights you install in the rest of the room, plus how natural light from above will enter.
- Potential privacy concerns: Because basement windows are lower and sometimes more exposed than others, some homeowners have concerns about privacy. Many don’t want people peeking into their basements or have other concerns about their windows being easily seen through, and this can affect the types of windows they select.
- Security needs: Down related lines, some basement windows are also more susceptible to security risks than others. You’ll want to consider this factor in making your selection.
- Air circulation: Finally, since basements have limited airflow compared to other rooms in the home, ventilation is a common consideration when selecting basement windows and how they will function within the room.
Our next few sections will go over some of the top factors homeowners are often looking for in their basement windows, plus the window types that are ideal for these needs.
Emergencies and Safety
One major priority some homeowners have for basement windows is their potential use in emergencies or as safety features – specifically, allowing people to escape the basement in case of a fire, flood or other dangerous situation. There are a few good options here, but perhaps the most well-known is the egress window.
Egress windows refer to those that are large enough for people to climb through if needed. They’re specifically designed to be easy-to-open and quick escapes, and are often required by building codes in basements that double as living spaces or bedrooms. They often come with steps or a ladder that leads up to ground level. In addition, egress windows can also serve as emergency exits for those living above the basement, should they become trapped due to a fire or other issue.
As we noted earlier, natural lighting is not a primary function of basement windows compared to other rooms in the home. However, it can still be an important consideration depending on the specific needs of your basement space. If you have a finished basement that functions as a living area, natural light can be crucial for creating an inviting and comfortable atmosphere. In this case, you may want to consider larger windows or alternative window types that allow more natural light to enter.
Certain window types, such as awning windows, can be a great choice for basements because they provide ample sunlight while still allowing for privacy and security. Another option is installing a light well, which is essentially a small reflective shaft that channels outside light into the basement through an opening in the ground level above.
Another common concern for basement window selection is privacy. As we mentioned earlier, basement windows are often lower and more exposed than other windows in the home, making it easier for people to see inside. If this is a concern for you, there are several options to consider:
- Frosted or tinted glass: Adding frosting or a tint to your basement windows can obscure the view from outside while still allowing natural light to enter.
- Planting trees or shrubs: You can also plant tall plants or shrubs around your basement windows to create an additional barrier between the window and potential onlookers.
- Window treatments: Traditional window treatments such as curtains, blinds, or shades can also be installed for added privacy.
As mentioned earlier, ventilation is an important consideration for basement windows due to limited air flow in these areas. For this purpose, sliding windows or hopper windows are often great choices as they allow for easy opening and closing. Additionally, casement windows that open outward can also provide good air circulation in basements. And if you want a window with both natural lighting and ventilation capabilities, a bay or bow window may be the way to go. These larger windows provide plenty of natural light and can also open up for ventilation when needed.
For Basements on Slopes
If your home is located on a slope, meaning your basement actually opens up to the outside at ground level, you’ll want to consider the type of window that will be most functional for your space. In this case, a casement or hopper window might not work as well since they open outward and would hit the ground when opened. Instead, look for windows that can slide up and down or side to side.
Large picture windows, for instance, can be a great option for basements on slopes. They offer expansive views and plenty of natural light, while still functioning as a window that can open up if needed. Another option is the sliding door, which not only provides ventilation but also serves as a secondary entrance or exit for the basement.
As you can see, there are several factors to consider when it comes to selecting basement windows. From safety and privacy concerns to ventilation and natural lighting, each homeowner will have their own unique priorities. By understanding these needs and researching the best window types for your specific basement space, you can make an informed decision that will benefit both the functionality and aesthetic of your home.
At Rocky Mountain Windows & Doors, we offer a variety of window options suitable for basements and other areas of the home. From egress windows to sliding doors, our team can help you find the perfect fit for your needs. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation for any of our services around Utah!