Iowa Egress Window Requirements

Egress Window Requirements & Codes

Egress window requirements may differ throughout the nation, but the Iowa Government defines an egress window as ” an existing operable window with a clear opening area of not less than 5.7 square feet, and with a minimum opening height and width of 24 inches and 20 inches, respectively.”

In addition to the Iowa requirements for egress windows, the International Building Code (IRC) requires any sleeping rooms below the fourth story of a home, including basements, to have at least one emergency escape and rescue opening. An emergency escape may be a skylight, or a patio door or window, but it must be big enough for emergency responders to get through.

Egress Windows in Basements

An egress window is especially important in basement bedrooms where there is not easy access to the outside of the home. Egress windows are required in all sleeping rooms of a home by law. An egress window may not be required in a bedroom if the room already contains an exit door that leads to a yard, court, exterior balcony/patio, or public way.

Specific Requirements for Egress Windows in Iowa

  • Maximum sill height of 44″
  • Opening area of 5.7 sq. ft. at minimum
  • Minimum opening height of 24″
  • Opening width of 20″ at minimum
  • Window well required where the sill height is below ground
  • Horizontal dimension of > 9 sq. ft.
  • Horizontal projection of > 36″
  • Permanent ladder required if the window well is deeper than 44″
  • Grate must be removable without special tools

If you have any further questions on Iowa’s requirements for egress windows, you can read the full requirements here: Chapter 202: Requirements for Specific Occupancies. Or feel free to Contact us to learn about our process of installing egress windows in your home!