National building code requires all furnished basements to have a means of egress – but adding egress window wells can have other benefits as well; as one New Jersey homeowner discovered.
“Sometimes I used to wonder why they even built a basement in this house,” admits Lambertville resident Rick. “We lived far enough away from the river that the house never flooded, but for as long as I lived here there was a funky, damp smell downstairs and it just wouldn’t go away.”
Rick’s beautiful Victorian home is just blocks from the Delaware river; and his basement is an important part of the house because it makes up no less than 30% of the square footage.
“But to be honest, we never liked spending time down there,” he admits. “When we moved in, we had plans to turn it into a media room, but instead we ended up using it more for storage than anything else.”
The crunch came when Rick and his wife held a New Year’s eve party – which spilled out from their tiny living room into their kitchen, back yard – even their bathroom.
“It was then we realized we needed more space.”
Rick and his wife realized they had two options. The first was simply to move – although they loved living in Lambertville, and had a lot of equity invested in the house. The second was to finally do something about the basement.
“I spoke to a buddy of mine who is in construction and he had one tip for me. Another basement window.”
Although Rick’s basement had an existing egress window well, as required by national code, his friend suggested a second would transform the space.