Serving Minnesota and Wisconsin Since 1977

Call  763-537-4849
Text 763-537-4849

Egress Window Code MN: Laws Guide

Egress windows play an essential role in ensuring your home is safe, comfortable, and up to code. These windows provide a secondary means of escape in case of emergencies and add an extra layer of security to any house. Minnesota, like many other states, has specific laws and regulations in place concerning egress windows in residential buildings. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into Minnesota’s egress window requirements, the benefits of having these windows installed in your home, and the essential considerations to keep in mind for a successful egress window installation project. 

Minnesota Egress Windows: A Brief Overview

According to the International Residential Code (IRC), which Minnesota has adopted, egress windows are a mandatory safety feature in all residential structures. These laws apply to bedrooms, basements, and any habitable space that may require emergency egress. Minnesota’s building code outlines specific dimensions, location, and operational requirements for egress windows in various sections of the house. 

Size and Operational Requirements

Minnesota’s egress window requirements mainly focus on the size and operation of the windows. The state mandates that egress windows must meet or exceed the following minimum sizes:

Window Width: 20 inches

Window Height: 24 inches

Window Net Clear Opening: 5.7 square feet (5.0 square feet for ground floor windows)

Window Maximum Sill Height: 44 inches from the floor

In addition to these dimensions, the egress window must be easily operable from the inside without special tools, keys, or effort. These rules aim to ensure that in case of an emergency, all occupants can quickly and safely exit the building through the egress window.

Location Requirements

Location is another key factor in Minnesota’s building code for egress windows. If you’re installing a new egress window, it must be located in the actual sleeping area of the bedroom or habitable space. If the room has a door to the exterior, that door can serve as the emergency exit, and an egress window isn’t required in that particular room. For basements with habitable spaces, you’ll need to have at least one egress window installed, even if these spaces don’t function as bedrooms. 

Window Well Requirements

If your egress window is installed below ground level, specific window well requirements must be met. Window wells in Minnesota must be at least 9 square feet in area, with a horizontal projection of 36 inches or more. This allows for safe and accessible exit in case of emergencies. Additionally, if the window well has a vertical depth of more than 44 inches, a permanently affixed ladder or steps must be installed to aid exit during an emergency. 

Benefits of Egress Windows

While the primary purpose of egress windows is to ensure safety in case of emergencies, these installations can offer several other benefits to your home. One of the most attractive benefits is the extra natural light that egress windows provide to otherwise dimly lit rooms, particularly in basements. This added light has the potential to make any space feel larger and more inviting. Additionally, egress windows can enhance your home’s overall value, as they allow for more legally habitable space, making the property more appealing to potential buyers.


Understanding and abiding by Minnesota’s egress window laws is not only crucial for homeowners looking to stay within legal bounds but also essential for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all building occupants. Ensuring your egress windows meet the required size, operational, and location requirements will keep your property up to code and provide additional benefits such as increased natural light, enhanced home value, and crucial, life-saving accessibility in the event of an emergency. 

Standard Water Control has been installing egress windows for years and is well versed in all of the State of Minnesota’s laws and regulations concerning them. We have a selection of window wells to meet every homeowner’s needs and would be happy to provide a free, no obligation consultation for you. We’ll also provide you with a list of other homeowners we’ve done business with so you can check us out yourself.

Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. We’re looking forward to speaking with you!