Egress Code in Ohio

A map Highlighting Ohio

What are Ohio Egress Requirements?

  • The window must be openable from the inside without the use of keys, tools, or special knowledge.
  • If there are more than one sleeping room in a basement, an means of egress is required in each sleeping room.
  • It must provide an unobstructed opening with a minimum area of 5.7 sq. ft. (This requirement drops to 5 sq. ft. for grade floor or below grade openings).
  • The height of the clear opening must be at least 24" and the width must be at least 20".
  • The sill height must not be more than 44" above the floor.
  • If the sill height is below grade, the window must have a window well.
  • If required, the window well must be at least 9 sq. ft. in area with horizontal projection and width of at least 36" each.
  • Window wells deeper than 44" must have permanent steps or a ladder that do not impede the opening of the window.

Egress Windows are Emergency Exits

What are Egress Windows?

Egress means to go out. Egress windows, then, are windows you can use to leave your home. While they may seem like a regulatory burden, these windows furnish occupants with natural light, provide a source of natural ventilation, and can become a lifesaver in an emergency. If there is a fire in your home, for example, a single stairwell may become unusable, leaving family members and tenants without a clear path to safety. For bedrooms and floors with doors that lead directly outside, these windows are not strictly necessary. This is because there are clear escape routes that can be taken in the case of an emergency. In basements, however, egress windows are essential and, if there is a bedroom, required by law.

The Ohio Building Code 

The specific requirements for egress windows in Ohio are detailed by the Ohio Building Code section 4101:1–10-01, specifically section 1030: Emergency Escape and Rescue. 

Section 1030: Emergency Escape and Rescue.


1030.1 General.

In addition to the means of egress required by this chapter, provisions shall be made for emergency escape and rescue openings in Group R-2 occupancies in accordance with Tables 1006.3.2(1) and 1006.3.2(2) and Group R3 occupancies. Basements and sleeping rooms below the fourth story above grade plane shall have at least one exterior emergency escape and rescue opening in accordance with this section. Where basements contain one or more sleeping rooms, emergency escape and rescue openings shall be required in each sleeping room, but shall not be required in adjoining areas of the basement. Such openings shall open directly into a public way or to a yard or court that opens to a public way. 


Exceptions: Storm shelters and basements used only to house mechanical equipment not exceeding a total floor area of 200 sq. ft.

  1. Basements with a ceiling height of less than 80" shall not be required to have emergency escape and rescue openings. 
  2. Emergency escape and rescue openings are not required from basements or sleeping rooms that have an exit door or exit access door that opens directly into a public way or to a yard, court or exterior exit balcony that opens to a public way.
  3. Basements without habitable spaces and having not more than 200 sq. ft. in floor area shall not be required to have emergency escape and rescue openings. 


1030.2 Minimum size.

Emergency escape and rescue openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 sq. ft. 

A Diagram of a window that passes egress in Ohio
A Diagram of a window that passes egress in Ohio
A diagram of a window that does not pass egress in Ohio

Windows A and B meet all of the area and dimensions requirements and would pass egress in Ohio. Window C, while meeting the dimension requirements, does not meet the area requirement and would not pass egress. 

Exception: The minimum net clear opening for grade floor emergency escape and rescue openings shall be 5 sq. ft.

A diagram of a window that passes egress for grade level or below grade windows in Ohio
A diagram of a window that passes egress for grade level or below grade windows in Ohio

Windows D and E meet all of the area and dimensions requirements for floor grade and below grade window openings in Ohio. 

R310.2.1 Minimum Dimensions.

The minimum net clear opening height dimension shall be 24". The minimum net clear opening width dimension shall be 20". The net clear opening dimensions shall be the result of normal operation of the opening. 



1030.3 Maximum height from floor.

Emergency escape and rescue openings shall have the bottom of the clear opening not greater than 44" measured from the floor. 



1030.4 Operational constraints.

Emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the room without the use of keys or tools. Bars, grilles, grates or similar devices are permitted to be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings provided the minimum net clear opening size complies with Section 1030.2 and such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the emergency escape and rescue opening. Where such bars, grilles, grates or similar devices are installed in existing buildings, smoke alarms shall be installed in accordance with Section 907.2.11 regardless of the valuation of the alteration. 



1030.5 Window wells.

An emergency escape and rescue opening with a finished sill height below the adjacent ground level shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Sections 1030.5.1 and 1030.5.2. 


1030.5.1 Minimum size

The minimum horizontal area of the window well shall be 9 sq. ft., with a minimum dimension of 36". The area of the window well shall allow the emergency escape and rescue opening to be fully opened. 



1030.5.2 Ladders or steps

Window wells with a vertical depth of more than 44" shall be equipped with an approved permanently affixed ladder or steps. Ladders or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12", shall project at least 3" from the wall and shall be spaced not more than 18" on center (o.c.) vertically for the full height of the window well. The ladder or steps shall not encroach into the required dimensions of the window well by more than 6". The ladder or steps shall not be obstructed by the emergency escape and rescue opening. Ladders or steps required by this section are exempt from the stairway requirements of Section 1011.

In Short

To put it all simply, if you are developing your basement in Ohio you will need an egress window that has a wide clearance and be easily opened. The Great Egress Company provides a curated collection of windows that meet egress requirements. The easiest way to get your hands on a code-compliant egress window is to let us ship one straight to your door. Have a look for yourself.


Our windows come in several types and sizes that will pass egress in Ohio. If you need a specific size or a specific color, we can have a custom window made just for you. 

An Egress Window in a window well

Shop Our Egress Windows

Custom Reverse Hopper Egress Window White
$550.00
Side Hinge Basement Window
$450.00
Side Hinge Egress Window
$500.00