Why are certain rooms in a house considered bedrooms while others aren’t? There are strict conditions that determine how a space is designated to be a bedroom or some other type of room. One of these conditions is how many exits a bedroom should have.
A bedroom needs at least one exit and one means of egress. This can be two doors or one door and another form of exit, such as a window. The exit should open to the outside rather than the rest of the house.
In this article, we’ll look at the requirements for bedroom exits in greater detail. We’ll also look at some other conditions that must be present for a room to be considered a bedroom.
A Bedroom Needs Two Means of Egress, One of Which Is Also an Exit
As discussed above, for a room to be considered a bedroom, it needs at least two exits. Specifically, it needs to have access to at least two means of egress.
Though people tend to get the two confused, a means of egress is not the same as an exit.
An exit from a room is a means of egress that takes you to a different building, an outside space, or any space that is separate from your property.
A means of egress, on the other hand, involves not only the actual doorway you will leave through but also the path of travel until you get outside your property.
Means of egress encompasses the entirety of your path of travel, while the exit only covers the actual structure you will leave through, such as a doorway.
In terms of a bedroom, this means that both your bedroom exits do not necessarily need to lead outside your property for them to be considered compliant with requirements.
As long as they lead you to an unobstructed path that allows you to leave your building/home, they are considered an acceptable means of egress.
However, one of the minimum of two means of egress should also be an exit, which means that it should allow you to exit your property completely.
Because of this requirement, having two doors as your exit/means of egress is usually a challenge.
For this to be feasible, the bedroom will have to be positioned in such a way that one of the doors leads outside the property.
Instead, the requirement that one of the means of egress is also an exit means the exit usually takes the form of a window.
If you want your window to serve as your exit, there are specific requirements that it must meet first.
There are guidelines on what the minimum opening area of the window should be, as well as the minimum opening height and opening width.
Additionally, there are also guidelines on what the distance between your floor and window should be.
You should be able to open both means of egress from the inside without needing to use keys or tools.
This requirement ensures that you can easily leave your bedroom in case of an emergency.
Other Requirements for a Room To Be Considered a Bedroom
As mentioned above, the number of egresses and exits in a room is only one of the requirements that must be met before it can be considered a bedroom.
The other requirements are:
- The ceiling height: At least 50% of the ceiling should be a minimum of 7 feet (2.13 m) tall.
- Escape: Your bedroom should have at least one escape point that allows you to escape the property. The required exit will fulfill this requirement as well as the requirement on the means of egress.
- Size of the bedroom: To be considered a bedroom, a room should be at least 70 square feet (6.5 square meters). Additionally, it should be at least 7 feet (2.13 m) long in all horizontal directions (so, the length and breadth of the space should both be a minimum of 7 feet or 2.13 m).
Keep in mind that these requirements are those required by the International Code Council (ICC), which helps create building codes worldwide.
Local laws and regulations may differ and be more or less stringent than ICC requirements.
For example, the law in Illinois requires that a bedroom should be a minimum of 110-120 square feet (10.2-11.1 square meters) and should be at least 9 feet (2.74 m) in all horizontal directions.
On the other hand, a bedroom for one person in Michigan must have a minimum of 80 square feet (7.4 m) of usable floor space, and the ceiling should be at least 6 feet (1.83 m) tall.
Given these variations in local laws, it’s always best to consult a legal professional in your area if you’re planning on building a new home.
While the ICC guidelines provide the recommended minimums, the law in your area might have stricter requirements, and following only the ICC guidelines will get you in trouble.
To count as a bedroom under ICC regulations, a room needs at least one exit and one other means of egress.
It should also have a ceiling that is at least 7 feet (2.13 m) tall and be a minimum of 70 square feet (6.5 square meters).
Cheers, tools owners!