The majority of window well grates are constructed from metals such as stainless steel, wrought iron, or aluminum. Wrought iron and stainless steel offer superior weight support and security, but can conduct heat or be susceptible to rust (particularly iron) — paints or coatings are sometimes applied to mitigate these effects. Aluminum is a lightweight and workable material but does not offer the same strength as iron or steel.
Architects and engineers using egress systems create additional value in below grade designs. New home builders are always looking for ways to reduce the cost of construction and still offer the square footage needed by families.
One cost effective way that is becoming more common in the western areas of the United States is designing homes with multiple egress systems, and using the basement level as the first level of living. The open stairwells that move the airflow and ventilation from one floor to another make for more comfortable living space and more profit for a property owner.
In addition, egress systems are required by NJ law in any property where the basement is used as living space. In many homes, the basement leads directly to the kitchen where most home fires originate, and without an effective Egress system, residents can be trapped in the basement with no means of escape and a difficult entry point for first responders.
Having a statute that requires an Egress window system to a basement enables property owners to rent the basement to potential tenants, with their safety in mind. In addition to saving costs and making the most of the property space, it adds value to the property.
Egress window systems allow for more efficient and less costly use of land space. The cost of construction building down is less than that of building up and out. Building down provides the contractor additional profit per square foot, and offers the homeowner a lower cost of heating and cooling throughout the years of home use.