What Are the Legal Basement Bedroom Requirements in Minnesota?

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Building a new house or making alterations to an existing unit to include a basement bedroom without fully understanding basement bedroom requirements in Minnesota exposes you to serious legal and ethical scrutiny. Such a move may pose a safety hazard to occupants or undermine the market value of your house.

The International Residential Code Minnesota provides standards for habitable rooms, including rooms for sleeping, eating, and cooking. The code specifies ceiling heights, floor space, ventilation, windows, safety details, and more for habitable rooms, including a legal bedroom.

If you wish to install a basement bedroom in Minnesota in a new or existing house, please call Honey Doers for a FREE no-obligation consultation at (952) 985-5383.

Basement Bedroom Requirements in Minnesota

In the United States, the International Code Council developed the residential building regulations, which 50 states, the U.S. Virgin ISland, and the District of Columbia have adopted. Besides enhancing occupant safety, the building regulations standardize best practices and clarify the expectations among all parties involved in planning, building and approving the remodeling project.

Basement Bedroom Ceiling Height Requirements

The rules provide that the minimum height for existing habitable rooms is 6 feet 4 inches (1931 mm). Before 2015, the state only allowed for a minimum ceiling height of 7 feet, which meant that houses built in the 1960s whose ceilings were below 7 feet couldn’t comply or get permits for their basement bedrooms. Still, if you are constructing a new building, you’ll have to abide by the 7-foot minimum height for your basement bedroom.

Room Size Including Floor Space and Width

The law requires that a bedroom floor space be between 70 square feet for one occupant, 90 square feet for two people, and 50 square feet for each additional person. Walls are to be 7 feet in any horizontal direction, and the maximum number of occupants per room is 4.  The stipulated floor space allows for sufficient room for a full-size bed or twin bed and furniture such as a dresser, vanity, and a chair.

Egress Window and Exit

The basement bedroom window code requires at least one egress window with a sash and sill that allows for a means of escape. If the sill height is below grade, the window should be placed 44 inches from the floor. The regulation requires that basement bedrooms have at least one window that opens and is large enough for escape with a minimum of 20 square inches of opening.

Other requirements include:

  • A window well for windows whose height is below grade or ground level with permanent steps or a ladder, if the well has a vertical depth exceeding 44 inches. The ladder or rungs shall have an inside width of at least 12 inches (305 mm), project at least 3 inches (76 mm) from the wall, and be spaced not more than 18 inches (457 mm) on center vertically for the full height of the window well. On the exterior, the well should be 36 inches wide with a horizontal projection measuring 36 inches.
  • Unless the building foundation is on well-drained soil or sand-gravel, with good drainage, the window well should connect to the building’s drainage system required by Section R405.1
  • It should be possible to open the window from the inside without any special knowledge, keys, or tool. Any window opening devices should be installed in compliance with ASTM F 2090 and should not require keys or tools to operate.
  • The window should have an opening height of not less than 24 inches and an opening width of not less than 20 inches.
  • There should be a clear and unblocked opening of 5.7 Square feet for an above-grade window and 5 square feet for a ground level and below-grade window with not more than 44 inches above the floor.

A replacement window is exempt from the maximum sill height requirement as long as the replacement window is the manufacturer’s largest standard size window suitable for the existing frame. The window should have the same style of operation as the current window or provide a greater opening area.

Means of Exit

Every sleeping room must have at least one emergency escape and rescue opening for all the rooms in the basement. The law requires that emergency and rescue openings open to the yard, a public way, or a court that opens to a general way. The regulations do not require emergency escape and rescue openings if a sprinkler system is installed according to IRC Section P2904 or NFPA 13D.

Hire Us to Design, Build and Install a Basement Bedroom

Honey doers is a family-owned and operated business with over 24 years of experience. You can trust our team of licensed contractors to understand, meet and exceed the expectations of your remodeling or home building project. Honey doers’ business model is custom cabinetry which enables us to offer you a variety of styles, materials, colors, and finishes according to your style and budget. Because we value you, we provide premium-level customer service and transparent support if you have an ongoing project with us.

If you seek to install a basement bedroom in your home, please call our client services team at (952) 985-5383 for a FREE consultation.

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