How Much Does an Egress Window Cost to Install?
Egress windows not only bring light to dark basement spaces, but they’re also a vital safety feature. Egress window costs range from $2,544 to $5,302, with the national average at $3,904.
- Typical Range: $2,544 to $5,302
- National Average: $3,904
If you use your basement as a bedroom, office, TV room, or workshop, you’re required to install egress windows. Any room that your family lives in or uses frequently needs an egress window, or a window that is large enough that it can be used as an escape during an emergency. According to HomeAdvisor, egress window costs range from $2,544 to $5,302, with the national average at $3,904. The average price includes materials between $100 and $700 per window and $100 to $250 per window for installation. The total cost for purchase and installation depends on the size of the windows, the total number of windows, window type, brand, and removal and replacement costs. If you need to cut through a wall or excavate to install egress windows in your home, expect to pay about $1,500 to $3,000 per window.
Egress windows look like any other window, but they must be large enough to fit through if someone has to climb out of one during an emergency. Egress windows come in a variety of styles and sizes to accommodate the aesthetics of your home.
What Is an Egress Window?
Basements in older homes rarely have large enough windows for people to climb out of in the event of a house fire or other emergency. Depending on the home’s age, the basement may have small, narrow windows or hopper windows that open inward. These windows are not large enough for someone to exit or a first responder to enter. Egress windows are large secondary exit windows that ensure the safe exit of you or a family member during an emergency. These windows are required for all the living spaces in a home.
Egress Window Requirements
The building codes in your area will dictate the specifics regarding the egress windows in your home. According to the International Residential Code, basement egress windows should be at least 20 inches wide, at least 24 inches high, a net opening of at least 821 square inches or 5.7 square feet, a windowsill that is no more than 44 inches off the floor, and a window well that projects at least 36 inches from the house with a clearance area of 9 square feet. The regulations for window wells and bars, screens, grills, or covers over a window differ from city to city. Be sure to inquire about specifics with your local building authority.
Factors in Calculating Egress Window Cost
Many factors impact egress window costs. Prices can differ from the national average due to labor costs and permit fees in your area, materials, window size and type, the number of egress windows needed, window removal, glass quality, the type of property, and geographic location.
Labor and Permits
Installing egress windows takes knowledge and skill. Expect to pay approximately $40 per hour for labor to install egress windows. For an above-ground egress window installation, it can cost $500 and $1,000. If the windows are below ground level, the area will need to be excavated. This process requires more time and labor. Homeowners typically pay between $2,400 and $4,000 for a sub-floor installation.
Installing egress windows usually requires a permit. If you need to dig to install the windows, you’ll also need a permit for excavation. Most permits can cost from $50 to $200 each. An egress window professional will get the necessary permits for the project.
Materials can comprise the window itself, the items to build a window well, screws, tools, lumber, concrete, insulation, caulk, moisture barriers, tarps, shims, and more.
Window Size and Type
The cost of an egress window is influenced more by the type of window than by the size. An egress window must be at least 20 inches wide by 24 inches high, and it needs to be large enough for an adult to pass through it in an emergency. Casement windows are the most popular option for basement egress windows.
Number of Windows
According to the International Residential Code, there needs to be at least one egress window in each sleeping area in a basement or bedroom below the fourth floor. Some homeowners install more than one egress window to increase safety and allow more natural light into the room.
The cost to remove an old window and replace it with an egress window is approximately $200 per window. This price does not include the cost of the window.
Glass quality affects egress window costs. Double-pane windows are effective at blocking drafts and noise. They cost between $200 and $500 per window. Single-pane windows will be less expensive, and triple-pane options cost between $300 and $800 per window. If you choose an optional glass coating that minimizes the amount of infrared and ultraviolet light, such as low-E coating, it can add 10 percent to the price of the window.
Type of Property
If you have an older home with small windows, you will need to resize the window opening before installing an egress window. The cost to cut a new window opening is $700 per window, the price for removing and replacing a window is $200 per window, and resizing a window opening costs between $150 and $200 per window opening.
Getting multiple quotes from reputable window installation professionals in your area is vital to getting an accurate estimate. Egress window costs vary depending on where you live. If you need to excavate to install an egress window well and you live in an area with a high water table, it will be more expensive than in an area that is more easily accessible. More populated urban areas are typically more costly for labor and materials than in more rural areas.
Additional Costs and Considerations
When budgeting for egress window costs, it’s helpful to know the additional price factors and considerations that can increase the cost of the installation project. These can include prefabricated versus custom window costs; above-grade versus below-grade installation if excavation, construction, or window well digging is needed; and any extra add-ons.
Prefabricated vs. Custom
Prefabricated egress windows cost between $100 and $500 per window, depending on the type and if they will be installed above or below ground. Custom windows may be needed depending on the structure and requirements of your home. They can run between $500 and $700 per window.
Above-Grade vs. Below-Grade
The different levels of your home are referred to as on-grade, above-grade, or below-grade. The ground-level floor is known as the on-grade floor. Any floor that is above the on-grade level is called above-grade, and the basement is called below-grade. Basements need a below-grade installation, and in many homes, that means cutting through the foundation and digging a window well. The cost to excavate for a window well runs from $50 to $200 per cubic yard. One window well usually involves removing 1 to 1.5 cubic yards of land. Above-grade installations require units with an opening of at least 5.7 square feet.
Excavation or Construction
Installing egress windows usually requires a building permit since the installation and construction affect the overall safety of a home. If excavation is needed to dig for a window well, an excavation permit is also required. Contact your local utilities, telecommunications, and plumbing providers to check for underground lines and pipes for safety purposes.
Digging a window well requires cutting a hole in the foundation or concrete wall for a fully submerged basement. It is vital to hire an experienced professional to ensure the safety and stability of your home’s foundation. Additional costs for digging a window well are $500 to hire a land surveyor, $500 to hire a structural engineer, and $350 to hire an electrician. Digging a window well is more than just excavating dirt and installing a window; it needs to be graded properly for drainage, to keep moisture away from the foundation, and to install steps or a ladder if needed.
Extra features such as double- or triple-pane glass or low-E coating will raise the egress window costs. If you live in a colder climate and weatherstripping is necessary, that can cost between $128 and $402 per window.
Types of Egress Windows
Egress windows cost between $100 and $700 per window. Basement windows must have an opening of at least 5 feet, not including the frame. Prices are different depending on the size and the way the window opens and closes. Single-hung windows can cost around $100 per window, while in-swing or sliding windows can cost upward of $700 per window. Here are some of the most common types of egress windows.
Casement windows are the most common type of egress window. A window is considered a casement window if it has at least one hinge on its side. It opens with a hand crank to increase the amount of fresh air in a room. The outward swing of the window allows it to fit in smaller areas of a basement, which makes it a popular egress window option. Casement windows run between $200 and $500 per window.
Horizontal or Sliding
Horizontal or sliding egress windows open to the left or right, similar to a sliding glass door. Horizontal windows need to be at least 4 feet by 4 feet to be an egress window. It’s common to see sliding windows in larger rooms like family or living rooms due to the sheer size of the window. Sliding egress windows cost between $150 and $700.
Single-hung windows have two panes of glass, and the bottom sash moves up and down while the top sash is stationary. A single-hung window needs to be at least 20 by 24 inches to qualify as an egress window. These windows are usually the most budget-friendly option at $100 to $400 per window.
Both the top and bottom sashes of a double-hung window move up and down. Both sashes can be opened simultaneously to allow more air into the room for circulation, which is ideal in warmer climates. Double-hung windows need to meet the minimum requirements to be an egress window. It’s not uncommon to have double-hung windows 24 to 60 inches high by 28 to 60 inches wide. These windows cost between $250 and $500 per window.
In-swing windows open inward into the room. This is another popular option for smaller spaces like basements. If installing an in-swing window with a window well, the well can be smaller since the window opening does not swing open outward. In-swing egress windows run $350 to $700 per window.
Do All Basements Need Egress Windows?
If you have a bedroom in a basement or use the basement as a living space, the basement needs egress windows for emergency exits. Having an egress window is very important in case you and your family need to evacuate your home as quickly as possible.
When Do You Need an Egress Window?
If you have a finished basement that you use as a TV room, playroom, work space, or bedroom, you need to have egress windows. Egress windows ensure compliance with building codes and establish safe exits from the house in case of a fire or other emergency.
You Have a Finished Basement
An emergency escape route is vital to your family’s safety. If you have a finished basement in your house, you need at least one egress window so you and your family can quickly exit the house in the event of an emergency. If the finished basement is divided into separate living areas, each area needs at least one egress window.
There Is at Least One Bedroom in Your Basement
Any room used for sleeping below the fourth floor of a home needs to have an egress window. It needs to be large enough for an adult or fully equipped first responder to exit and enter the room. An escape route from a bedroom via an egress window is vital if the door exit is blocked.
Other Benefits of Egress Windows
Installing egress windows to your home not only satisfies building codes, but it keeps you and your family safe. Egress windows add to the value of your home while adding extra light and ventilation to the space. Here are a few of the many benefits of installing egress windows in your home.
Natural Lighting and Ventilation
The required large egress windows allow for natural light to flood into an otherwise dark basement space. Since the required size of an egress window needs to be at least 5.7 square feet, the window permits outside air ventilation into what can sometimes be considered the stuffiest area in a house: the basement.
Having egress windows in your home increases the likelihood that you and your family can quickly exit your home if a fire breaks out or there is another emergency.
Not only do egress windows enable you to exit your home quickly, but they also allow for emergency personnel and first responders to enter your home for rescue or treatment. An egress window ensures that everyone in your home has access to a safe emergency exit at all times.
Increased Home Value
Egress windows increase the value of your home, meet building code requirements, and include the space into the overall square footage of your home. If you add an extra bedroom to the basement, you can recoup 10 to 20 times the egress window installation cost if you sell your home.
Egress windows and window wells can help improve the overall design of your home. By using materials such as wood, brick, or stone, you can make window wells a centerpiece of the outside of your home. There are also composite window well liners that imitate the look and design of using natural materials while being budget-friendly. The larger size of egress windows adds to the overall design aesthetic of your home by letting in additional light to create an open and airy atmosphere.
Egress Window Cost: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
It’s recommended to hire egress window installation professionals when it’s time for the project. A botched below-level installation can cost a lot of money to repair if it results in leaking, flooding, and black mold growth. If a window well is improperly excavated and graded, it too can cause flooding and leaking inside the window well and home. There is also the risk of disturbing or destroying plumbing, utility, or telecommunication lines when digging a window well. Cutting holes in the foundation is a task that a professional should do to maintain the foundation’s structural integrity.
How to Save Money on Egress Window Costs
Egress window costs can be high, and the additional costs associated with the project can quickly add up. One way to save money on egress window costs is to install the cheapest window that meets building codes, but there are other ways to save without compromising quality.
- Get multiple estimates. Request at least three estimates from reputable window professionals in your area. Let the window company know that you’re getting multiple estimates—they may be willing to match a lower quote.
- Negotiate prices. Most window companies expect price negotiations and will allow for some price fluctuations with window costs.
- Avoid the extras. Window companies will offer additional features that can add to the overall price of egress window installation. Stick to the basics to save money.
- Install common window types. Unusual window shapes and styles will drive up the price of egress window installation. If possible, avoid custom windows and choose common window types such as casement, single-hung, double-hung, sliding, and in-swing windows.
Questions to Ask Your Egress Window Installer
Asking a professional the right questions about egress window cost can minimize miscommunication, save money, and get the desired results. Here are some questions to ask an egress window professional.
- How long has your window company been in business?
- How much experience do you have installing egress windows?
- Do you have references?
- What are the pros and cons of different egress windows?
- How do you respond to customer complaints?
- How long will the egress window installation take?
- Who will install the egress windows?
- What does the egress window installation process entail?
- What is the cleanup process after installation?
- Who can I call if something goes wrong?
- Do you offer a warranty on both the windows and the installation?
Deciding on egress window installation while staying within your budget can be a daunting process. Here are some frequently asked questions about egress windows to help guide you in your decisions.
Q. Do egress windows add value to the home?
Yes. Not only do egress windows provide a safe escape route from your home, but they also add value by adding square footage. Egress windows bring basement bedrooms and living spaces up to code, and you can recover 10 to 20 times the cost of installation when you decide to sell your home.
Q. How long does it take to install an egress window?
It can take 2 days for the installation, excavation, and framing of an egress window. If the job is more complicated, it can take up to 3 or 4 days.
Q. Is it hard to install an egress window?
Installing an egress window takes the knowledge and experience of window installation professionals. Since the project can involve digging and cutting holes in the foundation, it makes the project challenging and geared toward skilled professionals.
Q. How do I maintain my egress window?
If your basement egress windows are underground, you can check for leaks and proper drainage by using a garden hose. Run water into the window well and see how long it takes to drain. If you find damage around the window and the drainage works properly, check for cracks in the foundation. Regularly check basement egress windows for clogged drains, excess debris, impacted gravel, or a loose seal around the window well. Always direct downspouts away from window wells, clear any excess debris, and maintain the grading of dirt and landscaping for proper drainage.