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How Much Does It Cost To Install Egress Windows?

National Average Change Location | View National
$3,228
Typical Range
$1,996 - $4,477
Low End
$550
High End
$6,900

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Cost Factors

The biggest cost variants will be if custom excavation is needed and how many windows are being installed. On average, homeowners report the cost to install egress windows to be $2,218, with $400 being the lowest and $4,900 being the highest reported cost.

What is an Egress Window?

Egress is a building code term that relates to the ability to exit a room during a hazardous situation such as a fire. Most applications apply to a basement area that will be finished for living space, typically a bedroom. Older homes and basements with low windows are difficult to finish due to the window size. An egress window solves this problem by complying with fire codes. An opening is cut into the basement wall to insert a window. Size requirements will vary from state to municipality.

The IRC (International Residential Code) criteria for egress windows are:

  1. Window wells should have a length (projection) of 36 inches and a depth of 9 square feet
  2. Ladders are required for wells deeper than 44 inches
  3. Minimum width of window openings are 20 inches with a height of 24 inches
  4. The "net" clear opening should be at least 5.7 square feet with a maximum sill height above the floor at 44 inches.

Egress applications

Above-grade: A sloping yard away from the house will usually call for an above-grade window. The window well size is determined by the size of the window and the application. The foundation should have an area excavated for an individual to climb out of the window and clear away from the house with ease. This is usually within a 3-foot radius.

Below-grade: Many basement applications on older homes require a below-grade installation. This is cut into the block or concrete wall. A window well usually is capped in this situation due to the proximity to the foundation's soil line to prevent moisture migration.

Bedrooms: Egress is the initial requirement for any sleeping area. Every bedroom in the house will need an egress window in order to be compliant with a building permit.

Living Areas: Living rooms and family rooms in basements typically do not have to have egress according to most ordinances. However, some individual townships and states may have strict requirements regarding egress for any living space. Walk-out basements will typically have a sliding glass door which counts for egress in this case. Living room windows can be quite attractive and have additional trim to provide light in the room.

Egress Window Styles

Casement: Casement egress windows swing open or crank outward. This single application is considered one of the more simple to install. Vinyl and fiberglass make up the bulk of windows that are used below-grade due to the low maintenance requirements. Casement windows will need to have enough opening in a window well to prepare for both the window and person exiting the room.

Horizontal Sliding: Horizontal sliding windows are larger windows that require a larger opening. They are typically used in larger bedrooms or living areas due to the large amount of light they can bring in. The window slides are set on a track horizontally and usually latches in the middle.

Double Hung vs. Single Hung: Double and single hung windows may appear very similar. The difference is in the sash. A double hung window can be raised or lowered, making them ideal for cleaning. A single hung window is fixed at the sash. The lower window can tilt out for operation or cleaning. A single hung window is more difficult to open if there is debris in the way. They usually work best in living room or family room applications.

Advantages

Adding egress can greatly improve safety in enclosed spaces. Even if a basement is not going to have a bedroom, it may be wise to have an escape route. A below- or at-grade window adds considerable value to the equity of a home. Most home buyers are looking for homes that are built well and maintain adequate permits for any remodels on the home. A proper egress in the basement eliminates the worries of homeowners and buyers. The insulation of the windows also reduces energy bills of heating newly conditioned spaces.

Egress windows come in a variety of colors and styles. Standard basement windows are plain, but an egress window can have the same materials and styles of any other window in the home. They can make a basement feel no different than the main-grade level of the home.

Egress windows bring in extra light and ventilation on warmer days. The high insulated panes can also regulate the humidity and temperature of a basement prone to drafts. Basements are closed environments that differ radically from the rest of the home. An egress window can allow circulation to keep the room from feeling stale.

Disadvantages

A regular window install can be done by any do-it-yourself individual with the right tools. Egress windows require much more planning. They require excavation, permits and clearance from city utilities to avoid hitting gas or electric lines. This also add to the labor costs considerably over a simple window installation.

An improper installation can make below-grade basements worse during heavy rain or humidity. Ongoing maintenance will need to be done annually to ensure there is a proper seal. Grading is extremely important when installing the well to the window. Without proper drainage, the window well can simply trap water and slowly leak into the living space.

Proper installation may be best used in tandem with a basement finishing project to reduce the headache of contractors and permits. Some ordinances may grandfather in rules due to the age of the home. The code provisions are updated very often and can be confusing for homeowners. This will require a contractor or possibly an engineer to ensure the structural integrity of the window in the basement. Cracked or bowed walls can negate any installation.

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Julia Steele More than 1 year ago
Very much so.  The budgeting help as it relates to the egress windows are really helpful.  Have to start project and compare prices.  Will keep you posted
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Still have to do this project.

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How do we get this data?

  1. Homeowners visit HomeAdvisor.com to find a top-rated pro to complete their home improvement project or repair.

  2. Once their projects are completed, the members log in to their accounts and complete a short cost survey.

  3. After compiling and organizing the data, we report it back to you.