How Much Do Egress Windows Cost?
$2,000 – $4,500 Installed
The cost to install a basement egress window, including installation, is between $2,000 – $4,500. This includes the cost of the window unit, window well, and professional excavation and installation.
Average Cost of Basement Egress Window Installation
Most basement egress windows will cost an average of $3,200 to hire a pro to complete the project. This includes an initial visit to your home to review your needs and assess the area or areas where the egress windows will be installed. After a price quote is given, the contractor will excavate the areas outside the foundation, cut into your foundation or walls, install the basement egress windows per specifications, as well as cleaning up and disposal of any debris after the project is completed. If required, they’ll also pull permits and have the property inspected.
Overview of Egress Window Installation
What are basement egress windows?
Primarily, these windows are a safety feature. In a finished basement where there are living spaces, egress windows serve as a secondary escape route in case of an emergency. They are required by code when the basement has a bedroom. Also note that basements with the lowest edge of a window higher than 44″, FHA will not consider the room the a bedroom regardless. In my case, we have a 5BR home with full-size, above grade windows around the basement section which has 10′ ceilings. Our home is built on a hill – one side of basement is fully exposed from floor to 10′ ceiling, the other side is half-way into the ground at about 5 feet. Due to the bottom window sill in the 2 downstairs bedrooms being 54″ above the floor, the FHA, for lending purposes does not consider these 2 rooms bedrooms. Yep, it surprised us too during the last appraisal.
Basement egress windows are also a great source of natural light in an area that is usually the darkest place in the house.
This basement egress window guide is focused on windows that are partially or fully below grade and require a window well. If your basement windows are above ground level and don’t require a window well, then your window options are the same as in any other part of the home – Double-hung windows or casement windows for example, and the cost to install new windows will be the same as in any other area of the house.
Basement Egress Window Size Requirements
Basement egress windows are first and foremost installed for the safety of those in the house. Because they need to be big enough for an average-size adult to fit through, basement egress windows have certain dimensional requirements.
Here are the required dimensions for a basement egress window from the International Residential Code (IRC):
- Width – at least 20 inches of opening width
- Height – at least 24 inches of opening height
- Windowsill – a sill that is no higher than 44 inches from the inside floor
- Total Opening Space – a basement egress window must have a total opening space of at least 5.7 square feet
Safety Tip: The 44 inch max. height requirement is quite high and might be difficult for some adults and kids to manage. Keep a step-stool near the window for use in an emergency.
If you live in an old or historic home with basement egress windows, it’s possible that the window openings are smaller than the current size requirements. Make sure to measure the size of your basement egress windows to stay up-to-date with safety regulations!
Product and Installation Supplies Cost Details
Basement Egress Window Cost Factors
How much can you expect to pay for a fully installed egress window?
Here are some factors that will play a big role in the final cost of your project.
- Above Ground vs. Below Ground – As previously mentioned, installing a basement window that is above ground level will be significantly cheaper than one that is below ground. A below ground window requires excavation and a window well, which are two of the most expensive parts of a basement egress window.
- Number of Windows – When two or more are added, cost per window drops maybe 20% since the crew and their equipment is already on site.
- Replacement vs. New Installation – If you are replacing a basement egress window, project cost will include just the window unit plus installation. If you’re installing a new basement egress window, you will need to budget for excavation, cutting an opening, installing a window well, and the cost for the window unit itself.
- Size – Bigger window, more cost! This is a minor factor because there isn’t a wide range of sizes – all must meet code requirements, but most are not much bigger than they have to be.
- Window Style – Most egress windows are side-to-side sliding windows. If you choose something like a casement window, cost can be higher.
- Window Well Material – You have a lot of options when it comes to window wells. The materials range from galvanized steel as the most affordable option, to hand-laid brick as the most expensive option.
- Add a Ladder – We recommend that you choose a window well with built-in steps or ladder or that you add one as an accessory. Getting out of the window well might be just as important as getting out of the house in an emergency.
Retail Egress Window Costs
An online search at the Home Depot and similar sellers yields these average cost ranges.
- $500 – $1,200 | Vinyl Egress Windows
- $40 – $300 | Steel Window Well (based on height of the well)
- $25 – $40 | Plastic Window Well Cover
- $75 – $200 | Hammer Drill and Masonry Bit
- $3 – $6 | Masonry Screws
Improvenet lists the starting cost of an egress window at about $200. It’s possible to find them at that price, but because an egress window must be secure and weather-tight, given its location, we would avoid anything that cheap. On the other hand, Home Advisor suggests a top cost of about $700, but a quick look at Home Depot’s selection shows that the cost of egress windows can easily top that for anything with a little style.
Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time
Permits and Inspection Cost
- $120 – $200 | You need a building permit in order to begin installing a new basement egress window when the foundation is altered. Because there are particular safety requirements that must be met, your project needs to be approved beforehand.
If you are replacing a pre-existing egress window, you probably don’t need a permit. We wouldn’t bother, frankly. If you’re hiring a contractor, the installer will know local codes and requirements.
Related Costs and Installation Time
1-3 Days | Installation time depends on the extent of your project. An average basement egress window installation that includes excavation, well installation, and window installation, will take 1-3 days for a professional to complete.
- 1 Day | Excavation and Concrete Cutting
- Up to 1 Day | Window and Well Installation
- A few hours | Backfilling Around the Well
If the schedule flows smoothly, 2 days is likely the maximum needed. When several subcontractors are hired, then scheduling conflicts might cause delays of a day or two.
If you are just replacing a window, the project can probably be completed in about a day.
Costs of Related Basement Projects
We’ve compiled a list of other projects related to basement egress windows. Check it out!
Basement Waterproofing – If you’ve got a leaky basement, and an excavator is already hired for the egress window, this is a good time to expose the entire foundation and put an end to the leads. The average price for pro basement waterproofing is about $10 per square foot for the “good stuff,” a seal that will last for many decades.
Basement French Drain – Looking for a solution to a basement with flooding problems? Consider installing a French drain system. It is one of the most effective ways to keep your basement dry. For $45 – $70 per foot, you can install a French drain and sump pump.
Sump Pump Replacement – Water in the basement is a big issue, which is why all of these are related to staying dry. Replacing a sump pump in the basement costs around $450 to $750, depending on whether you do it yourself or hire a plumber to help out.
DIY or Hire a Pro?
Now that you have an idea how much your basement egress window project will cost, it’s time to decide how you want to handle the installation. Are you going to tackle this one yourself, or hire a professional installer? As a labor-intensive home improvement project, there are savings to be enjoyed by doing it yourself – especially if the job includes opening a new hole for the window. The site How Much pegs labor at around $1,000, and that’s fair. Equipment rental costs might push total labor-related costs higher than that.
The most important factor to consider is if you are simply replacing a basement egress window, or building a new window. These are very different home improvement projects!
Replacement: A window replacement can be a great DIY project, because it saves you money on the installation, and you get to learn a helpful skill.
New: On the other hand, if you are installing a basement egress window where there wasn’t one before, hiring a pro is the only sane choice. A new DIY egress window installation would require renting a small excavator or hand-digging the well, renting a concrete cutter or buying a handheld concrete saw ($275) – and then cutting a “perfect” sized rough opening. From there, the window installation would be relatively easy. Then, the well needs to be secured to the foundation, requiring the use of a hammer drill and mortar bit to create pilot holes.
If you DIY a new egress window installation, you’ll earn every penny you save.