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Installing an egress window costs an average of $4,000 but can range from $2,500 to $5,500. An egress window provides natural light in spaces such as a finished basement or attic. It also adds a safe exit in the event of an emergency and is required by law for some spaces. Factors such as window size, type, and material affect where your price falls within the cost range. We’ll go over these factors in more detail to help you estimate your project cost.
What Is an Egress Window?
An egress window is a wall opening that serves as a secondary emergency exit. Almost any window type that opens can be an egress window. Some casement, awning, and tilt-turn windows may not qualify, but you should be able to tell the window manufacturer you need to meet egress requirements and they’ll direct you to the correct window type and size.
Building codes require egress windows to allow for safe evacuation in the event of a fire or other emergency. These windows are typically installed in finished basements or attics, but some areas require them in all bedrooms. Without an egress window, these areas may not be considered legal bedrooms, which can significantly your home sale price.
Egress Window Installation Cost Factors
A few major factors determine your egress window project cost. These include window size and type, glass quality, and your area’s labor prices.
Cost by Window Type
The type of egress window you choose can impact your project’s total installation cost. The most common type is a casement window. It typically consists of two separate panes of glass and a hand crank for operation. Other common egress window types include sliding windows, in-swing windows, single-hung, and double-hung windows.
|Type of Egress Window||Average Cost|
Learn more about each type of window below:
- Casement Windows: Casement windows crank outward, making the room feel bigger and airier. They’re generally more affordable than other types of egress windows with an average cost of $200 to $500 for prefab options. Custom-built options cost more.
- Double-hung Windows: Single-hung and double-hung windows are similar in design, but double-hung windows are generally more expensive at $250 to $500. Double-hung windows have two movable sashes–or the frame that holds the glass and opens—whereas single-hung windows have one movable sash and one fixed.
- In-Swing Windows: In-swing windows operate similarly to casement windows except they swing in rather than out. These windows are a good choice for older basements with small window openings, but keep in mind that small window openings may not be considered egress windows if they don’t meet the size requirements.. In-swing windows generally cost $350 to $700.
- Single-Hung Windows: Single-hung windows provide added security on first floors or basements. They cost about $100 to $400 depending on your chosen brand.
- Sliding Windows: Sliding windows have two separate panes of glass that operate like a sliding glass door. Because they must be 4-feet-by-4-feet to count as an egress window, sliding windows work best in large rooms. This type of window costs $150 to $700.
Cost by Window Size
The International Residential Code (IRC) sets egress window size requirements. They must be at least 20 inches wide and 24 inches high. Window sashes must be no higher than 44 inches from the inside floor. If the egress window is in the basement, it must provide 5.7 square feet of opening space—large enough for an average-size adult to fit through.
Larger windows typically cost more to install than smaller windows, though there are some exceptions. Homeowners also pay an estimated additional $700 if they need to cut a new window opening, or $150 to $200 if they have to enlarge an existing opening.
Cost of Labor
Labor makes up a substantial portion of any home improvement project’s total cost. Adding an egress window is no exception. Labor cost is based on factors such as installation complexity, window type, and the contractor’s experience.
On average, labor costs can range from $40 to $100 per hour. This means that labor to install an egress window can range from $100 to over $1,000 per window. Labor costs can be higher if the window is being installed in an older home or if it requires additional work.
Glass quality can affect an egress window’s cost. The higher the glass quality, the more costly.
|Glass Quality||Average Cost|
Glass comes in single-pane, double-pane, or triple-pane options ranging from $50 to $1,000 per window. Single-pane windows have only one layer of glass, whereas double- and triple-pane glass have multiple layers and often include gas between panes for additional insulation and energy efficiency. Double-pane options are the most popular because they’re moderately priced and reasonably effective at blocking sound and drafts.
Adding additional features, such as tempered or laminated glass, will increase your cost per window. Opting for low-emissivity (low-e) glass—which helps reduce UV light and heat transfer—can increase your total cost by 10%. You may also need to weatherstrip your new windows for $130 to $400 per window, depending on your location and climate.
Additional Cost Considerations
When calculating the cost of egress window installation, you’ll need to consider additional factors such as materials, location, permits, and more.
Above-Ground vs. Below-Ground
An above-ground window is placed above or at ground-level; a below-ground window is placed slightly underground. Most basement installations are below-ground, meaning your contractor will need to build a window well to let light in and provide space for a safe exit. This costs $50 to $200 per cubic yard. You may also need a window well cover to prevent moisture and keep out pests, costing around $600.
Cost of Materials
Installing an egress window requires additional materials such as window frames, insulation, caulking, and flashing. Frame materials vary widely in price and quality. For example, a prefabricated vinyl frame may cost just $100 while a custom, high-end wood frame can exceed $2,000.
Your home’s location can also play a role in project cost. If your water table levels vary, the egress window will have to be installed at a deeper or more shallow depth. Additionally, labor and material costs may be higher in more populated areas.
Old Window Removal
If you’re replacing an old window, you’ll need to factor in the cost to remove it. Companies charge for the labor involved to do this as well as the cost of responsible glass disposal. This usually costs around $200.
Installing an egress window usually requires a building permit because these windows help determine your home’s safety. If the contractor needs to excavate the area to install a window well, you may also need a permit for that.
Some states or municipalities may require an excavation permit based on the grade of ground under the window. For example, floors below-grade may need excavation. Permit fees vary from city to city and state to state, but usually run from $50 to $200.
Prefab vs. Custom Windows
Prefabricated (prefab) windows are generally more affordable than custom windows, but if you have an irregularly sized opening or want specific window features, custom windows may be necessary. Prefab windows can cost $100 to $800 for materials only, while custom egress windows can run from $500 to $2,000.
Resizing vs. Cutting Window Opening
Window replacement costs depend in part on whether your specific project requires you to cut into your wall. You may need to resize or cut your existing window opening in order to accommodate your new egress window. If you’re installing a new window, you’ll have to cut a wall opening and possibly install a window well. This can increase labor costs significantly.
- Resizing a window opening costs an average of $150 to $200.
- Cutting a new window opening costs an average of $750.
Professional vs. DIY Egress Window Installation
As with most remodeling projects, homeowners can hire a professional or attempt a do-it-yourself (DIY) installation. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages.
Professional Egress Window Installation
Egress window installation involves more than just cutting a hole in the wall and fitting a new window. It requires specialized knowledge and hands-on experience to ensure the window is properly sealed and secure. A professional window installer will also have the necessary tools and equipment to complete the job safely and efficiently.
If you have to install a window well, add a window well cover, or dig below ground, you definitely need a professional’s guidance. Large-scale projects may even call for a land surveyor or structural engineer. This may increase your project costs and lengthen your installation time.
Hiring a professional also gives you access to higher quality materials and workmanship, and usually includes warranties or guarantees to protect your investment.
DIY Egress Window Installation
You may be able to DIY an egress window installation if you’re working above ground, don’t have to cut into your wall, and are essentially swapping out an old window for an exact replica. Anything more complicated calls for professional assistance.
Installing an egress window is a complex job that involves several steps and potential pitfalls, so it’s best to research the installation process thoroughly before attempting it yourself. You can injure yourself or damage your home or its foundation. You may also have difficulty obtaining permits or complying with local regulations. If you attempt your own installation, educate yourself on local building codes and use caution when handling heavy duty tools.
Benefits of Egress Windows
- Increased safety: Egress windows are designed to provide a safe exit for occupants in case of an emergency. An egress window’s larger size also makes it easier for firefighters and other emergency personnel to enter the home.
- Improved natural light and airflow: Installing an egress window can significantly improve the amount of natural light and fresh air circulating in your home. It will also help reduce energy costs by eliminating the need to use artificial lighting during the day.
- Added home value: An egress window can add value to your home, as it improves safety, lighting, and airflow. It’s also a relatively cost-effective way to improve your home’s aesthetics, and you may be able to declare it an additional legal bedroom.
- Improved accessibility: If you have any mobility issues or need to accommodate visitors with accessibility needs, an oversized egress window is an ideal solution. Egress windows provide easier access to the home from outside and a convenient, ground-level entry point for people with limited mobility.
Do I Need an Egress Window?
You must install a “means of egress” (an unobstructed exit path) in any room that’s used for sleeping or living in, or in any attic or basement with habitable space. International Residential Code sets the standards for what counts as an egress window. Generally speaking, it must be large enough for an average adult to fit through comfortably in case of emergency.
How to Hire a Professional
Consider the following factors when hiring a professional to install your egress window.
- Do your research: Make sure your potential contractor is licensed and insured. Gather references from family, friends, and acquaintances. Read online reviews.
- Get multiple quotes: Get quotes from each contractor you’re considering. This will help you determine a fair project price. Be wary of anyone who charges significantly more or less than the others.
- Ask questions: Before signing a contract, make sure you understand all included costs. Ask questions about any additional charges or fees, and make sure they’re clearly spelled out in the contract.
- Get a timeline: Establish a timeline with your contractor, and be sure they stick to it.
- Set expectations: Sit down with your contractor and discuss any expectations that you have for the job. Ensure these are also spelled out in the contract.
How to Keep Your Project Cost-Effective
- Purchase prefabricated egress windows, which are typically cheaper than custom-made models.
- Shop around for materials such as glass, flashing, and window frames. Ask about any deals or discounts on certain materials.
- Compare quotes from different contractors to get the best price (without skimping on quality).
- Hire an experienced contractor to ensure a long-lasting installation and investment.
We recommend hiring a professional windows contractor to install an egress window. A professional has the experience, tools, and training to ensure that the installation is done correctly, quickly, and safely. They’ll also consider your local building codes and other factors such as permits, location, and window size. Finally, they can help determine the glass quality, labor costs, and other materials needed for the job.
Egress Window Cost FAQ
How much does an egress window cost to install?
According to HomeAdvisor, an egress window costs $2,544 to $5,302 to install. The U.S. national average is $3,904.
How much does it cost to install an egress window in a basement?
Installing a basement egress window costs between $3,000 and $7,000. Various factors affect this number, such as material, house location, and window size.
Can I install an egress window myself?
It’s possible to install an egress window yourself, but it’s not recommended. Before you begin, make sure you have the required tools and permits for the job.
What is the purpose of an egress window?
An egress window is part of regulation and building code requirements. Any room used for sleeping or as living space must have a window you can exit through. Egress windows allow you and your family to get out of the house in case of an emergency. They’re also a means for firefighters to get in.
What are the benefits of egress windows?
An egress window lets you legally convert an unfinished basement into an additional, more comfortable living area. This can also significantly increase your property’s resale value.