How Much Do Egress Windows Cost? (2024 Guide)
Typical Cost Range: $2,500–$5,000
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Egress windows are often installed as an emergency exit in below-ground areas, providing natural light and airflow. Many homeowners install them in basements and attics. Basement egress windows cost $2,500–$5,000* on average, while above-ground windows are more affordable.
Our guide looks at what you can expect to pay for egress windows, which factors affect cost, and how to save on installation.
*We averaged cost figures in this article based on multiple home improvement sites, including Fixr and Window Price Guide.
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What Is an Egress Window?
An egress window looks just like a regular window but opens fully to become a secondary emergency exit. You typically find egress windows in finished basements, where they add natural lighting and a striking exterior trim in addition to acting as a fire escape.
Egress Window Requirements
Many municipalities’ building codes actually require egress windows in livable spaces below the fourth floor. Codes require the window be a certain size so that an adult can exit safely and swiftly. The International Residential Code (IRC) sets the qualifications for an egress window to be considered an emergency escape.
The area directly outside the egress window must also meet specific requirements, such as being installed below ground level (also called “below grade”) and including a window well. A window well is a U-shaped barrier made of ribbed metal or plastic. It prevents water from pooling around the window and allows more access to the emergency exit.
The IRC requires these measurements for egress windows:
- Minimum height: 24 inches
- Minimum width: 20 inches
- Minimum opening: 5.7 square feet above ground or 5 square feet below ground
- Maximum distance from the indoor floor to the window base: 44 inches
What Affects How Much Egress Windows Costs?
How much an egress window costs depends primarily on the following factors:
- Glass quality: Windows that are double-paned or made of coated glass cost more.
- Location: Egress windows installed above ground cost less than those that must be partially or totally below ground
- Window type: Casement windows are the most popular, but other types are available that come at different price points.
Multipane glass increases a window’s resistance to shattering and cracking. It also adds noise reduction and helps with ventilation and heat exchange. Low-emissivity (low-e) glass adds even more energy efficiency, using a transparent glaze that blocks more ultraviolet (UV) rays than standard glass. Incorporating argon gas between the panes adds further insulation and reduces heat transfer, helping to preserve your home’s internal temperature.
You can also opt for tempered glass, which is heat-treated for additional strength. Consider installing a top-rated storm window for added protection if you live in an area that experiences harsh weather.
Below is a list of different glass options and their average costs per window*:
- Argon gas between panes: $375–$2,720
- Double-pane glass: $280–$1,500
- Low-e glass: $350–$2,680
- Storm windows: $90–$400
- Single-pane glass: $100–$350
- Tempered glass: $150–$3,000
- Triple-pane glass: $300–$2,700
*Note that the prices listed in these sections are for individual aspects of the window. Additional materials and professional installation will increase your project cost, as will adding a window well if installing the window in a basement.
Whether the window is installed above-ground or below-ground affects cost significantly. Windows that sit below ground require excavation and soil shoring to preserve drainage, increasing labor costs. While less common, skylight egress windows are more expensive because they’re harder and more time-consuming to install.
Bedroom (above ground)
Living room (above ground)
Basement (below ground)
Cost by Window Type
Casement windows are the most common egress window type. They’re hinged on one side and open with a hand crank. The entire window swings outward like a door.
Double-hung windows have two sashes that can be moved up and down to open a portion of the window. Because only half of the window can be open at a time, double-hung egress windows must be a minimum of 4 feet—twice the height of the code requirements for an emergency exit opening.
Casement windows that open inward are called in-swing windows. They’re popular for egress windows, but the interior space around them must remain clear so they can open
Single-hung windows are similar to double-hung windows, except only the lower sash moves. These are typically the least expensive windows, but they have the same problem as double-hung windows: They must be twice as tall as the legal requirement.
Sliding windows open horizontally. Again, this means they must be twice as wide as the requirement of 20 inches to create an opening large enough to meet building codes.
Additional Cost Factors
You’ll save on labor if you install several egress windows at once. Although building codes only require one per bedroom, adding additional windows will increase the space’s fresh air and natural light. If your basement is divided into more than one bedroom, you’ll need one egress window per room.
Installing an egress window typically requires a building permit and an excavation permit for below-ground windows. These can cost $50–$200 depending on your location and the work’s extent. A professional contractor will be able to get the proper permits for you. They typically charge $40–$100 per hour.
Egress windows are more functional than decorative, so most homeowners opt for prefabricated versions. These cost less and are easier and cheaper to install. You can customize your egress window for a higher cost if you feel creative or have an unusual space to fit the window. Keep the code requirements for an egress window opening in mind, though.
If you’re converting a previously unfinished room into a livable space, there may already be a window that doesn’t meet code requirements. You can often remove the old window, cut the hole larger, and install a new window in its place. Window replacement costs are higher if more labor is required. This project can cost as little as $200 if no resizing is needed to more than $1,000 to dig a larger well.
When you install an egress window, you have to pay for both the window materials and the corrugated metal or plastic that creates the window well. Some egress windows also include step ladders and further ventilation to improve safety and performance. The more materials required, the higher the cost.
You’ll need to pay for window removal if you want to convert an existing window into an egress window. Window replacement costs about $180–$409 per window, but the type of window being removed and its accessibility can increase or decrease this price. We recommend reading our guide to window replacement costs to calculate potential window removal costs.
You can install egress windows anywhere in your home, but basement egress windows tend to cost more than other locations due to the addition of the window well.
Your home’s address also influences the project’s cost. For example, a window installer has to install the egress window at a different depth depending on your water table level. The deeper the window must go, the higher the cost. Additionally, prices will be higher in areas with higher costs of living. However, a window installer may charge about 50 cents per mile if they have to travel to a remote location.
Egress windows need to serve as emergency exits, so the area around the window must have enough space to allow an adult to climb out. You’ll need to excavate a window well for below-ground egress windows. This job may require a land surveyor and structural engineer to ensure your foundation remains secure and your yard has proper drainage. These professionals charge about $500 per visit.
Excavation usually costs $50–$300. You’ll also need an egress window well kit, costing $1,600–$3,000. This kit is typically made of fiberglass or metal. It has all the materials you need to install egress windows, including the window itself. You can also purchase the parts a la carte. High-end kits are often made to look like stone or brick.
Below are the prices for the various items needed for window well installation.
Window Well Installation Cost by Material
Window well cover
Professional vs. DIY Installation
You may be tempted to save on labor costs by installing an egress window yourself. Here’s what you can expect from both do-it-yourself (DIY) and professional window installation.
Professional Basement Egress Window Installation
DIY Egress Window Installation
Installing an above-ground egress window is tricky if you don’t have an understanding of masonry and framing. You need to first determine if the wall you plan to install on is load-bearing. If it is, it may be necessary to install a header above the window on the interior framing and a lintel to span the masonry exterior. The job can get complicated quickly if you’re not familiar with this type of work.
Here are the basic steps if you do choose to attempt the project on your own:
- Double-check the window size and operation requirements, then measure and mark the space on the interior wall where the window will go.
- Drill a pilot hole through the wall and measure and mark the exterior wall.
- Build an interior support frame out from the wall studs and hang plastic sheeting for easy cleanup.
- Cut around the inside perimeter with a concrete saw, first as a shallow groove to follow your measurements, then halfway through the wall.
- Go to the exterior wall and complete the cuts there.
- Knock out the concrete blocks, smooth the sides of the hole, and patch holes with concrete.
- Install the wooden window frame and caulk to seal it.
- Remove the support frame and lift the window into place, installing it according to manufacturer instructions.
How To Save on Egress Windows
Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire a professional, here are some tips for affordable window replacement.
- Install a prefabricated window instead of a customized one.
- Choose basic models and features.
- Pick a simple window well kit instead of one designed to look like a more expensive material.
- Get at least three estimates from professional contractors and ask about price matching.
Questions To Ask Your Egress Window Installer
Are Egress Windows Worth it?
Egress windows provide many benefits. They can increase natural sunlight in your attic or basement. They also allow you to convert your basement into a livable space for more bedrooms, which can increase your home’s value by an estimated $20,000, according to home inspection company Home Inspection Geeks. Most importantly, egress windows increase your home’s safety, providing an exit in case of emergency.
A finished basement or attic can increase your living space, raising your home’s value. These projects require installing egress windows for added safety, natural light, and airflow. An experienced DIYer can likely install an above-ground egress window, but we recommend hiring a professional for below-ground or more complex projects.
The best way to see what your egress window project will cost is to get a quote from a reputable window company. We recommend getting a few quotes so you can compare prices and get the best deal. Also review the company’s warranty coverage and customer reviews before making your decision.
FAQ About Egress Window Cost
Are egress windows worth it?
Egress windows can increase natural sunlight in your attic or basement. They also allow you to convert your basement into a livable space for more bedrooms, which can increase your home’s value by an estimated $20,000, according to home inspection company Home Inspection Geeks. Most importantly, egress windows increase your home’s safety, providing an exit in case of emergency.
What is the cheapest type of egress window?
A single-hung window with single-pane glass is typically the cheapest type of egress window.
What are the benefits and disadvantages of installing egress windows?
The biggest benefit of installing an egress window is having an exit if an emergency occurs, such as a fire or flood. Egress windows also allow light and airflow into otherwise encased spaces. The only disadvantages of egress windows are the financial investment and potential hassle of ensuring your windows are up to code and meet size requirements. These codes exist for a reason, however, and the financial investment is worth it if the window helps your family in the event of an emergency.
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