“Egress” is just another way of saying “exit,” and that’s exactly what egress windows allow you to do. These windows must be large enough to provide an escape route for an average adult in an emergency.

According to most building codes, every bedroom below a home’s fourth floor must have an egress window. But most homeowners think about installing egress windows when they’re finishing an attic or basement bedroom. Basement egress windows cost an average of $2,500–$5,000 for materials and labor, though above-ground windows cost a bit less.*

This guide covers the various factors affecting cost and provides saving tips.

*We averaged cost figures in this article based on multiple home improvement sites, including Fixr, Angi, and Window Price Guide.

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 windows come in multiple window styles, but simple casement and transom windows are the most common.

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Window Replacement

Window replacement typically costs $234–$1,224 per window, depending on the window type.

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Window Repair

Window repair typically costs $100–$600, but it can vary based on the type of repair.

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Window Cleaning Cost

Window cleaning typically costs $150–$300 for an entire home.


Egress Window Requirements

The International Residential Code (IRC) sets the qualifications for an egress window to be considered an emergency escape. Egress windows are required in all finished basements before you can legally convert them into a living space. 

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.

What Size Qualifies as an Egress Window?

Below are the required measurements for egress windows according to the IRC:

  • 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

Egress Window Cost Breakdown

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.

Glass Quality

Like other replacement windows, egress windows come in single-, double-, and triple-pane options. More panes means more sound insulation and energy efficiency, though double-pane is the standard.

Multipane glass increases your 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*: 

  • Storm windows: $90–$400
  • Single-pane glass: $100–$350
  • Tempered glass: $150–$3,000
  • Double-pane glass: $280–$1,500
  • Triple-pane glass: $300–$2,700
  • Low-e glass: $350–$2,680
  • Argon gas between panes: $375–$2,720

*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 will be 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. Skylight egress windows, while less common, are more expensive because they’re harder and more time-consuming to install.

Bedroom (above ground)$900–$3,000
Living room (above ground)$900–$3,000
Basement (below ground)$2,500–$5,300

Cost by Window Type

Egress windows also vary in price depending on their style. These are the most common types:

Window TypePrice

Casement Windows

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

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 need to be a minimum of 4 feet—twice the height of the code requirements for an emergency exit opening.

In-Swing Windows

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

Single-hung windows are similar to double-hung windows except that 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

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.

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Factors Affecting Egress Window Cost

Here are some other variables that can contribute to egress window installation costs.

Number of Window Installations

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.

Permits and Labor

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 the work’s extent. A professional contractor will be able to get the proper permits for you. They typically charge $40–$100 per hour.

Prefab vs. Custom

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.

Window Replacement

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. 

Window Removal

You’ll have 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. 

Window Location

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. 

Geographic Location

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.

Window Well Installation

Egress windows need to serve as emergency exits, so the area around the window must have enough space to allow a person 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. 

The 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.

Here are the prices for the various items needed for window well installation.

Window Well Installation Cost by Material

Well barrier$400–$2,100
Window well cover$280–$1,000
Entire kit$1,600–$3,000

Professional vs. DIY

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

When you cut a hole for a basement egress window, you cut a hole in your home’s foundation. Mistakes can cause flooding, mold, water damage, or structural instability. We highly recommend hiring a professional to install a below-ground egress window to avoid these problems. An experienced contractor will manage all aspects of the installation process, from excavation to fitting the well and cover.

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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:

  1. Double-check the window size and operation requirements, then measure and mark the space on the interior wall where the window will go.
  2. Drill a pilot hole through the wall and measure and mark the exterior wall.
  3. Build an interior support frame out from the wall studs and hang plastic sheeting for easy cleanup.
  4. Cut around the inside perimeter with a concrete saw, first as a shallow groove to follow your measurements, then halfway through the wall.
  5. Go to the exterior wall and complete the cuts there.
  6. Knock out the concrete blocks, smooth the sides of the hole, and patch holes with concrete.
  7. Install the wooden window frame and caulk to seal it.
  8. Remove the support frame and lift the window into place, installing it according to manufacturer instructions.

Signs That You Need to Install an Egress Window

Not all rooms need egress windows, but here are some circumstances when they’re necessary.

  • You want to use the basement or attic as a bedroom.
  • You or your family spend a lot of time in your finished basement.
  • The room needs better lighting or ventilation.
  • You want to increase the square footage of your home’s habitable space.

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

It’s important to find a reputable, trustworthy window contractor. Here are some questions you can ask the installer to gauge their experience and qualifications.

  • What experience and certifications do you have?  
  • Can you provide any examples of your previous work?
  • What is the estimated cost of the installation and what does it include?
  • Is that estimate binding?
  • What window brand are you going to use?
  • How much will the weather affect the work?
  • Who will supervise the work?
  • What should I do if something goes wrong

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.

Our Conclusion

A finished basement or attic can increase your living space, raising your home’s value. These projects require installing egress windows, which provide emergency exits and better light and airflow. An experienced DIYer can install an above-ground egress window, but we recommend hiring a professional for below-ground or more complex projects.

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FAQ About Egress Window Cost

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