The International Residential Code Council requires basements used as sleeping quarters to have at least one operable emergency exit. This is where egress windows come in; they provide an escape route from otherwise enclosed spaces like finished basements, cellars, and belowground bedrooms. They also improve the functionality of these spaces by adding ventilation and natural light to otherwise dark, closed-off rooms, allowing you to enjoy the added square footage.
How Much Do Egress Windows Cost?
On average, egress window installation costs between $2,500–$5,500. This cost range is higher than many other residential windows due to more involved installation, added accessories, and potential excavation needs.
Egress openings installed above ground level cost less — typically between $1,000–$2,500 but sometimes as low as $750. Basement egress windows with added glass accessories, stairs, and custom-built well openings are pricier, sometimes reaching up to $7,500.
Regardless of the type of egress window, your specific costs will ultimately depend on the size, materials, and customizations you choose. We’ll cover these factors and more in the following sections.
|Cost Range||Cost Per Window|
|Low-end Cost Range||$1,000–$2,500|
|National Average Cost Range||$2,500–$5,500|
|High-end Cost Range||$5,500–$7,500|
Our cost data comes from RSMeans, a price estimator database for contractors. The estimates included in this article cover average material and installation costs.
What Factors Affect the Cost of Egress Windows?
Next, we’ll cover several things that impact the cost of egress windows. These factors can tack hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your final price, so it’s imperative to understand them beforehand.
The main cost-defining factors for egress windows are:
Cost of Egress Windows by Location
Your egress window’s location will likely be its most significant cost determinant. Aboveground egresses don’t require digging and, therefore, cost similar to a standard window project. On the other hand, below grade egresses typically require excavation, concrete cutting, and well installation, which contribute heavily to higher costs.
|Egress Window Location||Cost Per Window|
- Aboveground egresses don’t require excavation, which generally yields a lower price of $700–$1,500 for materials and installation.
- Below grade egresses, commonly called basement egress windows, are those installed below ground level. They typically cost more — between $2,500 and $5,500 — because of their complex installation requirements.
Window Well Installation Costs
A window well is the excavated area surrounding your egress window. These structures can be as simple or high-end as you’d like, ultimately determining your price point. The main thing to know when budgeting for a window well is that you’ll likely need to hire a land surveyor and general contractor. The surveyor will ensure your property’s foundation and drainage system can handle the installation. Meanwhile, the contractor will remove dirt around the window area, create a new opening, and install the well.
Consider the rough estimates below for the project. Factor in the price of the window and any labor fees for a more realistic picture of your total costs.
|Additional Egress Window Installation Costs||Cost Per Window|
Cost of Egress Windows by Size
One of the most important things to know before installing egress windows is that they must follow certain building regulations. According to the International Residential Code (IRC), egress windows need to adhere to the following size requirements:
- Minimum width of 20 inches
- Minimum height of 24 inches
- Minimum net clear opening of 5.7 square feet
- The bottom of the window can be no more than 44 inches above the floor
Read this New Hampshire Department of Safety bulletin for more egress window specifications. This information will help you shop for an egress window that satisfies building codes and your home design needs.
Below are price estimates for prefab egress windows from popular retailers like Milgard, JELD-WEN, and Pella. These figures only include the costs of the new windows, allowing you to see how size impacts your bill.
|Egress Window Size||Cost Per Window|
|22” X 44”||$390|
|24” X 20”||$390|
|48” X 48”||$460–$655|
|28” X 52”||$540–$800|
|27” X 45”||$670–$725|
|31” X 41”||$800–$900|
|28” X 46”||$800–$900|
|36” X 48”||$910–$1,000|
Cost of Egress Windows by Type
Egress windows are designed to provide emergency exits from the home. In everyday settings, they also improve ventilation in closed-off living spaces like basement bedrooms. For these reasons, egress windows must be operable (able to open and close) and large enough for a person to fit through.
When shopping for egress windows, you can choose from a handful of functional window types, which we’ve detailed below.
|Egress Window Type||Cost Per Window|
- Casement windows are the most common type of egress windows. They swing out on hinges like a door to expose the full opening. This means you can select a smaller size because the glass panes won’t block any area when the window is fully open.
- In-swing windows are casement windows that open inward. Like casements, in-swing windows are ideal for egress openings because they take up less space and open to expose the full window area.
- Sliding windows have sashes that move horizontally on a track. Sliding egress windows must be at least 4-feet-by-4-feet to meet code requirements when fully open.
- Double-hung windows feature two operable sashes that overlap in the middle to allow airflow through the top and bottom sections. Double-hung windows work as egress openings if the open portion of the window meets regulatory size requirements.
- Single-hung windows feature one operable sash that overlaps with a fixed top sash. Like double-hung models, these must have a big enough area when fully open to meet regulations.
Cost of Egress Windows by Material
The cost of any window will fluctuate depending on the framing material you choose. Vinyl is usually the cheapest option due to its lower-cost, automated manufacturing process. Wood costs the most because of more expensive raw materials and sourcing processes. Materials like fiberglass and aluminum tend to have midrange costs.
|Egress Window Material||Cost Per Window|
- Vinyl is the cheapest framing option for your egress windows. The material is customizable and low-maintenance, providing insulation and durability for up to 20 years.
- Aluminum is a midrange-cost framing option for egress windows. Its long-lasting durability makes it an excellent choice for homeowners in severe weather climates.
- Fiberglass is more expensive than vinyl but offers much higher strength and durability for longer. This material is warp, rot, and corrosion-resistant, making it a top choice for egress windows in wet climates.
- Wood is typically the most expensive window material but provides superior insulation and long-lasting beauty. Wood is susceptible to pests, rot, and warping, so keep this in mind if you live in a wet climate.
Additional Costs of Egress Windows
The cost of an egress window is impacted by more than just its materials, location, and size. You must also budget for any window accessories, required building permits, and potential labor costs. These additional fees can drive up your price by hundreds or thousands of dollars but are often necessary for a successful egress window installation.
Your total bill may include some of these factors:
- Window well covers are optional accessories to add to your egress windows. These hard plastic or glass sheets cover the exposed window well to prevent falls, standing water, and debris buildup in the hole. They’re affordable and typically cost under $150.
- Labor and installation will account for a large portion of your egress window costs. Our research indicates that an egress window installation team costs around $237 per hour, or $1,896 daily.
- Required permits: You may need to acquire a building permit to add an egress window to your home. Permits for windows and doors generally fall between $100–$300, so you should factor this amount into your project budget.
How Does the Cost of Egress Windows Compare to Other Window Types?
Egress windows tend to be one of the most expensive windows you can add to your home. The higher price point stems from the labor-intensive installation process these home additions require.
If your basement doesn’t need an emergency escape route or fresh air, you might want to consider a different window style for your home. See price ranges and use cases for the most common window types below:
Is DIY Worth the Cost Savings of Installing Egress Windows?
A safe and successful egress window installation requires careful planning and in-depth knowledge. For this reason, we strongly suggest hiring a professional contractor to install your egress window. Unless you’re an expert DIYer with skills in excavation, concrete cutting, foundation work, and window installation, this job is better left to the pros. A faulty installation could cause serious injury or long-lasting damage to your home.
If you opt for a do-it-yourself egress window installation, take these safety precautions:
- Acquire a building permit to ensure your window meets regulatory requirements.
- Call the 811 digging hotline before excavating any part of your yard. This step can prevent you from hitting underground water, gas, or power lines.
- Install a drainpipe in the egress well to prevent water buildup around your home’s foundation.
Is an Egress Window Worth It for Your Home?
Egress windows generally cost between $2,500–$5,500 for materials, installation, and add-ons. Although these windows come at a higher price point, they have multiple benefits, including improved ventilation, lighting, and home safety. In our opinion, that’s well worth the investment.
Ready to start planning your egress window project? Complete the form below for quotes from top window installers in your area:
FAQs About Egress Window Costs
Do Egress Windows Increase Home Resale Value?
Egress windows can increase your home’s value by transforming belowground square footage into fully finished living spaces. Egress windows are one of the few home improvement projects that recoup the cost of installation and more when you sell your home.
What Are the Benefits of Egress Windows?
The main benefit of egress windows is that they provide a way for people to escape or enter the home in case of an emergency. This feature is especially important for homes in fire-prone areas.
The secondary benefit of egress windows is their ability to add light and airflow to belowground spaces. You can transform your dark, unwelcoming cellar into a cozy finished basement.
Do Egress Windows Weaken the Home’s Foundation?
Improperly installed egress windows can cause serious damage to your home’s foundation. A faulty installation can lead to weakened walls, a shifty foundation, moisture damage, and flooding.
Avoid these disasters by hiring a professional egress window installer for the job. An expert installer will have the tools and expertise necessary to add a safe, functional window to your home without damaging it.