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The word egress can be defined as "to emerge" and "a path out." This is the main function of egress windows in any home. These windows are installed in specific locations in a dwelling to provide an emergency exit in case of a fire or any other accident. These windows must meet specific requirements and be the correct size to be termed as an egress window. Residential building codes require at least one of these windows, and including one must be a primary consideration during construction and design.
The national average cost of installing a prefabricated below-ground egress window can range from $2,500 to $5,300. Most homeowners pay around $3,750 for one casement prefabricated one installed below ground. Costs can be as low as $900 for one prefabricated, single-hung egress window installed above ground. Prices can go as high as $8,000 for one custom awning egress window installed below ground.
|Egress Window Prices|
|National average cost||$3,750|
The cost of these types of windows has more to do with the type of window than the window’s size. To be a true egress window, it must be at least 20 inches x 24 inches. The window must be large enough for an adult to escape outside in an emergency. The table below reflects the cost for various sizes of single-hung egress windows. Casement windows 1 are the most popular egress window. The cost does not include installation.
|Size||Cost (Only Materials)|
|20 inches x 24 inches||$300|
|30 inches x 36 inches||$450|
|36 inches x 24 inches||$500|
|36 inches x 36 inches||$550|
|36 inches x 48 inches||$600|
|48 inches x 46 inches||$700|
|60 inches x 46 inches||$830|
Many types are available. All of them can be opened wide enough for an adult to climb through. When purchasing one, the type that you choose is one of the biggest pricing factors. The table below reflects the cost of a single window. These amounts do not include the cost of installation, ranging from $1,500 to $2,500 for installations below ground (basement).
|Window Type||Cost (Only Materials)|
|Single-Hung||$100 - $400|
|Horizontal/Sliding||$150 - $700|
|Casement||$200 - $500|
|Double-Hung||$250 - $500|
|In-Swing||$350 - $700|
|Awning||$600 - $800|
|Custom||$4,000 - $6,500|
Single-hung egress windows have two panes of glass. The top half is designed to be stationary while the bottom half moves up and down. These windows are best suited for large rooms and living spaces. Single-hung window size varies depending on the size of the existing window. But it must be at least 20 inches x 24 inches to be a true egress window. Single-hung models are the least expensive of egress models and cost between $100 and $400.
Horizontal egress windows are also known as sliding egress windows because they slide open like a sliding glass door. Sliding models must be at least 4 feet x 4 feet to qualify as a true egress window. Because they are so large, they are ideal for the largest rooms in your home, including living and family rooms. Horizontal egress windows cost between $150 and $700.
Casement windows for the basement are the most common egress windows in American homes. An egress window is considered a casement when it has at least one hinge 2 at its side, which allows it to swing open like a door. These are popular designs because, unlike other egress types, the outward swing of a casement window allows them to fit in small areas. For this reason, they are the most popular type of egress window for basements. Casement windows cost between $200 and $500.
Double-hung egress windows are identical to single-hung models with one important difference. Both the top and bottom panes (called sashes) move independently. With double-hung windows, you can have both sashes open simultaneously, allowing the full length of the window to open. Double-hung windows must be quite tall to meet the minimum window requirements. It’s not unusual to see double-hung models around 28 inches to 60 inches wide and 24 inches to 60 inches high. Double-hung egress windows have a cost range between $250 and $500.
Like their name suggests, in-swing windows are distinct from other models because they open inward. This feature makes them a favorite for sub-floor spaces like cellars and basements. A major advantage to models that swing in is that you can have a smaller window well because the window doesn’t have to clear the well sides when open. The International Building Code (IBC) stipulates that window wells 3 have a minimum of 9 sq.ft. of clear surface area plus 36 inches of projection from the foundation. With a door that swings in, you can build a well that only meets the minimums. In-swing models have a cost range between $350 and $700.
Awning egress windows are at the high end of the cost range and are not as popular as other types. Their defining feature is the hinge at the top of the window that allows them to tilt outward when open. They’re called awning windows because they resemble an awning from the outside. Awning egress windows are on the larger end of the spectrum because of how much space they require to open. For example, while the smallest casement egress windows are 20 inches x 27 inches, the smallest awning models are 36 inches x 24 inches. Because they are large, they are not recommended for basement installation. You would also need to excavate an extra-large window well to accommodate the window swinging out. Awning egress windows cost between $600 and $800.
Custom egress windows may be necessary depending on your home’s structure. Because they are designed and manufactured exclusively for you, they are an ideal window choice for any location. For the same reason, custom models are also the most expensive egress models you can buy. They range between $4,000 and $6,500, but the cost really depends on your specific needs.
Installing an egress window requires complicated handiwork. Therefore, you should hire professional help. Installing the window includes the following tasks: Cutting a hole (this is only required in case of a fully submerged basement); installing the window; setting up the well and ensuring it meets the code in terms of grade 4 for steps/ladder and drainage; and cleaning up the interior, which includes trimming the egress window, including the drywall 5 wrap, casing, trim, and insulation.
A window well is a square or semi-circular pit that surrounds your below ground egress window. Wells are required to open the window and climb out. You do not need to hire a window specialist to excavate a well. An experienced handyman, landscaper, or general contractor can handle the job. The well allows for sunlight to enter sub-ground floors and keeps moisture away from the foundation. You should expect to pay between $500 and $5,000 for someone to dig/install one well.
Keep in mind that because of the need for “extra” features such as window wells, it’s less costly to install these types of windows above ground (e.g., in a living room) than in sub-floor rooms like a basement. Installations are usually billed by the hour. Homeowners should expect to pay around $40 per hour. For an above-ground installation of one window, it will cost between $500 and $1,000. A sub-floor installation will require more hours. Most homeowners should expect to pay between $2,400 and $4,000.
Other factors, such as where the window is to be installed, affect the cost. Initial installation may require grading, drainage system, and evacuation to create a safe space outside the window to make exit and entry easier. Some other factors which may increase the cost include additional labor, engineering, and equipment.
When considering the cost to put in an egress window, the primary concern is whether the location is above or below the foundation of the house. If a professional needs to dig into dirt or a foundation to install a sub-ground window, labor costs increase. If it’s simply a window replacement or new installation on a ground floor or above, the cost will be less.
|Living/Family Room||$900 - $1,500|
|Attic||$900 - $3,000|
|Bedroom||$900 - $3,000|
|Skylight||$900 - $4,000|
|Basement||$2,500 - $5,000|
Unless your family room is especially small, a sliding/horizontal egress window is a popular choice. They are some of the largest windows and thus complement larger spaces in the home. Most living/family rooms are above ground so that installation costs will be less than other rooms. To install a horizontal egress window in your living or family room, you can expect to pay between $900 and $1,500.
Attics are a popular location for single-hung egress windows because they are the least expensive prefabricated model. An attic egress allows for an evacuation route from fire and also airflow when left open year-round. Unless the window needs to be custom made, homeowners should expect to pay between $900 and $3,000 to have one installed in the attic.
Like other above-ground locations, installing a prefabricated egress window in a bedroom is a simple job. Casement, double-hung, or awning are popular models for the bedroom. Homeowners pay between $900 and $3,000 to have a prefabricated egress window installed in the bedroom.
Skylight egress windows are becoming more popular, but they are still not as common as egress windows in other locations. When an egress is a skylight, it is an awning window. Awning windows open outwards on a top hinge 2. The average homeowner can expect to pay between $900 and $4,000 to have a prefabricated skylight egress window installed.
Putting an egress window in the basement will be more expensive than a window above the ground. This installation requires the professional to dig a window well at the very least. If the window is new, they must cut into the foundation of a home. The process of adding one to the basement should only be performed by a professional skilled in sub-ground window installation. It will cost between $2,500 and $5,000 to install a casement egress window in the basement.
According to the International Building Code, basements and sleeping rooms below the fourth floor of a home must have one emergency escape. This escape can be in the form of a skylight, patio, or window that is large enough for one adult to escape directly to the outdoors in an emergency. The window must be large enough for an emergency worker to enter the room, if necessary. The opening must meet a minimum net clear opening of 5.7 feet.
While each county, state, or municipal government has different requirements for egress window placement, the International Residential Code (IRC) developed some board standards which should be used as guidance:
These windows must be operational from the inside and must not need a tool or key to open. You may add grates or bars around the window, but they should be easy to open and not require any keys or tools.
Frames can be made from vinyl 6, fiberglass, wood, or aluminum. Vinyl is a versatile plastic that’s used to make thousands of everyday items. Fiberglass is made from heated glass that’s been extruded while in liquid form. Aluminum is a soft metal. Of the three frame materials, fiberglass has a slight advantage for durability because of its resistance to weather and temperature changes.
Homeowners should expect to pay the most for windows with a fiberglass 7 frame. Fiberglass windows range between $500 and $1,500. The least expensive frame material is aluminum, with a cost range between $100 and $200. Both vinyl and wood are in the $500 to $600 range.
|Frame Material||Cost of the Window|
|Fiberglass||$500 - $1,500|
|Aluminum||$100 - $200|
|Vinyl||$500 - $600|
|Wood||$500 - $600|
Unless you are building a new house or cutting a hole for a new window, an egress window replacement cost will be the window cost, plus labor costs to remove the old window and install the new one. Professionals charge about $40 per hour for labor. Most replacement jobs take an hour. You should expect to pay between $200 and $1,500 for a replacement window to be installed. You may choose to keep the window if you’d like, but most companies dispose of the old window for you.
Egress windows may be installed in basements or bedrooms. They are typically installed in rooms used for sleeping purposes.
Below ground installations require digging into the ground and cutting your way through concrete and brick walls. You must consider the permits and permissions required by city utilities. You may also have to dig or build around pipes and house lines. Hire a skilled contractor to do the job. For basement installations, you will also need to dig a window well to keep moisture away from the foundation. It can cost between $2,000 and $5,000 to install a below-ground window, including excavating the well.
Installing egress windows above ground is a simpler process. Installing an energy-efficient window costs about the same as having any other window installed. It may cost around $500 to $1,000.
A walkout basement is a full-sized room (a basement) where you can walk out into the open air. This additional living space requires that you pour a foundation. In contrast, an egress window is just an opening that allows an adult to escape from the house in the event of an emergency.
Both options are beneficial in an emergency. The question is one of budget. You will pay between $2,000 and $8,000 to install one in the basement. To build a walkout basement, you will pay between $47,000 and $100,000. Walkout basements are typically more expensive than a regular basement because it requires extra grading 4 and excavation.
An egress ladder is part of an egress window in basements. Once you’ve escaped from the building through the window, you use the ladder to climb up to ground level 4. Most often, ladders are permanent fixtures on the side of the water well. However, temporary ladders are available that can be stored until needed. When a professional installs your water well, the installer can also mount the ladder. The cost to install an egress ladder is $100.
High-end windows with energy-saving features often cost more than their single-pane counterparts. The price is about 10% to 20% higher than other windows. The installation costs are about the same.
Egress well escape systems are beneficial for added safety. They are an extension, typically with attached steps or ladders, to allow for an easy escape. Installation costs vary depending on the project but can cost between $1,500 and $1,800.
A well cover is a sheet of material designed to cover the well and basement window. It is installed to prevent accidents and avoid the buildup of snow, water, and debris. Purchasing or installing a well cover costs between $300 to $800.
An egress window can add around $18,000 per room to your home’s value.
Only window professionals should install egress windows, especially in rooms that are below your home’s foundation. However, a landscaper, general contractor, or experienced handyman can install water wells if it doesn’t require cutting into the foundation.
According to the International Building Code (IBC), only one egress window is required in a basement or sleeping room below the fourth floor.
The average cost to install an egress window is around $2,500 to $4,000.
An egress window is defined as a window that acts as a way out of the home.
An egress window needs to be a minimum of 24 inches tall, 20 inches wide, and a maximum of 44 inches off the floor, opening to a minimum clearing of 5.7 sq.ft.
Basement egress is a way out of the basement that does not involve using the stairs to the upper levels. Typically, this involves an egress window but may also include a sliding basement door if the basement is installed on a slope.