Do I Need to Install An Egress Window In My Basement? Legal Requirements & Costs Explained

Kenneth Wilson

If you’re planning to renovate your basement, you might also need to budget for installing an egress window to ensure your home is compliant with state building codes.

Egress windows come in a range of shapes and sizes, and the installation process can be impacted by several variables that can significantly impact the overall cost.

This article explains what an egress window is, why it’s necessary, and how much you will need to budget for its installation. Let’s begin by understanding what an egress window is and why it’s required in your home’s basement.

What is an Egress Window?

An egress window is an opening large enough for residents to exit via in case of an emergency. If you’re planning to convert your basement into a bedroom to maximize the space in your home, you will have to install an egress window to be compliant with building codes and national safety standards.

There are many different egress windows styles that you can install in your home, and your choice will largely depend on your available space and budget. Depending on the layout of your basement, you may also have to install a window well to house your egress window, which offers protection against the elements and makes it easier to exit in the event of an emergency.

Do I need to Install an Egress Window? 

Throughout the US, building codes require egress windows to be installed for home safety. Every basement with one sleeping space must have at least one egress window. The International Residential Code is in use in 49 states and stipulates the following regarding the installation of basement egress windows:

  • The window well should project at least 36” from your property.
  • The footprint should be 9 square ft.
  • Ladders are required for wells of more than 44” in depth.
  • The maximum sill height is 44”.
  • There should be a height of at least 35” for windows installed under decks.

Before installing an egress window, you will need to apply for a building permit, as the process impacts the safety of your home. If you’re undertaking excavation work prior to installation, it’s advisable to call your utilities companies to inquire about the position of underground wires, so you don’t accidentally cut through them.

How much do Egress Windows Cost to Install?

According to Home Advisor, the national average cost of installing egress windows is $3,750. But the price of egress windows can vary significantly depending on a range of factors and can cost as little as $800 and as much as $8,000. (Related: When Should You Replace Your Windows: How To Assess And Where To Start) Let’s look at the variables that affect the installation price of egress windows. 

Egress Window Style 

Perhaps the most crucial consideration is what style of egress window you want to install at your property. Not only does the style impact cost, but it also determines its functionality and will affect the aesthetics of your home. The most common types of egress windows (and their associated costs) include:

  • Casement ($200 - $250 per window): A casement window is hinged, opens like a door, and is usually operated with a hand crank. Casements don’t have as big an opening as other types of egress windows, but they are amongst the most popular styles of basement egress windows installed in the US.
  • Sliding ($150 - $700 per window): A sliding egress window opens horizontally, much like a sliding glass door. Required to be at least 4 x 4 square ft, they require more space for installation than casements and can be opened to the left or right.
  • Single-Hung ($100 - $400 per window): Featuring two glass panes, single-hung egress windows open vertically on one side, and only the bottom sash can be raised. Single-hung egress windows are popular in older homes in colder climates.
  • Double-hung ($250 - $500 per window): The fundamental difference between single and double-hung windows is that the latter can be opened via the top and bottom sash. They are best suited to homes in warmer climates.
  • In-swing ($350 - $700 per window): As the name suggests, in-swing egress windows open inwards, and they’re ideal for smaller basements with relatively small window openings.

Because egress windows come in so many styles, you can arrange an installation that suits the design of your home and your available budget. Once you’ve decided on the style, you will need to factor in the costs associated with the following:

Glass Quality (Single or Double-paned)

The quality of the glass panes will impact the price of your egress windows. Single-paned units are typically cheaper than double-paned glass, but they’re less noise-resistant and contribute to higher utility bills in the long run. You can expect to pay somewhere between $200 - $500 per double-paned window, while single panes will be considerably less.

Installation Cost

You should expect to pay somewhere in the region of $100 - $250 per window to install your chosen egress windows at your property. But this is assuming that structural work doesn’t need to be undertaken in preparation for installation. You might also incur some of the following costs, depending on what is relevant for your property:

Potential Additional Cost

Estimated Price

Window well replacement/installation

$500 - $2,000


$500 - $700 per window

Land excavation (for below-grade installation)

$50 - $200 per cubic yard

Cut window opening

$700 per window

Remove & replace old window

$200 per window

Hiring a land surveyor


Hiring a structural engineer


Hiring an electrician


As you can see, there are so many factors that will influence the total price of egress window installation. As you establish your requirements, you can accurately determine the cost based on the information provided above.

Can I Install an Egress Window Myself?

Installing an egress window is a significant undertaking and requires the expertise of a professional. To ensure your egress window is compliant with the relevant building codes, you should hire the services of a trusted window firm to take measurements and complete the work on your behalf. Although this will result in additional costs, it’s necessary to ensure its adequate installation.

Final Thoughts  

Installing an egress window in your basement is a legal requirement if you’re converting the space into a bedroom or room of residence. The average cost of installing an egress window is $3,750, but this can vary significantly depending on a range of factors, as introduced above. We highly recommend working with a trusted and skilled installer to undertake the project on your behalf, as you need to ensure your installation is compliant with state building codes and national safety standards.

Kenneth Wilson
September 29, 2021
Window Replacement

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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