Egress windows look like any other windows on your home, but they have one crucial additional purpose. These windows are big enough for you or any other member of your family to get out if needed. In a case of emergencies, such as fire, an egress window is a safe exit from your basement, attic, or bedroom. Therefore, it is crucial to have at least one installed at your house.
Why Are Egress Windows So Essential?
Some old houses have a basement with access only from the inside of the house. While it may look like a smart design that prevents burglary, it actually endangers you as well the other residents of the house. In a case of fire, you are left with no way to escape.
Nowadays, building regulations require you to install an egress window if you live in such a house. Otherwise, your home will consider unsuitable for living. You need to have at least one exit choice except at the main entrance.
Besides, it is forbidden to make a bedroom in the basement without an egress window. It is not a matter of choice, but the residential laws. You don’t need to worry about the issue if you live in one of the modern homes. Every initial constructor design has such a window in the construction plan.
If you plan to renovate your house, you should calculate all the costs from the very beginning, including egress window costs. The first thing you need to know is that these costs can vary significantly from one state to another.
Basically, they will depend on many factors, such as:
- Type of window
- Labor costs
- Additional installation of the egress window well
Since you can’t expect egress window costs are low, you will need to plan carefully.
Before you start planning egress window costs, you need to determine one of three possible scenarios for your home.
If you want to change the egress window you already have, you will probably spend anywhere from $200 to $1,200. How much money you will need depends on the window material used.
For example, a vinyl window is an affordable choice, while a fiberglass window has a medium-range price. If you want to install a wooden window, you should be prepared that it is an expensive investment.
Installation of new egress window
If your house doesn’t have the egress window, you will need to cut the wall and install the new one. Such a job will require spending from $2,000 to $5,000 for professional installation.
If you plan to finish all the work by yourself, you can save a lot of money and spend just $500 to $1,000 in total. However, if you don’t have any experience, it is better to hire a professional since the installation of a basement egress window can be quite tricky.
Keep in mind that customized windows will bring egress window costs up. Plus, a place for installation will affect the overall price. Furthermore, you can install window security bars or window locks as an additional security measure. All of this will raise the final price.
In any case, always ask the contractor to give you previse estimation of egress window costs before setting a deal.
Egress Window Requirements
Residential building laws states that every building needs to have at least one safe exit. Strict rules define that the getaway route needs to lead to your yard or on a public street.
Every state has its own specific regulations when it comes to building the egress windows. However, the IRC (international residential codes) standards require the particular size of this type of window:
- Minimum height – 24 inches (61 cm)
- Minimum width – 20 inches (51 cm)
- Maximum height from the floor – 44 inches (1.1 m)
- Minimum clear space – 5.7 sq. ft (0.5 m2)
Types of Egress Windows
Which type of window you plan to install will definitely affect the final egress window costs.
This type of egress window has a hinge and a handle or lever that allow it to open on the outside. It is an excellent choice since this window will increase the air freshness in your basement.
There are two dimensions of this window, including:
- 24 inches (61 cm) high and 34.2 inches (86.8 cm) wide
- 41 inches (1 m) high and 20 inches (51 cm) wide
Horizontal or sliding
The best option for the room with a narrow window well is a horizontal egress window, which slides open to the left or right. However, to satisfy law requirements, it needs to open to a width of at least 20 inches (51 cm) and has to be a minimum of 41 inches (1 m) high.
Single-hung window is the most common option for an egress window. Its dimensions should be at least 24 inches (61 cm) high and 20 inches (51 cm) wide.
Egress Window Location
Egress window costs will be different depending on its location, as well. It is not the same installing one window at the attic or in the basement. The primary difference is in digging the window well, which increases the overall price of the job.
Before starting, you need to get permits from your local building authorities. Then, you need to hire a professional to install the window. In general, city fees and a skilled expert will cost you from $1,500 to $2,500.
On the other hand, installing an egress window above the ground is a simple DIY weekend project. If you chose this option, you can lower the egress window costs to around $500 to $1,000.
Why Convert Regular Basement Window to Egress Window?
If you decide to convert your basement to the bedroom, you will need to modify the existing basement window to the egress ones. That way, you will provide an escape route, add square footage to your house, and increase its value on the market.
Furthermore, the installation of an egress window will ensure your basement has more airflow, as well as natural light and heat in summer.
Since your basement window is probably small and doesn’t follow building regulations, you need to enlarge it in such a case. The costs will depend on the necessity of digging the window well, paving it with brick or wood, and installing stairs or a ladder. It may raise the egress window costs up to $1000.
How to Install Egress Window by Yourself?
If you are on a tight budget and you need to cut all unnecessary egress window costs, you can try to install an egress window on your own. Keep in mind that it is not an easy task. Plus, the egress window costs can add up by purchasing a new tool or providing help, especially if you are a novice.
If you are confident enough that you can do it, these are some necessary steps that will help you finish the job:
- The first thing to do is to dig on the outside of your basement. Make sure to make the window opening meets the requirements of the region code.
- Cut the wall in dimensions slightly bigger than your window.
- Clean up the area in front of the egress window and make a drainage system to avoid water damage.
- Install the framework and window carefully.
- Seal any leftover space between window and wall to prevent the rain from coming inside
- Build an egress window well, as well as steps or the ladder if necessary.
Keep in mind that unprofessional work may compromise the complete infrastructure of your home. Potentially, your pipes and drainage system may suffer damage.
Moreover, you can interfere with the utility lines for the whole building unintentionally. In that case, you will waste your effort, time, and money.
Prevent Water Leaking in Your Basement
While egress windows have many advantages, they also can cause a water leak and flood in your basement. Therefore, you need to be sure that you have correctly installed the window to avoid any water damage.
In some cases, low egress window costs and DIY projects may result in wrong window size, detached window frame, or lousy installed drainage system. You may avoid these problems if you find the right professional with experience in egress windows installation.
One of the ways you can prevent extra expenses is to install window well cover. It will keep water, dirt, and dust away from your egress window. Plus, it can come with security locks that allow the window to be opened only from the inside. That way, this window will keep your basement dry and clean.
Egress window costs will depend on many factors, including the quality of window frame, labor cost, and regional fees. However, egress window improves your home safety and provide security exit in case of emergencies. It is also an excellent way to increase your home resale value and its beauty.
Therefore, these windows are worth initial investment. The fact is that the egress window costs can be high. However, once you install it, your new window will last for years without too much maintenance.