Adding a second bedroom is one of the best ways to add to the value of your house. Your home’s unfinished basement or any other neglected area is an excellent option to be turned into extra living space. But before you begin any remodeling, you must meet any safety requirements that involve providing an exit (or “egress”) in a fire or other emergency.

This is precisely where egress windows come in. A basement egress window installation is what you are looking for. 

What are egress windows?

In simple terms: egress windows are mandatory windows for any underground (basement) living area. They have the same appearance as ordinary windows, thus making them indistinguishable. Before a finished basement can legally be turned into a living room, it must include egress windows. Also, egress windows’ sizes must be by regional construction rules and the International Residential Code (IRC).

Fortunately, egress windows have advantages outside, only serving as a means of escape, such as improving natural lighting and ventilation in your basement. They may also have an inside trim that enhances the living area’s appearance.

There are further criteria for the space right outside the entrance of the egress window. Additionally, a “window well” is necessary for an egress window that is situated below grade (also known as “below ground level”).

What is a window well?

A window well is a shield that surrounds an underground basement window that is either rectangular or half-circular and lies inside an area of the soil that has been dug. Typically composed of polyethylene or galvanized steel, these include flanges on either side that attach to the foundation of your house.

Window wells are used by ordinary below-grade basement windows and egress windows to guard against the harm that pebbles, dirt, and dampness can cause. To give residents enough room to escape readily, egress window wells must be more significant than conventional wells. And if the well is too deep for someone to climb out of readily, it could also be necessary to use a ladder. An inexpensive window well cover can keep out rain and insects.

Egress windows and window wells safety considerations 

Even though regional egress window construction rules may differ slightly, an egress window must at the very least adhere to the following IRC requirements:

  • It must offer at least 5.7 square feet of unobstructed and transparent openness.
  • It must have an entrance at least 24 inches tall and 20 inches wide, transparent and unhindered.
  • The transparent opening’s bottom cannot be above 44 inches from the ground.
  • It must be opened without the need for any tools.
  • If the window is below grade, a window well must be installed.

Here are the specifics for window wells 

  • Must offer an area of at least nine square feet.
  • It must be 36 inches long and width at least.
  • The well must have a ladder if it is deeper than 44 inches below grade.
  • The width of the ladder must be at least 12 inches. It must be at least three inches from the rear wall and cannot extend more than six inches into the well. Additionally, there can be at most 18 inches between step rungs.

Egress window costs

Although an egress window’s price varies depending on several factors, it typically falls between $500 and $5,000. In general, the cost of an egress window ranges from $100 to $700, depending on its size and construction. 

Depending on the quality and also whether it is prefabricated or custom-made, a window well can cost anywhere from $200 to several thousand dollars. But installation charges are usually where the actual expense comes from. Whatever the case, they’ve much more economical than say, a sump pump installation. 

The only takeaway is that though we’ve given you a rough estimate, the price will depend on your specific case of basement egress window installation. The size of your home, also the size of the problem area and the amount of work involved mainly influence the final price. 

Installation guide

A highly experienced homeowner could install an egress window and well, but some, if not all, home-related jobs require a professional contractor.

For starters, digging must remove enough dirt to make room for an underground window well before installing a below-grade egress window. Additionally, you will need to make a hole in the basement’s foundation for the window, and a bad cut might be difficult and expensive to fix. It typically costs between $1,500 and $3,000 to hire a professional to do these procedures and the window and well installation.


Basement egress window installation is an excellent way to ensure safety while also being a great way to beautify your home, keep your basement airy, and help in mold remediation. Honestly, there are too many benefits to having an egress window at your disposal. 

By following the limitations and restrictions imposed by the IRC, you can rest assured that you and your family are safe. We here at Zavza Seal LLC Long Island NY would love nothing more than to help you with any queries that you may have regarding egress windows. Call Zavza Seal to get a free estimate on our services.

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