People always ask, are basement windows a standard size or style?
Not exactly, however we can recommend a category of window styles that would meet the utility needs of a basement window.
Basements windows are typically awnings, gliders or casements. Awnings are hinged at the top, they let air in and help protect against rain. Awning windows come with screens and ensure an air tight fit. Sliders will be less air tight, yet they are often selected for finished basements where you may be opening and closing the windows on a regular basis or need an egress or emergency escape window. Casements are a favorite choice for finished basements to bring in more light and provide an emergency escape and rescue opening because of their tall design.
Woodland Installing Marvin Elevate Basement Window
There isn’t a uniform size of basement windows. You’ll want to buy a window that is custom sized for your opening in order to ensure it’s an air tight fit. We never suggest buying a stock size, thinking you’ll be saving time and money because you’ll have to re-do the frame to fit the stock window size. Your goal is a snug air tight fit. Today’s Low-e double pane glazing is standard and with so little glass you’ll have all the efficiency you need. The problem if you don’t install the right size window is that air will be coming inside the window. Proper installation is a combination of a tight fit and proper sealing around the outside.
Is it worth replacing basement windows and how much does it cost?
Your old existing basement windows are likely to be made from wood or aluminum/metal. The glass is also likely to be discolored and leak air or water. Replacements will make a world of difference in the light emittance, comfort and performance.
Today’s economical window choices are made from vinyl or fiberglass. You can choose a wood interior for a finished basement as well. Woodland recommends awning or slider windows for unfinished basements. Other brands like Infinity from Marvin or Marvin Elevate, both fiberglass windows are good choices for finished basement windows. See photo above.
Do an internet search or walk into a big box store and you’ll see a wide variety of prices, just remember the cost of installing the replacement window will also include materials, renting tools and disposing of removed materials. If done by a professional, replacing a basement window can remain below $1,000 per window depending on many factors including the condition of the window frame, structural issues and window options.
A last word about window options
Window options like wood interiors, decorative grilles or custom finishes are available. Additionally, if security is a concern, consider adding laminated or tempered glass for extra strength. That way someone can’t shatter the glass and climb in. Depending on the size of your basement windows, this may not be an issue. If noise is an issue consider using STC upgraded glazing.
Egress can also be a consideration particularly for a finished basement used as a bedroom. Every sleeping room needs to have at least one operable emergency escape and rescue opening. International Building Code (IRC) requires a minimum of 20” w X 24”h, with equals a 5.7 square foot opening. The sill height of an egress window cannot be more than 44” above the finished floor and open directly into a public way, a yard or court that opens to a public way. Basements or storm shelters used only to house mechanical equipment, not exceeding a total floor area of 200 sq. ft. is exempt. The best choice of an ‘egress’ window is a casement, because of its height and 90 degree opening. Sliders and double-hung styles can work, but the window will need to be much larger to meet the minimum measurements and opening size.