Basement Replacement Windows: An Overview

Pros, Cons, Costs, and What to Consider When Buying Basement Replacement Windows

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Whether you’re performing a basement remodel or replacing old windows in preparation for the rainy season, know that basement replacement windows are a different animal from your average window.

Because basement windows are set so close to the ground, the need for quality rot and mildew resistance is key. And basement windows are usually smaller due to limited wall space, meaning your options are likely limited to styles including a slider, double hung, hopper, or awning. For windows nearly parallel to ground level, you’ll likely want sliding or double hung windows, because debris on the ground outside can block other styles from opening.

Not long ago, metal and wood dominated the market as the choice material for basement windows. But metal rusts, and wood rots, and neither of those qualities are what you want for low-lying windows when your chief concern is staving off mildew and rot.

To get more information about window replacement price estimates, see our main artilce on the cost of new panes here.

In newer construction, vinyl is often used for basement replacement windows because these material, generally speaking, protects against rot, mildew, insects, and the elements. It also does not need paint, a chief concern in a location where paint is more susceptible to damage from the elements.

Structurally, basement windows tend to differ from traditional windows. Basement replacement windows should slide open wide enough to ventilate a basement--an area that generally experiences minimal air circulation--and to move large materials, such as ladders, in and out.

Unless you’re skilled at window installation, hiring a professional is generally recommended because leaks are such a key concern for basement windows. Even a small gap can leak to moisture leakage.

Costs for basement replacement windows vary depending on quality and look. Generally, the price falls somewhere between $50 to $150 per window, with labor rates around $50 an hour or more. If you’re converting a basement into livable space, you may want to shell out more for windows that will allow more natural light while offering strong protection against moisture. This will likely mean paying the higher end of the spectrum or more. If you’re replacing old windows, but require little more than moisture prevention, expect to pay closer to the lower end.

Basements have long had a deserved reputation as an area that stays cool regardless of outdoor temperature. That’s a huge bonus in the summer, but it can be a big negative in the winter. Therefore, industry experts often recommend triple pane basement replacement windows, which insulate better than single or double pane windows. The price tag on triple pane windows can be much steeper, however, so weigh your needs and wants before you shell out the money for the best equipment available.

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