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The Best Windows for Your Basement Renovation: 5 Key Points to Consider

Updated on:
June 9, 2023
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Sprucing up your basement is a great home improvement project that significantly boosts the comfort and value of your house. Window replacement is one of the top-rated renovations with high ROI (around 83%); hence, many homeowners strive to place this project on top of the list when renovating their basements.

Want which replacement basement windows will work best for your space? This post will definitely clear all your doubts. Keep reading!

Which Window Styles Are Allowed to Be Installed in Basements?

Even though there is a wide range of styles you can choose from when considering window replacement, you can only go with some of them when renovating your basement since this area is a bit special and has to follow strict egress building rules.

Only the following window styles are allowed for basement installation:

  • Sliding windows
  • Casement windows
  • Hopper windows
  • Hung windows

So let's discuss each of these window styles briefly so you can understand the difference and decide which one might work best for your house.

Sliding windows

These are modern units with two panels, one fixed and another that glides along the track to allow smooth operation, optimal ventilation and a wide opening (egress) for any emergency.


  • Great ventilation
  • Decent energy efficiency
  • Great aesthetics
  • Easy operation and maintenance
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Casement windows

One of the most popular choices for basement windows. They open as your standard doors outwards with the help of a modern crank mechanism, which allows for effortless operation. These windows are tightly sealed on all four sides, allowing maximum energy efficiency.


  • Maximum energy efficiency among operable windows
  • Classic look
  • Affordable price
  • Optimal ventilation
  • Easy operation

Hopper windows

These units are your go-to option if you opt for the right egress windows. A hopper window is a single unit hinged on the bottom to open inwards. Its opening direction allows for exceptional ventilation properties and easy cleaning. These models best suit basements where you want to maintain maximum ventilation and have straightforward escape routes.


  • Best for egress
  • Easy cleaning
  • More affordable compared to other styles
  • Can be placed strategically

Hung Windows

Hung windows can be named vertical sliding windows since the operation is pretty much the same, with the only difference of sashes moving up and down. These models are one of the most popular alternatives for windows in North America.


  • Much natural light
  • Decent ventilation & good energy efficiency
  • Traditional appearance
  • Two window styles (single and double-hung)

Aspects to Remember When Buying & Installing New Basement Windows

Picking the right window style is just the first step toward a successful window installation project. There is much more to consider when deciding on the new units that will work best for your home improvement.

Only install windows that follow your local egress code requirements

Following local egress code requirements is vital when buying and installing your new windows. If these strict code requirements are neglected, homeowners will have to redo the installation and might even be fined. What's important here is that egress code requirements differ significantly throughout North America.

For example, some of the egress requirements for Ontario state the following:

  • The area for egress windows should be no less than 3.8 ft2 (0.35 m2)
  • Min dimension for egress windows can't be less than 15 inches (380 mm)
  • Your opening should be large enough to provide an easy and quick escape route
  • Your basement egress windows must include window wells that are 760m from the window and an opening of 30 inches deep

So make sure your new window corresponds to the building code requirements of your region. You can check this egress calculator to determine whether your basement windows can be classified as egress.

Choose energy-efficient basement windows

You want your basement to be cozy and maintain the right temperature throughout the year, right? Then only buy windows that are ENERGY-star rated and bring maximum insulation to your space.

Ask your window contractor to show you the window's energy specifications - you should find the Energy Star label there, together with details regarding the overall energy rating of your window. According to the current industry standards, the windows should have a minimum ER of 34 to be classified as energy-efficient units.

Compare different quotes

Buying the first products advertised on the Internet might not be a good idea even though you might like the window's look, style and energy efficiency properties.  

Do you homeowners – contact different local contractors and ask them to consult you regarding your project and issue a quote for you. Usually, this is free of charge. You can even find discount windows using this approach.

However, remember that window replacement can't be cheap. You install a product that will usually last you for decades, so consider it a long-term investment and buy only high-quality basement windows from a reliable company.

Make sure to hire an experienced installer

Window replacement, especially in basements, is not a DIY project. The installer should have the right expertise, tools and know your local building codes from A to Z to do the job flawlessly. Poor installation might lead to issues with energy efficiency, comfort, aesthetics and even fines (if egress windows are installed inappropriately).

That is why hiring a reliable window company here to do the installation will be the best decision here. But before signing a replacement contract, be sure to:

  • Check on reputation and reviews. Go and read their Google and HomeStars reviews to analyze their past projects
  • Ask them to consult you properly regarding your project first. Let them inspect your area and offer the best windows that meet your expectations
  • Inquire about all energy specifications of your windows
  • Check whether the products are Energy Star-rated and NAFS-11 tested
  • Compare the digital and regular quotes regarding the price, delivery time, installation, lack of hidden fees, warranty, and the correct final price


Window replacement for basement renovation is indeed a great project to consider. High ROI, improved energy efficiency, aesthetics, and comfort are just a few advantages to list. But while getting new windows will definitely benefit your house, the correct market analysis regarding window style, price, building code, and installation is necessary to avoid many common pitfalls and guarantee a successful project.

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