Skip to Main Content

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Installing Basement Windows

Groundwork tech installing basement windows

Many homeowners view basement window installation as an energy-efficient upgrade for their older homes. This improvement brings advantages like reduced utility costs, fewer leaks, and enhanced safety. However, if not executed correctly, basement window installation may not deliver these advantages.

This page highlights common mistakes in basement window installation and emphasizes proper measurement, insulation, and factors for maximizing the benefits of this valuable home upgrade.

7 Basement Window Installation Mistakes

Unlike traditional window setups, installing basement windows can be tricky, prompting many homeowners to entrust this project to professionals. Here are the seven common mistakes to avoid when installing basement windows.

1. Applying Insufficient Insulation 

Insulation provides numerous benefits. It saves energy by preventing drafts, reducing condensation, mitigating mold and mildew, and minimizing noise. Insufficient window insulation allows these issues to persist.

Weatherstripping, caulking, and cellular shades are common insulation types for basement windows. However, basement windows with double or triple-pane glass, low-emissivity coatings, and insulation frames enhance energy efficiency. 

Exploring insulated basement window options provides a sustainable, long-term solution for repair.

2. Neglecting Egress Criteria 

Egress windows serve a dual purpose by allowing natural light in and functioning as emergency exits. However, finished basements with living spaces and windows must also meet strict egress criteria. These windows act as crucial emergency exits during fires and other emergencies, which is why they require these stringent installation standards.

Ensuring compliance with egress windows and window wells involves various aspects, with many states regulating them under the International Residential Code. This code mandates specific dimensions for “rescue openings” in basements designated for habitation.

Contact a local basement expert who can assess your home’s space and recommend enhancements for code compliance and efficiency.

3. Inaccurate Window Measurements 

Choosing the correct window replacement size is crucial for ensuring an optimal fit, minimizing energy inefficiencies, and contributing to reduced energy bills. Yet, it is a common mistake encountered by many homeowners. Securing precise measurements before having basement windows installed is vital to avoid costly damage caused by water infiltration, drafts, pests, and other elements.

4. Poor Ventilation 

Insufficient basement airflow can result in stagnant air, causing potential mold and mildew issues. While not mandatory, some homeowners choose to include air vents in their basement window installations. Having just a few windows with air vents significantly improves cross-ventilation. Consider incorporating ventilation features like sashes or integrated vents during installation to enhance circulation and prevent moisture buildup. 

Waterproofing techniques, like basement dehumidifiers, installing air purifiers, sealing leaks and cracks, and conducting routine maintenance, further enhance basement air quality. Adequate window ventilation is crucial in eliminating unpleasant basement odors and preventing damage. 

5. Replacing Old Windows with the Same Window Type

Improved window technologies, designs, and finishes contribute to energy savings, reduced maintenance, and increased comfort. It is crucial to replace old, worn basement windows with updated alternatives. 

Today, various features enhance basement windows. Energy Star Certification ensures energy efficiency compliance for heating and cooling, offering cost savings. Vinyl or fiberglass exteriors are low maintenance, providing durability. Tilt-in windows ease cleaning, especially for partially below-ground windows. Wooden interior windows allow for aesthetic customization through staining or painting. Low-E-coated glass windows reflect heat in summer and retain it in winter for enhanced energy savings. 

Upgrading basement windows installed with these features ensures enhanced efficiency and durability, improving your basement environment. 

6. Choosing the Wrong Basement Window Type for Your Location 

Consider your region when choosing basement windows. Opt for insulated Low-E glass in sunlit areas to reflect heat and protect fabrics from fading. Select water-resistant materials such as vinyl or fiberglass in high-humidity regions. In hurricane-prone zones, prioritize impact-resistant sash and glazing to withstand high winds, minimize damage, prevent water infiltration and mold growth

Choosing between double or triple-pane windows relies on your budget, priorities, and local climate. Double-pane windows offer insulation and soundproofing benefits, whereas triple-pane windows provide superior performance at a higher cost. 

Ensure your selection of basement windows aligns with the region’s climate and meets your lifestyle preferences for the best basement window installation. 

7. Forgoing Professional Basement Window Installation

Choosing a do-it-yourself window installation to reduce costs may not be a wise decision, as it can lead to substantial costs if not executed correctly. Professionals have the expertise to assess the area and the basement’s unique requirements for installation. For example, there are three window installation methods: Retrofit, which utilizes the existing frames; full-frame replacement, which installs entirely new components; and sealed unit replacement swaps the sealed unit rather than the entire window.

An expert can recommend the most appropriate window, components, and installation method for your space and implement them safely. Choosing professional basement window installation saves money, minimizes safety risks, and improves energy efficiency long-term.

Contact an expert for a free inspection before having basement windows installed. 

Schedule a Free Basement Inspection Today! 

Homeowners seeking to cut utility costs and enhance basement comfort may consider energy-efficient basement window installation. Upgrading windows offers enhanced natural light, improved ventilation, and a better overall aesthetic. However, installing them requires expert care to avoid common mistakes.

Groundworks offers free inspections to assess basement leaks, moisture, and damage, providing tailored waterproofing recommendations before installing basement windows. Contact us today to discover how improving your basement translates to enhancing your entire home. 


Basement windows aren’t like other windows in your house: you need to take extra care when installing them to avoid basement moisture problems and leaks, so we recommend getting it done by an expert.

Yes, egress window and window well installation provides a safe living area for an additional bedroom, home office, game room, or rental space. Installing an egress window can also increase the resale value of your home. 

Basement windows with inadequate sealing allow outside air into the basement, adversely impacting energy efficiency and causing potential increase in heating and cooling costs. Improper sealing can also lead to basement moisture issues, mold growth, and damage. Contact a basement expert if you observe signs of basement window issues.

Michael Wilcher

Michael Wilcher

Michael Wilcher is the Content Lead at Groundworks, helping us to answer all of our customers biggest questions about foundation repair, basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, and concrete lifting. In his free time, Michael enjoys collecting vinyl records, watching Formula 1 Racing, and reading philosophy. He holds an MPhil from the University of Cambridge.