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What are the Different Types of Basement Window?

By D. Monda Dill
Updated May 16, 2024
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Whether designing a new home, remodeling, or simply installing replacement basement windows, the choice of windows is usually between three different types. These are hopper windows, slider windows and awning windows. Window wells and window bubbles are specialized options that may be used in conjunction with most basement windows.

Hopper windows are basic, standard basement windows. This type of basement window hinges to the bottom of the window frame, and opens by tilting inward from the top. For this reason, the window screen on a hopper window is typically installed on the outside of the window frame. This is the least expensive type of basement window, but usually offers the widest range of options in sizes.

Slider windows, as their name suggests, are designed to open and close by sliding from side to side. Also referred to as glider or sliding windows, they are well-suited for larger windows as well as for situations where there is limited room into which the window can swing. The screen on a slider basement window may be either on the inside or on the outside of the window frame. Slider windows are often more affordable than the awning basement windows.

Awning windows are, in many cases, the most expensive of all basement windows. They also boast a more contemporary style, and offer more design features than hopper or slider basement windows. This type of basement window is popular in bathrooms and in coastal areas.

Awning windows are hinged to the top of the window frame, and open by swinging from the bottom out, much like a fabric awning. Since this window tilts outward at an angle, it can be opened for ventilation even in the rain or snow. The window screen is usually installed on the inside of the window frame.

A window well is a structure that extends outward from a basement window. It fulfills both practical and aesthetic purposes. It can serve as an emergency escape route that allows for safe exit in the event of an emergency. Window wells are commonly used to comply with building codes requiring that a basement with sleeping quarters or other livable space have an escape window. This type of window also lets natural daylight into the basement.

A window bubble is a dome-shaped, plastic or vinyl cover that is designed to fit over a window well. Also referred to as a window well cover, it helps insulate the window well as well as protect it from dirt, animals, plant debris, and the elements. Window bubbles also help prevent potentially dangerous falls from above.

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Discussion Comments
By lightning88 — On Sep 29, 2010

I am considering remodeling my basement, and I'd like to replace the windows -- right now my basement has vinyl hopper windows, but I think it'd like to change those into egress windows.

How hard is this, and can I do it by myself, or should I hire someone to help me with it?

By FirstViolin — On Sep 29, 2010

I have what may seem like a silly question -- I want to install a basement egress window, but I'm afraid that it's going to get covered up with leaves and debris.

However, is it even possible to put basement window grates over an egress window? For instance, do they have ones that are hinged so that you can still use the basement window as an egress window, but still have a grate on top of it?

Thanks, I'm new to this whole basement window installation thing -- I'd appreciate any input.

By Charlie89 — On Sep 29, 2010

If I want to replace a sliding basement window with a hopper basement window, do I need to increase or replace my basement window well?

Right now they're pretty small, and although I do have basement window well covers over them, I'm afraid that the hopper window will end up hitting the edge of the window well.

Does anybody have any experience with basement window replacement, and what I need to do about my window wells?

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