Many homeowners ask themselves if their basement bathrooms need windows. In some cases, these openings aren’t requirements. But installing a window can provide certain benefits. So does your basement bathroom need a window? We asked the experts and here’s what they have to say.
Installing a basement bathroom window allows the home to remain compliant with specific building codes. Plus, the opening can help improve energy efficiency and natural ventilation. Still, homeowners should be wary of the possible drawbacks of installing a window in their bathroom basements. These shortcomings include dealing with hard water stains and expensive installation costs.
Understanding the pros and cons of installing a basement bathroom window will help in finalizing your decision. Keep reading to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages, plus other relevant information about bathrooms and windows.
Is It Better To Have A Window In The Basement Bathroom?
A window installed in a basement bathroom has its benefits. But it can also come with some drawbacks. Understanding the pros and cons of installing a basement bathroom window will prepare you for upcoming decisions.
Benefits Of A Basement Bathroom Window
Building Code Compliance
Depending on where you live, there might be relevant code requirements. Complying with the regulations will help prevent you from having to pay hefty fines. Take note that the building code can be different for various locations.
For instance, the State of Minnesota requires basement bathrooms to have windows of not less than 0.28 square meters (3 square feet). Additionally, the window should be connected to a mechanical exhaust fan with a 50 CFM rating at minimum.
On the other hand, the town of Smithtown, New York, requires basement bathrooms to have windows or exhaust fans.
As for residential properties in Douglas County, Colorado, basement bathrooms are required to have a mechanical ventilating unit with a minimum 50 CFM rating and a minimum of a 4-inch duct.
Improved Energy Efficiency
The Department of Energy (DOE) suggests homeowners install, update, or replace their existing windows for enhanced energy efficiency.
Look for models with ENERGY STAR and NFRC labels to help reduce energy costs in the basement bathroom. Homeowners may save $101 to $583 per year when installing single-pane windows.
Enhanced Natural Ventilation
A basement bathroom window can provide proper airflow to the premises. This installation can help normalize the humidity and temperature in the space.
Without proper ventilation, the bathroom will be at risk of problems like increased condensation, constant moisture, and dust and foul smells that will fail to escape.
Introducing or improving the ventilation in a basement bathroom may also help reduce health risks posed by exposure to mold and mildew. These health concerns may include nasal congestion, watery eyes, itching, and asthma attacks.
Drawbacks Of A Basement Bathroom Window
Installation Can Be Expensive
Installation of a new window in a basement bathroom can be expensive. For instance, if you’re planning to add an egress window to the space, the installation costs can range from $2,543 to $5,299.
The overall expenses can depend on certain factors, such as the size and type of the window, along with some labor fees. But you might expect to spend an average of $3,902 to install one egress window.
Hard Water Deposits
Hard water tends to contain dissolved calcium, magnesium, and other metallic elements. The effect is a cloudy residue on the glass, which can affect a basement bathroom window. It's tough to remove and may cause permanent etching if not cleaned quickly.
Is It Worth Putting A Bathroom In The Basement?
Adding a bathroom in the basement may or may not be the best option depending on certain factors. Still, adding a bathroom in the basement can provide households with different benefits, including the following:
A bathroom in the basement reduces the time it takes for you to travel fairly long distances if you need to use the bathroom. It can also act as a safe, realistic option if you use your basement as a children’s play space, as kids can go to the bathroom without climbing stairs.
If you’re planning to sell the home in the future, adding a basement in the bathroom can increase the property’s price. A modest bathroom can increase the property’s market value by about $28,000.
Take note that this midrange option has concrete walls, new electrical wiring, and certain amenities like a low-profile toilet and a chrome faucet.
What Is A Good Size For A Basement Bathroom?
A basement bathroom should provide optimal comfort and usability for its users while complying with building codes. For example, the City of Ann Arbor requires homes to have basement bathroom ceilings that are 80 inches in height.
If you want to know more about the required height of basement ceilings, read through our post: What Is The Minimum Height For A Basement Ceiling?
Does A Bathroom Need An Egress Window?
The 2018 International Residential Code requires residential establishments to have emergency escape and rescue openings (EEROs) installed in all basements and sleeping spaces. Therefore, it’s not a requirement for bathrooms to have egress windows.
Still, having one installed in a bathroom can provide peace of mind to household members and guests.
How To Vent A Bathroom Without Windows?
Strategically placed windows can provide proper ventilation in a bathroom and help prevent moisture-related issues, such as mold and mildew growth. But take note that windows aren’t the only solutions to vent bathrooms.
Here are other options to help deliver proper ventilation to your bathroom aside from installing windows.
Mechanical exhaust fans can suck out the air from the bathroom, which includes airborne water vapor. Make sure that the exhaust fan you purchase fits your bathroom.
For example, if your bathroom is 50 square feet, get a fan with a 50 CFM rating or more. Anything less won’t have enough sucking power to help remove air and moisture from the bathroom.
A dehumidifier controls humidity in the immediate space. Venting with a dehumidifier helps maintain an ideal humidity level within a bathroom to prevent mold and mildew growth.
Take note that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that indoor humidity should be between 30 and 50 percent. Humidity higher than 50 percent can lead to the growth of mold and mildew.
If the design and location of your bathroom make it difficult to install exhaust fans or dehumidifiers, you can use moisture absorbers instead. These products generally contain calcium chloride crystals that can help absorb excess moisture in the premises.
But make sure to cover the container when it’s not in use. Long-term inhalation of this chemical compound can lead to nose and throat irritation.
Can You Make A Bedroom In The Basement Without A Window?
It’s best to check with your local building codes to find out if you can make a basement bedroom without a window. In certain cases, local governments require windows that are no more than 44 inches from the floor.
Moreover, local officials may require these windows to have openings of 20 x 24 inches.
Call the living space a den if you recently purchased a property with a basement bedroom without a window. But you need to take care of this matter as soon as possible to avoid getting fines from local authorities.
So, make sure to install a fitted window well cover to prevent rainwater from leaking into the basement. For more information about protecting the space from heavy rainwater, look into our previous post: Water Leaking Into The Basement After Heavy Rain – What To Do?
Installing a window in a basement bathroom might not be a requirement in some areas, but it can provide certain benefits. For instance, adding a window allows the property to comply with local building codes. It can also help improve energy efficiency and natural ventilation.
Still, household owners should take note of the possible drawbacks of adding a window to the basement bathroom.