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Exterior Inspections Contains discussions about the exterior portion of a home inspection. This includes roofs, gutters, downspouts, decks, patios, windows, etc.

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  #1  
Old 3/19/07, 10:36 PM
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Default Minimum height for window

Is there a minimum height for second story window? At the home I just inspected they were single hung, only 18" off the floor. The buyer has a 3 year old, if they are left open, a screen wouldn't hold the kid in. I called it out to bring it to the buyer's attention, but what does code say?

Steve
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Old 3/20/07, 1:18 AM
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Default Re: Minimum height for window

I do know that it is required that a window not be TOO high in bedrooms so that people can escape in case of a fire. I think I remember something about the window needing to be higher than 18 inches though.
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Old 3/20/07, 6:52 AM
Bruce M. Graham Bruce M. Graham is offline
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Default Re: Minimum height for window

There is a new provision that says any window with a sill above 72" shall have its interior sill at 24" or greater from finished floor.
or something like that, but I don't think anyone has started using it yet.

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Old 3/20/07, 7:00 AM
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Default Re: Minimum height for window

The code here in Ontario says the window must have a guard if the window is less than 1'7" off the floor. The code also says a guard may be safety glass of the laminated or tempered type or "wired safety glass". If a guard is used the rail must be a minimum of 42" from the floor and comply with the 4" rule and of course not be climbable.
Larry
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Old 3/20/07, 2:21 PM
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Default Re: Minimum height for window

Thanks Larry.
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  #6  
Old 3/20/07, 9:33 PM
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Peter C. Russell Peter C. Russell is offline
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Default Re: Minimum height for window

Most of the problem with windows is they need to meet egress code if they're in a bedroom. With today's construction practices once you have built the wall, installed the 2x10 header under the top plates, rough out the opening for an egress window and install it, it is usually 18-20 inches from the finished floor. I would have to check my code book but in this instance life safety code would take presidence over residential code.

Next time you drive around a new sub division look at the windows, you'll see most houses built today the windows are all the same size, this is so all the window in the house meet egress code and the MFG just mass produces them so they are now a stock item and cheaper for the builder.

This poses a problem when remodeling an older home, in most older homes the second floor windows are usually the same width but smaller in height than the first floor windows. If you where to build a full dormer on a 50 year old cape you would need to install egress windows on the second floor for the bedrooms to meet code. This would make all the second floor window larger and unproportionate to the first floor windows and closer to the floor, which by the way is unsafe for small children. The best way to solve this problem is to install casement windows on the second floor that have special egress hardware which allows them to open a full 90 degrees thus meeting code.
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Old 3/20/07, 9:48 PM
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Default Re: Minimum height for window

Quote:
Originally Posted by prussell
Most of the problem with windows is they need to meet egress code if they're in a bedroom. With today's construction practices once you have built the wall, installed the 2x10 header under the top plates, rough out the opening for an egress window and install it, it is usually 18-20 inches from the finished floor. I would have to check my code book but in this instance life safety code would take presidence over residential code.

Next time you drive around a new sub division look at the windows, you'll see most houses built today the windows are all the same size, this is so all the window in the house meet egress code and the MFG just mass produces them so they are now a stock item and cheaper for the builder.

This poses a problem when remodeling an older home, in most older homes the second floor windows are usually the same width but smaller in height than the first floor windows. If you where to build a full dormer on a 50 year old cape you would need to install egress windows on the second floor for the bedrooms to meet code. This would make all the second floor window larger and unproportionate to the first floor windows and closer to the floor, which by the way is unsafe for small children. The best way to solve this problem is to install casement windows on the second floor that have special egress hardware which allows them to open a full 90 degrees thus meeting code.

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Old 3/21/07, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: Minimum height for window

Quote:
Originally Posted by scosta
Is there a minimum height for second story window? At the home I just inspected they were single hung, only 18" off the floor. The buyer has a 3 year old, if they are left open, a screen wouldn't hold the kid in. I called it out to bring it to the buyer's attention, but what does code say?

Steve
Ohio Residential Code is still the IRC 2003.

There is NO height restrictions on window sills under the IRC 2003.... Ohio's current code.

Period.

What you cited is not a code violation nor any problem in Ohio whatsoever..
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Old 3/22/07, 5:27 AM
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David P. Valley David P. Valley is offline
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Default Re: Minimum height for window

Quote:
Originally Posted by scosta
Is there a minimum height for second story window? At the home I just inspected they were single hung, only 18" off the floor. The buyer has a 3 year old, if they are left open, a screen wouldn't hold the kid in. I called it out to bring it to the buyer's attention, but what does code say?

Steve
Steve,

I don't utilize codes on my home inspections, as I inspect in many cities with many code variations.

If I come upon a safety issue, (such as your situation with the window height above a floor or installed in a stairway) I simply recommend installing safety rails in front of said window to prevent anyone from falling through or out the window. There is absolutely nothing wrong with recommending.

It's great to have knowledge of all Codes, but stay away from reporting Codes.
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  #10  
Old 3/22/07, 9:58 AM
Dan Bowers, CMI Dan Bowers, CMI is offline
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Default Re: Minimum height for window

Are you a code inspector?? I am - but if the home is already built, has an occupancy permit, and is being lived in - its passed code.

On a pre-owned home what you see, is what you get. Folks we used to do it this way, but today we do it a different way for safety sake. You are just doing your clients a good turn by mentioning that with small children, they might want to take safety precautions - or not.

Its not broken, its not a defect, its not something the seller is gonna change, its just some good advice.
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  #11  
Old 3/22/07, 2:26 PM
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Default Re: Minimum height for window

Just to set the record straight. I don't do code inspections, I wanted to know if there was a code for my own knowlege. If there were a code, I would have said, "Current building standards blah blah blah". I did call it out because I feel its a safety hazard.

Steve
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Old 3/22/07, 3:03 PM
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Default Re: Minimum height for window

i believe there is a sq ft egress code for bedroom windows. most window companies (like pella or marvin) have reps that know the codes & will tell you quickly. under 18" (or is it 24") requires tempered (or is it safety) glass. there's also a max sill height (42"?)
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  #13  
Old 3/22/07, 5:07 PM
Larry Kage, CMI Larry Kage, CMI is offline
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Default Re: Minimum height for window

Quote:
Originally Posted by afrost
i believe there is a sq ft egress code for bedroom windows. most window companies (like pella or marvin) have reps that know the codes & will tell you quickly. under 18" (or is it 24") requires tempered (or is it safety) glass. there's also a max sill height (42"?)
This may help:
Attached Files
File Type: pdf egress windows.pdf (15.2 KB, 7167 views)



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  #14  
Old 3/22/07, 5:59 PM
jking2 jking2 is offline
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Default Re: Minimum height for window

It would help more if clearly written. What is "The maximum height difference between the finished grade, either above or below the window sill is 44"." supposed to mean?

Jim King
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Old 3/22/07, 7:21 PM
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Default Re: Minimum height for window

Quote:
Originally Posted by scosta
Just to set the record straight. I don't do code inspections, I wanted to know if there was a code for my own knowlege. If there were a code, I would have said, "Current building standards blah blah blah". I did call it out because I feel its a safety hazard.

Steve


IRC R308 Glazing

You might want to review IRC R308.4-Hazardess Locations.

If you are looking for a safety line, look at R308.4.7.
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