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Legal Requirements for Residential Windows

During home renovation of any kind, it’s important to know the local building codes and recommendations to keep your work legally compliant. This principle applies to everything you could possibly need to renovate or replace, including windows! What do you know about the legal requirements for your windows?

Legal guidelines for replacement windows focus primarily on safety and energy efficiency. Most window providers take these codes into account during the initial quoting process but it is also important to make sure that the placement and installation of these windows are in the proper locations that will satisfy a home inspection. Here are some of the main code requirements you should keep in mind during your renovation project.

Egress requirements state that there must be an operable window or door in every bedroom that leads directly outside in case of emergencies. There are several ways to satisfy Egress code, but it ‘s most commonly accomplished by installing a window that meets the standards. An Egress-compliant window must meet all of these dimensions:

  • The unobstructed opening must be a minimum of 20 inches wide and 24 inches high, though one or both dimensions will need to be greater than this so that …
  • The clear opening must be a minimum of 5.7 square feet (5 sq. ft for ground floor windows), and
  • The window sill must be a maximum of 44 inches above the floor

 

Dimensions aren’t the only things to worry about when it comes to window safety. If you’re replacing windows installed before 1978, chances are that they contain potentially dangerous lead paint. This is especially concerning for families with small children. Review the EPA’s guidelines for renovating pre-1978 homes and consult with your window manufacturer for any further information.

Safety

Certain locations, such as bathrooms or adjacent to stairs, are required to use tempered glass for safety. There are many situations where tempered glass is required, with the most common ones being:

  • Windows or sidelights within 24 inches of a door must use tempered glass
  • Any window larger than 9 square feet and less than 18 inches off the floor must use tempered glass
  • Any window less than 60 inches from the floor of a bathtub or shower must use tempered glass
  • Any window on a staircase landing or within 60 inches of a landing or staircase tread in any direction must use tempered glass

Pro Tip: Tempering glass makes it 4 times stronger than the same thickness of standard glass, so consider using tempered glass for very large windows to add both safety and strength!

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is the primary reason that most people become interested in replacing their old windows and Texas has adopted the Energy Star standards as the requirements for our state. While there are a number of technical specifications involved, it is important to note that every window sold by Custom Windows will meet Texas code and Energy Star requirements. So while we are happy to discuss the technical details and differences between different window materials, you can be sure that a Custom Windows replacement of your existing windows will meet the toughest standards and provide excellent energy efficiency.

Installing the Best Windows Possible

The legal code governing window installation was designed to help homeowners find the safest, most energy-efficient windows on the market. A trained and experienced company, such as the team at Custom Windows, have these rules in mind to eliminate any guesswork so that you can focus on customizing your home. By keeping your windows compliant with local regulations, you’re ensuring you get an excellent set of windows that will last for years to come.

Connect with us to learn more about how we meet and exceed legal window requirements for your home.