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Code Sill Height

vetitude | Posted in Building Code Questions on

Currently planning major energy upgrade remodel for two-story New England farm house/Greek Revival home mid-coast Maine. The existing ancient double-hung windows with rope pulleys on the second and third floors are approximately 32×56, and I would like to replace them with similarly sized updated windows. The problem–the sills of the current windows are about 10 inches off the floor.

Code says if windows are more than 6 ft off the ground then floor to sill distance needs to be 24 inches. If I am replacing existing do I need to follow that rule and make my windows 32 x 42? This would be less desirable from a DLO perspective as well as from an architectual appearance perspective.

The American Glass Association recommends tempered glass in this situation, which suggests that it is possible to do??? but not sure I want to follow an industry lobbying group’s recommendations, especially if it violates code.

Any advice on my options here? Picture attached–second and third floor windows would be effected. First floor windows are just shy of 24″ above floor.


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  1. aaron_p | | #1

    Not sure what code version you fall under and it may vary by locale, but under the few versions of IRC I checked - Appendix AJ102.4.4 Window Control Devices has some stipulations you could use with your situation. Basically, I believe you could use the window opening control devices on the new window in lieu of changing your window size. These devices, if you are unfamiliar, limit the initial window opening to 4" (to avoid accidental falls). They can be overridden to open further, but reactivate when you close the window.

    1. vetitude | | #2

      Thanks for looking into that for me. That seems like a great solution to my problem.

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