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    Enlarging 2nd Floor Window at Top of Stairs

    Enlarging 2nd Floor Window at Top of Stairs

    New postby Ken OD on Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:07 pm

    I own a bungalow in Michigan and I'd like to enlarge the window opening on the 2nd floor gable-end of the house. The window is next to the landing. The new brick opening will be approximately 62" wide. The sill height will remain at 25 inches. The old windows was a single double-hung. The plan for the new window will be two awning windows, 31"x18", with a fixed window above.

    Are there any issues with making this change? Am I allowed to have a window this wide next to the top of the stairs? Would the awning windows be considered egress windows?

    Ken OD
    Posts: 1
    Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:27 pm

    Re: Enlarging 2nd Floor Window at Top of Stairs

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:14 pm

    Hi Ken,

    A bungalow is a style of house, a one-story house, sometimes used for 1-1/2 story houses but mainly with one-story houses.

    You area enlarging the window in width, which means a lot of structural work will be involved as the original window header will be too short, and the new header needed may well need to be larger (higher, made from larger lumber).

    There there are brick veneer structural issues which will need to be addressed.

    The existing will window should be safety glass, but, depending on its age, it may not have been required when it was installed - the new window, however, will be required to be safety glass.

    While I am on safety glass ... I will recommend the window be laminated safety glass - here is why:
    - Window not safety glass: means you fall through the window and land on large shards of glass, or the large shards of glass land on you, resulting in serious injuries from the fall and from being cut up by the large shards of glass.
    - Window is safety glass: means you fall through the window and land on small pieces of glass, or small pieces of glass land on you, resulting in serious injuries from the fall, less serious or limited injuries from the small pieces of glass.
    - Window laminated safety glass: means you do not fall through the window as the glass breaks into small pieces but the window stays in place (think of a car windshield, they are laminated safety glass).

    You really need to have this permitted and reviewed through your local building department, even if you are in an area where permits and inspections are not done, and get a structural engineer to design the structural changes you will be making.

    Keep in mind that when the windows are open you now have "openings in the walls" and the floor you are walking on is more than 30" above the grade on the other side. I would also give serious consideration to installing a guard at those windows to keep someone from falling through the open window.

    The width of the window would not be a problem code-wise, and it is not at a bedroom thus it would not be considered an emergency escape and rescue opening.
    Jerry Peck - CodeMan

    Construction and Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC.
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