How deep should a window sill be?

The thickness of a window sill is one of the most important factors when it comes to determining whether or not your home needs new windows. A thicker window sill will allow more light into your house. However, if you have children in the room, then having too much light can cause them to get sunburned easily. If you want to avoid such problems, then a thinner window sill may be better for you.

How Thick Should My Window Sill Be?

It is very difficult to determine exactly how thick your window sill should be. There are many variables that come into play when it comes to measuring window sills. For example, do you live in a cold climate where the temperature fluctuates all year round? Do you have a small child who likes to climb up on furniture? Does your house have stairs going down into the basement? These are just some of the things that will affect how thick your window sill should be.

There are two main ways to measure window sills:

You can use a tape measure. You can take measurements with a level.

A tape measure is the easiest way to determine how thick your window sill should be. Take the measurement from the top of your door frame (where you hang pictures) until you reach the bottom of your window sill. Then add 1/2 inch for every foot above that point, up to 5 feet.

For example, let’s say your tape measure says your window sill is 48 inches off the floor. Your tape measure should say there are 18 feet from the top of your door frame to the bottom of your window sill. Add another 2 inches because your measurement is above 5 feet in height.

(5 feet + 2 inches = 7 feet total). That gives you a total of “20” when you add 1 and 8.

Now you know that your ideal window sill should be about 20 inches off the floor.

Alternatively, you can use a level to determine how thick your window sill should be. While this requires more work, it is a much more precise way of measuring window sills. Using a level is also a great way of finding furniture placement in your home.

Place your level on the top of your entryway door frame. Move the level across your door until it is at the bottom of your window sill. Make sure the bubble in the middle of the level is perfectly horizontal.

Mark down the distance between the two using a piece of painter’s tape measure or a ruler. Add 1/2-inch for every foot above 8 feet, up to 5 feet total. For example, let’s say your measurement was 10 feet 6 inches. You would add 1 and 6 inches, which equals 7 feet. (8 feet – 1 foot = 7 feet).

Now you know that your ideal window sill should be about 7 feet off the floor.

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How to Make a Window Sill (Installing A Window Sill)

Purchasing a window sill is a little more complicated than picking one out from a catalog or going to your local home improvement store. There are many different types of window sills and each one has unique installation instructions. Before you shop for a window sill, you should have an idea of how you plan on installing it.

For example, do you plan on doing the work yourself or will you be hiring a professional?

You can either install a window sill on top of your existing framing or you can build and frame a new wall and mount the window sill in the opening. If you are installing a window sill on top of your existing framing, you will have to remove your existing window sill.

If you are building a new wall and installing a window sill within the opening, you will need to frame the wall before installing your window sill.

You can either frame your wall with 2x4s or you can use laminated 2x6s or 2x8s for added strength. If you frame your wall using 2x4s, you will need to use metal “Z” brackets to help reinforce your wall. These metal brackets are nailed to the studs and then the window sill is installed on top of them.

The framing process involves the same general procedures for building any type of wall. It is beyond the scope of this article to explain these procedures. You can find more information by doing an online search for “building a wall” or consulting your local home improvement store.

What Type Of Window Sill Should You Buy?

There are many different types of window sills on the market today. They vary greatly in style and price. Some options, such as pre-made vinyl window sills, can be installed in a day for less than $100.

Other more decorative window sills can cost several hundred dollars and require several days to install.

Decide what you want and need from a window sill before you start shopping.

The most common types of window sills are:

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Vinyl & Aluminum Vinyl window sills are very easy to install, but they do not look like real wood. They also do not have the natural characteristics of wood such as “breathing” (they do not expand and contract with humidity changes). If you decide to build a new wall and want it to be maintenance free, vinyl window sills are a good option.

Aluminum window sills are very durable and come in many different finishes. They also can incorporate decorative features such as wood grain or marble. Just keep in mind that these types of window sills are very heavy and often require reinforcements when installed in larger opening such as sliding glass doors.

Wooden window sills are made from real wood and can be very attractive. The main drawback with wooden window sills is they require maintenance. The wood must be sealed and treated every one to two years depending on the type of wood.

Also, wooden window sills are prone to warping and cracking as the wood ages.

Stamped concrete window sills offer many of the low-maintenance qualities of vinyl without looking like vinyl. Stamped concrete is also very strong and can be made in a variety of colors and patterns to look like natural stone.

Pre-Assembled Wooden Window Sills: There are several companies that sell wooden window sills that are already assembled. These window sills are very attractive and come with most of the materials needed for installation (you will still need to purchase some wood glue and some PVC pipe to act as piers).

The major downsides to these window sills are: they are very expensive, the company won’t ship them to your home, and there is a shipping charge of approximately $200. Also, some of these window sills require you to buy additional components from the company such as threshold pieces or carpentry work (i.e.

rafter installation) if you are installing the sill in an opening that doesn’t have any existing rafters.

These window sills are a good option if you are looking for something very attractive and don’t want to get involved in a major carpentry project. Just keep in mind that these window sills are expensive and you will still need to pay around $200 in shipping costs.

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Can You Build A Window Sill Out Of Pipes?

Some people wonder if they can build a window sill out of PVC pipes. If you feel comfortable working with PVC and have the time and tools to do so, it is certainly a possibility.

A better solution might be to use some sort of decorative metal sill (such as steel or iron) and attach it to your house using metal L-brackets installed directly into the studs in your house.

There are pros and cons to each solution (pipes vs. metal). For example, metal window sills tend to be heavy and can make your window difficult to open.

They also require maintenance to keep them from rusting. On the plus side, they provide excellent insulation and will make your window very strong so it won’t break easily in an earthquake.

PVC window sills are lightweight, easy to install, relatively cheap and don’t require much maintenance. The downside is they provide virtually no insulation so you’ll get a lot of heat loss in the winter and gain a lot of heat in the summer. Also, they are prone to cracking if they aren’t supported correctly.

However, if you are on a budget and just want a quick solution these might be ideal for you.

Metal window sills (such as steel or iron) are very strong and can provide excellent protection against intruders. They are also very good at resisting heat transfer (i.e.

they help keep the heat in during the winter and out during the summer). The downside is they can be quite heavy and require a lot of maintenance to prevent them from rusting.

You will need to decide which type of sill is best for your particular needs and situation.

In any case, you are probably going to want to attach the sill to your house using metal L-brackets. Make sure you also buy wood glue and drill holes into your house’s studs before installing the brackets (this will help keep the brackets in place better).

If you go with the PVC pipe solution you are also going to want to caulk all of the seams with PVC pipe sealant (to keep out water).

Here is an example of a sill that has been attached to the house using L-brackets and wood glue:

This window sill was made out of pressure treated wood. It has been sealed, caulked and installed using metal L-brackets which were bolted into the studs in the wall.

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A window sill like this one can easily be attached to your house in a few hours by any moderately experienced do-it-yourselfer. Expect to pay around $50 for the wood and hardware.

Can I Use Vinyl Siding?

If you are a renter, or just don’t want to mess around with wood, you might consider using vinyl siding to cover your house. It provides a fairly high level of protection and is relatively easy to install.

Asphalt (commonly called felt) siding is another commonly used option. Although less expensive than other types, it tends to be easily damaged by high winds and should only be used on lower portions of the house.

If you live in a high wind area you may want to use steel panels to protect your walls instead.

For example, the photo below shows a house with vinyl siding, steel panels and asphalt (felt) siding:

A home with vinyl siding, steel paneling and asphalt (fel)t siding.

Any of these types of siding can be installed over your wall studs or over your existing wall covering (such as wood, brick or stone). If you choose to use it you must first remove all of the exterior sheathing and interior wall coverings.

Installation is relatively easy for the average do-it-yourselfer. Although, professional contractors usually get better looking results because they are more experienced at using this type of material.

How much does it cost?

The cost of installing siding varies widely depending on the type of material and method used. In most cases it will run $5-$10 per square foot.

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Also, keep in mind that if you add a new layer of siding over your existing wall covering you will need to remove and dispose of your old materials before installing the new ones. Because of this factor, adding a new layer of siding often costs about 50% more than completely replacing it.

Using this calculator, you can see the cost of various types of siding on your house at different square foot coverage levels: Siding Installation Calculator (Estimate)

Will my insurance rates go down?

Probably not. Adding siding to your house will only protect it to a certain extent. Unless you live in an area that receives a lot of hail or hurricane damage, your insurance company is unlikely to reduce your premiums.

However, if you live in an area that suffers from extreme weather your replacement value should be higher and this may result in a small reduction.

My house is made of stone or brick, do I still need to install siding?

If your house is made out of brick or stone then it most likely does not need siding. However, it may need repairs on the underlying sheathing or framing members (which are probably hidden from view).

If you are not sure if your house needs repair, hire a contractor to inspect for the following issues:

Check all exterior walls for cracks in the brick or stone.

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Also look for soft patches (indicating possible bowing of framing members) or hard patches (indicating areas where mortar has fallen out).

Finally check to see if the wall is “breathing.” This means you should be able to push on it and make a dent. This indicates that there is no sheathing or insulation behind it to keep it rigid.

Where can I get more information?

This website : Check out the rest of this website for additional information on siding, as well as other home improvement related topics.

Building department : Your local building department should be able to provide detailed specifications for the types of siding that are most commonly used in your area. Also, they should be able to provide you with the manufacturer’s contact information for each type of siding.

If you do not know who to talk to, just go down to your local building department and ask to speak with the building code official.

Siding manufacturers: Each type of siding is manufactured by a different company. The manufacturer of the product you choose will be able to answer your questions about installation, as well as provide you with instructions, warranties, and possibly samples of their product.

Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.

Sources & references used in this article: