How much do windows need to stick out?
The answer depends on several factors. These include: the type of home, its size, the style of house, the age of your home and many other things. All these factors are different from one another. The best way to determine what is right for you is to consult with a professional who specializes in this area.
A good example would be a local roofer or contractor. You may want to contact them if you have any questions about your particular situation.
If you live in a small town, then it is likely that the average height of your house will not exceed six feet (two meters). If so, then the window sills should be no higher than three feet (one meter) above ground level. If you live in a big city, then the average height of your house might be higher than six feet (two meters), but it is very unlikely that it will reach seven or eight feet (2.1-2.3 m).
In such cases, the window sills should be no higher than two and a half feet (0.6 m) above ground level.
What does “no higher” mean?
In order to comply with building regulations, the bottom of the window must be at least forty-eight inches (1.2 meters) above ground level. The top of the window cannot be any higher than four feet (1.2 meters) above the ground.
In other words, the distance from the bottom of the window to the top cannot be higher than three feet (0.9 meters). That means you have roughly a one foot (0.3 meters) “buffer” zone. Since the side window jambs are usually ten to twelve inches (25-30 centimeters) deep, you have roughly 8 to 9 inches (20-23 centimeters) of space at each end of the window.
What’s the bottom line?
For a standard window size, like a double-hung six by three (66 cm high by 23 cm wide), the bottom of the window should be no less than forty-eight inches (1.2 meters) and no more than fifty-four inches (1.4 meters) above ground level. The top of the window should be no higher than forty inches (1.1 meters) above ground level.
This assumes that a standard eight and a half by eleven inch sheet of paper (22cmx28cm) can be fully inserted into the opening when the window is at its lowest position. If this cannot happen, it means that the window is too low and needs to be raised.
If your house is two stories high, the bottom line for windows on the first floor (assuming they are within reach) is forty-eight inches (1.2 meters) and the top line is forty-two inches (1.1 meters). If your house has a basement or cellar, then “ground level” refers to the floor at the foot of the exterior stairs leading up from the basement.
If the window is below this floor, the bottom of the window should be no less than forty-eight inches and no more than fifty-four inches above the basement floor.
What about window locks?
If your windows don’t already have them, you might want to consider installing security devices, such as a “Lifesaver” type device that screws into the window frame and prevents the window from being opened more than a few inches. Other devices include those that screw into the window frame and latch onto the window sill when the window is shut, such as the “Defender” model. Another fairly effective device (but no longer available) was a magent that adhered to the window itself and which had to be broken in order to open the window more than a few inches.
I live in a high rise apartment building. What do I need to know?
Many high rise apartments have external windows that open, either fully or partially. These windows may be located in a living room, bedroom, or bathroom. In some cases, there may be just one per room while in other cases there may be as many as three per room. If you live on the ground floor, then your windows probably do not open at all and are therefore not be at risk if the power goes out.
Sources & references used in this article:
- How Far Can You Go?: Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year Award 1980 (D Lodge – 2012 – books.google.com)
- Bulbs in the Basement, Geraniums on the Windowsill: How to Grow & Overwinter 165 Tender Plants (A McGowan, B McGowan – 2012 – books.google.com)
- The use of meteorological profiles to predict the peak sound‐pressure level at distance from small explosions (G Kerry, DJ Saunders, AG Sills – The Journal of the Acoustical …, 1987 – asa.scitation.org)
- Leverage tool for opening sticking windows (S Liberfarb – US Patent 6,170,803, 2001 – Google Patents)
- How patients and nurses experience the acute care psychiatric environment (MM Shattell, M Andes, SP Thomas – Nursing Inquiry, 2008 – Wiley Online Library)
- Tale of Diversity: A Play in One Act (B Burnaby – 1999 – Taylor & Francis)
- The nature of light and colour in the open air (M Minnaert – 2013 – books.google.com)