If you are in the process of building or renovating a home, this is the article for you! Though windows are an essential part of any home, you may not think of them much until you need to change them. There are many guidelines you will need to follow, including the standard height recommendations.
The standard window height from the floor is about 3 feet (91cm). From the ceiling, the standard is about 18 inches (46cm). This setup allows you to place furniture near the window, without blocking it. Plus, these guidelines are essential for safety.
You will want to be familiar with the standard window height, especially if you want to make changes soon! Everything you need to know is in the article below.
Table of Contents
The height requirements of windows are something we do not think about very often because they do not pertain to our daily lives. However, you will want to know this information as a homeowner.
The International Code Requirements set a standard window height, but this is not a set-in-stone rule. There is some flexibility, but building codes do put some restrictions in place. So, if you wanted floor-to-ceiling windows, there could be some complications with that.
The standard height from the floor is 3 feet (91 cm) and approximately 18 inches (46cm) from this ceiling. For safety purposes, windows should not be more than 44 inches (111cm) from the floor, while second-story windows should be no more than 24 inches (61cm) from the floor.
Having a standard window height might not seem important. After all, they are just windows and surely the height cannot make that much of a difference! However, the height of the window makes a difference for many reasons.
Here are some of the reasons why we have standard window heights:
Windows are more of a safety hazard than we might think. We have all seen the Action movies and television shows where someone jumps out a window and lives- that is not a reflection of real life!
Annually, more than 4,000 children receive medical attention because they fell from a window. On average, 12 of those kids die due to these falls. This heartbreaking statistic is one of the many reasons there are building codes for windows.
Having an accessible escape route is another reason for these requirements. If your house is on fire, all escape options must be available to you! You might have more difficulty escaping high windows, which could lead to fatalities.
If you live in a one story house, this might not be as big of an issue as you will have several escape routes at your disposal. However, the window height is still something to be mindful of in case a fire breaks out.
If you live in an area with a high burglary rate, your window height is something to consider. Most burglars enter and exit the home through a window. So, if you have smaller windows, a burglar is less likely to try to rob your house. However, the downfall to choosing smaller windows is that you will not be able to escape quickly in the event of a fire.
If you were wondering just how vital it is to follow these window height requirements, we hope this convinces you of their importance.
Floor-to-ceiling windows probably seem impossible now due to the requirements, but you can still have them. If you have watched a celebrity house tour, 9 out of 10 of those houses seem to have floor-to-ceiling windows.
Surely these windows break The International Code Requirements, right? Floor-to-ceiling windows throw out the standard height rules, and it is not without a high cost!
These windows can cost between $700 to $1600 per linear foot. This price does not factor in the cost of the curtains you will need to cover them, or the cooling and heating bills you will receive because these windows are hard to insulate.
Still, if you like the look of floor-to-ceiling windows, you can consider a sizable sliding door, which will give you the same look without breaking the bank.
These requirements show that floor-to-ceiling windows will be harder to own, but not impossible. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stick with traditional windows.
You can consider various window types when building or renovating your home. Here are some window types you can use if you want to move away from traditional windows:
- Awning Windows: These windows are less than 4 feet wide. They range from 2 feet to 8 feet tall.
- Bay Windows: Widths range from 3 ½ feet to 10 ½ feet. Heights range from 3 feet to 6 ½ feet.
- Casement Windows: These windows are less than 3 feet wide. They range from 2 ½ feet to 6 ½ feet tall.
- Picture Windows: These windows vary from 2 to 8 feet in height and width.
- Sliding Windows: Standard width ranges from 3 feet to 7 feet. The standard height is 2 feet to 5 feet.
Other Factors to Consider
Safety is not the only thing to consider when choosing your windows. There are other important factors to consider as well, like these:
If you live in a warmer state like Florida or California, you know how pricey the electric bill can be during the Summer! Your air conditioner gets a workout during those warmer months with the temperature in the 80s, 90s, and sometimes the 100s. And your wallet is the one left sweating as a result.
Factoring in ventilation and sun exposure is also considered when choosing windows. Having the right windows in the right places can help cut down cooling costs. They can let in the most light to save on electric costs and keep your indoor plants happy.
If you live in a colder state like Alaska, you know how pricey the electric bill can be during the Winter! With the temperature dropping to unimaginable lows, you can only put on so many clothing layers. That means you need to crank up the heater and watch the money melt from your wallet.
Heating is another significant factor to consider for these reasons. Windows will always let cool air in, so figure out what rooms will be the draftiest in the colder months. Larger windows let in more draft than smaller windows, making smaller windows a better choice.
The window height also plays a deciding role in the type of furniture you can have in your home. You will want furnishings that can fit easily under a window, like a console table or small bookshelf.
You will also want your furniture to fit well within the space. Bookshelves covering the window will block out the natural light and look awkward. Placing your television on the wall opposite a window could cause a glare while you are watching a movie.
By having a standard window height for your home, you can make smarter decisions about the size and placement of your furniture.
Aesthetics is another factor to consider when choosing windows for your home. The outside of your home is what people notice first, so choosing windows that look good and match your aesthetic is vital to creating a well-rounded atmosphere.
If you are designing a more modern home, picture windows can be an excellent choice for a sleek look. These windows are also perfect for displaying a pleasant view.
If your aesthetic is more Victorian Goth, you are more likely to choose an arched, rose, or wheel window. These windows give your home that old-school feel and are perfect for celebrating Halloween all year round.
Depending on your budget and the age of your home, it might not be the right time to change your windows. In those situations, we suggest sprucing up your windows with a fresh coat of paint and some new curtains to match the style you want.
When choosing a window, it is essential to base it on the size of the room. Factors like privacy and functionality can shape which windows you choose for a room. Let us take a look at some of the best window options for each room of your home:
The bathroom is one room where privacy will be the most significant factor in deciding what windows you choose. You don’t want neighbors or your mailman to peek at you while using the toilet or coming out of the shower.
Bathrooms need ventilation so mold and mildew don’t build-up, so a window is necessary for the bathroom. If you are worried about privacy, skylights windows are a great option. Shorter windows like awnings can also be put higher to help keep things private.
If you are still feeling a little paranoid about privacy, you can always get glass block windows that give you natural light and provide excellent privacy.
The bedroom is another room where privacy matters. With this room constantly in use for activities like sleep, dressing, and other intimate matters, you will not want anyone to see what you are doing in there.
Glass block or transom windows are great options for the bedroom. They let in the light and prevent people from being able to look into your bedroom. A double-hung window can also be an excellent option for those breezy days and can be concealed with blinds, curtains, or shutters.
If your bedroom has a deck, a sliding glass door is a wonderful option that can be covered with blinds or curtains. And if you miss seeing the stars or feel slightly adventurous, you can always install a skylight.
Sliding windows have sleek and stylish features that complement many room designs. They offer plenty of ventilation and lighting, so you can keep those lights off during the hot summer while you eat dinner.
Picture windows are another option, especially if there is a beautiful view on the other side of your dining room wall. Imagine how nice it would be to eat your dinner while taking in a beautiful view of a lake, forest, or grassy field.
Though windows are not necessary for a dining room, they can actually up the look of your home, and add some value to it.
The best windows to use for this room depend on the type of kitchen you have. If your kitchen is full of cabinets, a double-hung window would not be a good choice because it would be difficult to open.
If you don’t have a lot of cabinets, then casement windows are your best option. They only open from one side, making them easy to open and close. If you want more than one window, you can do a row of them. You can also consider a medium-sized awning window.
The type of window you want for this room will depend on the kind of home you live in. If you live in a house that faces another house, you most likely will not want bigger windows in this room. However, if your living room faces the ocean, more oversized windows will be a must!
If your living room has a deck or patio attached to it, glass doors and enormous windows will make the room feel larger than it is. These more oversized windows allow a touch of nature into your home and plenty of light to come in as well. The right curtains or blinds can help keep this area private when you are ready to wind down for the night or spend time with your family.
To summarize, the standard height from the floor is 3 feet and 18 inches from the ceiling. Second-story windows should be no more than 24 inches from the floor. And for safety purposes, windows should be no more than 44 inches from the floor.
So when choosing the windows for your home, it is vital to keep these requirements in mind and have fun with the process. You can use windows to express the aesthetic of your home in any way you choose, if they meet these requirements!
You may also like: How to Open a Window From the Outside