Starting build - 3052 window is it big enough

jennybcMarch 11, 2013

We have come up with our plans, gotten our building permit and they begin digging tomorrow! But I am still not sure about window sizes! I'm starting to panic. I love the 6'8" doors with transoms in a 9' ceiling space, but I have no idea how big the windows should be. I know I want to raise them to give a better view but I'm not sure if a 3052 (3'x5'2") will be tall enough. Once I know the window size/placement I can carry the header height around the entire first floor with the wraparound porch and balance the windows from there.
I have searched and I did find some references with pictures in Tinkers post about 9' ceilings and the comparison between 6'8" doors with transoms and taller windows. I loved her comparisons but there were no dimensions that I could see. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Pictures/diagrams greatly welcomed as well.


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What is the head height for the transome over the 6'-8" door? Will that be the head height for all windows, or will the windows have transoms?

Basically you have two choices:
--Use the transom head height for overall consistency throughout the first floor;
--Choose some other standard height for window heads and have the door stand out as an exception.

The higher the window head, the more light will be admitted deeper into the room. In my colonial house the window heads on the first floor are framed so that the 4" interior trim is flush with the ceiling, making the windows as close to the ceiling as they can be. In a classic colonial, this is a great advantage, since it maximizes the interior light for a relatively few windows.

Good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 9:20AM
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How close do you want them to come down to your floor?

I have a classic cape cod house with double hungs. First floor ceiling is 8' and my windows are 2650 (30inches x 60inches). The windows sit about 1' down from the ceiling and 28" off the floor.

The upstairs has 2640 double hungs, set high within the dormer (from the outside, it looks normal, but the inside, the trim is right at the ceiling--so probably like VC--about 4" down.)

The proportions are great on them.

The upstairs ones do bring light into the room better than the downstairs ones because they are set higher to the ceiling.

The downstairs ones limit placement of furniture or else the furniture blocks a portion of them. We've chosen to set the couch against the window wall for now (we have a small home, and a small LR with lots of "traffic paths" so, it needs to sit where it needs to sit).

I also have a pair of single hung 3040 (3x4) windows in a back bedroom (I think they were used for egress; not sure). If I pretend they went to the ceiling, to give me your proportions, they would probably be okay proportion-wise. They are about 38" finished sill height off the floor. In your 9' ceilinged house, they'd have a feeling of being more retangular and less squat than my 3040s in this room. If you had 12" of header room, then your proposed 3052s would be fine. I think if you shorten your header though, you will feel like you are looking over your wall edge to see out (the bottoms will be too tall).

So, figure out where you want the bottom of the window to land in your spaces.

One other thing to consider--will you have any grids in your windows? If so, be sure the proportions you pick lend itself to the shape of grid you want... Sounds silly, but if you wanted 6 light panes, and you ended up with square "lites" and you really wanted vertical rectangle ones, you'd be disappointed. The same is true for people who put in a transom above a door, but when all said and done it looks "squatty".

Maybe that will help for your consideration.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 11:24AM
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One last thing~
when I was trying to make window size decisions for my remodel/addition, I drew some wall perspectives by hand with graph paper and drew different options for sizes of windows.

Take a room/wall from your plan, and draw it *to 9' high* and its width, and then draw in different sized windows. That should give you a better idea of placement too.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 11:26AM
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YOu can also use Google Sketchup to do what kirkhall described. My first floor has 10' ceilings and the windows sit 2' from the ceiling and 2' from the floor. We have 8 ft doors as well so the tops are all uniform.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 12:17PM
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Thank you all for the responses. I'm thinking the windows will work! Still have to sketch to make sure.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 7:40AM
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We used 3052 windows on the first floor, set at 7' high, and using 7' high doors (we only have a handful on the first floor), so that header heights match. With a 5 1/2" crown molding, and 3 1/2" casing I think it looks just right and not very squished.

We have a deep front porch, so setting them higher in the front of the house wasn't really viable. If you have trim on the windows outside, you should also consider how it will work with your elevation if you move the windows higher.

We find that we're getting lots of light, and while we were very worried that we set them too low for a 9' high ceiling, i think it worked out pretty much perfectly. The only thing I would have done differently is probably get a 8' high patio door. The andersen french door is only 6'11", but it's actually shorter than that.

I'll post some pics later.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:04PM
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If a window comes within a certain inch of the floor you have to have teempered windows which cost more.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:21PM
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Here's a pic of the 3052 windows I promised. The kitchen will also be getting 5" crown molding, which will make the space between top of window and ceiling look smaller.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 12:23PM
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Does 3052 refer to the rough opening, the frame size, or the sash size?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 6:40PM
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Ok, Just to update. I used the designer suite to plug in the 3052 windows that my husband thought were plenty big enough. Raised them to match the transom over doors height and started printing pictures. Printed them at regular height 6'8" and higher. Also printed pictures of the raised windows but taller 3060. Husband said go bigger! Said there was too much space below the windows when raising the smaller 3052. So Now pricing the difference to see if its what we want to do!
Thanks for the suggestions!
And 18" floor to bottom of the window is our limit code wise.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 8:56AM
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18" is not a building code limit for the bottom of all windows. Only if the exposed area of the lower individual glass pane is larger than 9 s.f. AND the bottom of that pane is lower than 18" above the floor AND that glass pane is not tempered is it prohibited.

To trigger that requirement requires a very large double-hung window, often one of the 2 or 3 largest standard sizes a manufacturer makes, if they even make one that large, and an unwillingness to pay for tempered glass.

Don't design with the builder's generic window sizes. Pick the window you want and check the actual vertical and horizontal exposed glass dimensions in the catalog and calculate the exposed glass area. For instance, the 18" high untempered glass restriction would usually only apply to a doulbe-hung with a "frame size" greater than 3-6 wide X 6-8 high.

Design what you want; don't let common misinterpretations of the buidling code restrict you. A window can sit on the floor if the lower glass pane is smaller than 9 s.f. or tempered.

There are, of course, requirements for tempered glass near doors and stairs.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 11:38PM
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Thanks so much for the info! I think the larger windows (3060) look right and balanced with the 9' ceilings and will probably be close to 2' from the ground with a 12" header. Will probably match the door transom heights.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:54PM
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Thanks so much for the info! I think the larger windows (3060) look right and balanced with the 9' ceilings and will probably be close to 2' from the ground with a 12" header. Will probably match the door transom heights.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:55PM
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