Making windows fit in 2nd story with porch

TammyTEOctober 12, 2012

We have found a builder that can build our plan within budget. A very tight budget. We originally had in mind a 10/12 pitch roof on a farmhouse style home with a 7 foot wide front porch and some dormers. He changed the main roof to 8/12 pitch which still looks okay. We've also had to lose the dormers/gables across the front. There is still the front porch to give it depth though.

BUT we can't get the 2nd story windows to fit. It seems the porch and main roof are crowding each other. He changed the pitch of the porch to 5/12 and that made the windows look better but he says they still aren't considered egress so we can't put a bedroom there.

Any suggestions? Let me know if you need other dimensions or pictures of the floorplan. I don't have a pic of the exterior.

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Several options (if you haven't already tried them):

--Roof pitch at 4/12 and/or roof only 5' deep over a 7' porch;
--Reduce the width of the porch from the full elevation sufficient to intall a resonable (and code compliant) height double-hung window at each end of the porch for the bedroom on each end;
--Can the code-required egress window for each bedroom be on the sides of the house facade that are perpendicular to the porch facade?
--If all else fails, substitute a well-designed horizontal pergola for the roof (the pergola can have plexi or other translucent materials to allow light, but prevent rain.

Good luck with your project!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:46PM
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Thanks for replying!

-One side of the house has a bump out of the main level with master bedroom. I think he was continuing the porch's roofline into that somehow.
-Other side of the house has a bump out of the mudroom and living room attaching to the garage. The roofline does not go around that corner. So it's not really a problem on that side as far as code/egress and such, I just want it to look nice from the front. ;-)

Interesting thought about making the porch roof not as deep as the porch itself. I'll have to see it but I'll mention it to the builder.

I so wish we had the money to do the lovely dormer'd look I so desire but we had to cute somewhere. The space inside is more important but I'm not sure how far we are willing to settle. ya know?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:51PM
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It's tight but here are the tricks to make it work:

1) Use a window model that meets the "emergency escape and rescue opening" requirement with the shortest R.O. (an Andersen 400 Tilt-Wash/Woodwright is only about 4'-9" X 3'-2", others might be 5'-2" X 3'-0")

2) Drop the porch roof the same dimension that you drop the decking (about 4")

3) Allow 4" above the porch roof to the window R.O. for flashing (that puts the rough sill at about 30" above the second floor and the rough head about 9" from the ceiling)

4) If the exterior head trim of the window is too close to the roof eave soffit, platform frame the attic floor, install a 2x6 plate at the perimeter and put the rafters on it. That will add enough space above the windows to install a continuous frieze board and head trim (about a foot). I have always framed houses this way.

Alternatively, you could raise the ceiling of the second floor a foot.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:54PM
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I have no idea what any of that means LOL but I am totally going to email it to my builder!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:55PM
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To be sure it will work I would need to know the ceiling heights, the floor joist sizes, whether or not there will be ceiling strapping, the roof overhang, the height of the porch and main roof facias and how much space you want above the windows for window treatment.

When it's tight you must draw everything accurately.

As has already been mentioned, each bedroom only needs one emergency escape and rescue window so it can be on another facade but if one must be on the front then the other might have to match it.

In some states (mine) the 20" width and 24" height can be reversed so the minimum size windows can be 4" shorter. Short double hung windows don't look bad if they are wide enough. High window sills can be desirable in a bedroom and the maximum emergency escape window stepover height can be 44".

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 5:21PM
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It would also help to know the window you want to use.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 5:22PM
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Oh I have no idea!

I know the main level is 9' ceiling, upstairs I think is 8' ceiling. The house is built with 4" walls. ...okay here's what the original bid says:

-all wall construction to be 2x4 16" oc with single top plate and double top plate
-floor system to be I joist with 3/4" osb decking
-roof system to be truss construction with 7/6" osb decking

does that help? I'm sorry I am clueless.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 5:26PM
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As for window size. I don't know. Just something that looks nice on the front. :) Not sure if this was a good idea or not, but I just bought some new windows from a distant cousin that is retiring from being a contractor for 30 years. Here is the list of the windows I bought off him:

"I have some new Anderson windows for sale. White exterior. White prefinished interior. Tilt sashes. 4-9/16 jambs. 1-2032 single. 5-3050-2 doubles. 2-2056-2 doubles."

I figured we could use them someplace. Of course we will have to buy more but we got these for 40% the cost we would have had to pay so I hope we can make them work. Some are "mulled"(?) together but I understand can be separated if needed.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 5:31PM
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The height of the I-joists is important.

I assume you mean Andersen windows and if so the 2032 and 2056 are too narrow and the 3056 is not an Andersen size but I suspect it is too too tall for over the porch.

The use of trusses makes it impossible to say how this could be done. I would need to see the truss design and support detail. You will probably have to lower the porch roof slope to 4 in 12.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 7:05PM
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Yes they are Anderson. 200 series I believe.

The narrow ones I thought would work for the back or side of the house for a bath or laundry room.

Are trusses bad?

Would a 4/12 look bad?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 7:10PM
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You have a tight budget.
You aren't getting/building the house you really want.

This is not a good start. Unless you and your builder have planned every last detail to the penny, you will have unforseen expenses. I would wait/save some more till I could get the house I wanted and be sure I could cover any unexpected expenses.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 8:05PM
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It's OK to use a few Andersen 200 series windows but I would try to get at least the 400 series Tilt Wash for the rest of the house.

I don't know where you live but in a cold climate you need 2x6 studs just to meet the energy code.

If you dropped the entire porch roof structure another 4" from what I originally recommended and the bottom of the truss overhang is high enough for the trim boards everything should work.

The only way to know is to draw a wall section very carefully. I could do that if I knew the truss support and roof eave detail.

Trusses save money and many houses discussed on this forum have used them but I have never used them nor have I seen them used for a single-family house; it's a multi-family developer technique in the northeast perhaps because attic space is of such great value.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 8:26PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Raise the ceiling height of the second floor.

And yes, if you're having trouble with your budget now, you really need to wait until you have more money on hand before you start. You NEED at least a 20% contingency budget, and you'll probably spend every penny of that. The trouble comes when you've spent that contingency money and still aren't finished and the bank won't lend you any more because you're maxed out at the top of the appraisal.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 8:48PM
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Thank you all! I agree we are running tighter than I would like. We are trying to get harder numbers from the builder before we started. This budget was set to keep us with as little debt as possible. Dh and I truly truly do NOT want to go over budget but I will admit that $5k wouldn't be horrible. We would have to rethink some other things, ie., how big we build the pole barn, but I think it's still doable. At least at this point I do. I am trying hard to think ahead as much as possible to have fewer surprises later.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 11:33PM
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There is no substitute for drawing the house accurately. If the builder is not going to do that you need to find someone who will. The budget will be meaningless if you don't have good design documents.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 11:52PM
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