Does it need to be tempered?

rkb21March 1, 2013

Hi. A question came up for me while getting all of my bids for the new windows.

Our DH windows are about 7in up from the ground and the lower glass is about 27 x 31 inches.

If I'm reading the code correctly, then even though it's less than 18in from the floor, since the square footage is less than 9, it doesn't need to be tempered.

Is that right?

One of the dealers said it had to be tempered. The others did not.


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By code, no, they do not need to be tempered following the nine square foot rule but I have had inspectors fight me on it. I would just get a clear interpretation on it by your local building department prior to order so you are not replacing glass after the fact.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:19AM
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I believe that proximity to the floor needs to be tempered regardless of the size.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:48AM
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BIG +1 to eastbay's comments... Local building inspectors can pretty much say whatever they want unless you want to spend all of the time and effort it would take to fight them on it and burn a bridge in the process. We recommend it in that situation regardless of the size of the glass just because I have had too many inspectors flag it (incorrectly), and then I'm stuck ordering a new sash anyway. Same goes for stairways, bathrooms, etc. If it was one or two windows I would just go tempered without even thinking twice, but I suppose if you have a bunch of windows that added cost can add up quickly. At the very least, make sure to have a discussion (email is better as it is trackable) with the inspector about it.

This post was edited by HomeSealed on Fri, Mar 1, 13 at 12:16

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:52AM
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Do you have small children? If so i would temperer them just for safety.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 11:25AM
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You are correct according to IBC code.Unless the city has it's own rules with are more strict it would not have to be temperered. I always keep a copy of tempered codes with me for inspections and never lost dispute over tempered glass.The building inspectors have a lot of codes to remember and sometimes they need to see the code to refresh their memories.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 11:30AM
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Thanks. They are not tempered right now and when we had the house inspected when we moved in 8yrs ago, there wasn't an issue.

So, does that mean it's okay to not be tempered?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 11:41AM
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+1 to window mike's comment.
@ rbk, I would not rely on a home inspection for that determination. If you really don't want to temper the glass, then get explicit confirmation from the local inspector that it is not needed.
My situation is a little different than Todd. I am not able to be at every final inspection with code book in hand, so when an inspector tells a homeowner that the glass should have been tempererd even though it did not need to, he will typically argue to the death to save face and not look like some contractor knows more than he does... Just my experience. TIFWIW.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 12:22PM
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I completely see the safety reason for tempered glass. Is the price difference usually signicant for a DH window about 31x72?

I guess I should take that up with whatever company we choose in the end.
I hadn't really even thought of the tempered issue until the softlite elements rep mentioned it to me.

Is there anything else that I should make sure is in my bids to make sure I don't get nickel and dimed when it comes to signing the contract?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 12:29PM
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You can have just the lower sash tempered on your double hung unit. My guess from what I remember and know what we sell annealed versus tempered insulated units for today that the price difference would be out $7-8 a sq ft. meaning the lower sash would add about $60.00. I may be wrong but this is just a guesstimate from my end.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Millworkman: thanks for the estimate. I will definitely follow up with whichever window co we choose.

Anything else I need to make sure is included in window bids?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:05PM
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+1. Anywhere from $50 on the low end to $80 or $90 on the high end will be within reason. Some manufacturers charge more than others, and some dealers more than others.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:07PM
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Thanks for the estimates!

This post was edited by rkb21 on Fri, Mar 1, 13 at 13:17

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:15PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

+1 to the other comments. If your locality does not have a code superseding the IBC, no.

Check before you order and opt for it if you have any concerns or children that are rambunctious.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:41PM
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