44 inch window sill

What if you have a bedroom window with a sill height of 47 inches but in front of the window you have a 10 inch ledge at 43 inches? Do I still call out the window?

I believe I would note it.

This is an egress window? Many older homes have windows that wouldn’t qualify anyway. If it’s a basement window and the listing calls the containing room a ‘bedroom.’ I’d call that out.

Had several homes with buyers who needed the extra basement bedroom. I pointed out the safety limitations - the listing agent should not have called it a bedroom. What people actually do (or what they let the agent talk them into) is beyond my control.

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In many jurisdictions, a step is allowed as long as it is permanently attached.

That being said, I would still note it in the report for verification with the local code official.

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Egress well dimensions

Morning, Bill. Hope this post finds you well.

Are you describing a multi level bedroom? The finished flooring in front of the window is 43" wide then drops down 10" to another level.

From what I recall,the maximum allowable interior window sill height for the second floor bedroom is 44".
Sorry for the edit.

Just curious. Do you inspect the entire house to meet all current code requirements? Is a 20 year home expected to meet all of the current codes today? In my opinion it never will. In NJ we are not allowed to quote code during a home inspection. This is hard for me since I spent 30 years as a municipal and state building and fire inspector before becoming a home inspector. They keep telling us code is a 4 letter dirty word. The 44" sill height requirement is a code issue. I would be more concerned if the window met the net free clear opening for an egress window than being 3" short with a step. I would inform them that modern building standards require the 44" but this may not have been required when the home was built if that was the case. The area the window is located in may not have been originally designed as a bedroom. It could be in a basement or a den or something on those lines and the sill height for those rooms is not an issue. If that is the case, it should not be listed as a bedroom. After all, a 3 bedroom house is worth less than a 4 bedroom house and we all know the games sellers play to increase the value. IMO I would inform the buyer and move on.

No, one might call that a potential safety hazard…omitting the need to call out code.

Larry, I agree with you 100% that it is a potential safety hazard. I never mention the word code in my reports. I always use the term modern building standards. It’s like an end around to get the point across. It’s just there is a lot of missing information about the situation. If it is not an approved bedroom then the sill height is a moot issue. Like I said I would be more concerned with the size of the opening. What good would it do to be able to get to the window and the window is too small? Bill mentioned there was a 10" ledge at 43". I am assuming that is at the bottom of the window and not on the floor or else it would have been referred to as a step. I misread that the first time but I reread it and I think that is worse. Either way, it is a potential safety issue. Enjoy the weekend and be safe.

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You too, Ed! :smile:

No, I’m not a code inspector, but if I feel it’s a safety issue I will call it out. And I state this in my report.


Exactly correct

Keep in mind, a home inspection is not a code compliance inspection and that the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) is the responsible party for determining/verifying code compliance. The home inspector is using these standards, however, as a reference to help protect his or her client from possible future hazards.

In most, but not all, cases.

In regard to the window sill height I am thinking that you are talking about an egress window Either in the basement or in a bedroom . The maximum height from the floor is 44” in either case but no one is mentioning that the actual window needs to be 5.7 sq feet in order to comply with current building requirements for egress . Not necessarily 3’ wide as long as the sq. Ft. area is at list 5.7 sq. ft. Also the window well if existent needs to be a minimum of 3’ wide x 3’ deep And not higher than 44” off the window well floor unless there are steps . Anything different needs to be called as safety issue .

Not all jurisdictions have the same requirements.