Rules for window height

Hey folks. Trying to find rules for window height minimums. This is the kitchen/dining area and the windows were operable. Any good narratives for this?

How far off the ground on the outside is the window?

Probably 6 inches. This is the first floor and the patio is right on the other side of the window

This is from 2012 IRC. For it to be considered hazardous, it has to meet ALL of the listed conditions.


In New York State , the minimum window height to the sill is 18” from any floor or grade . If you have less than 18” need to make sure that the window has safety glass .


If the glass is labeled safety glazing I would not be concerned. Otherwise I would write it up as a safety concern.


Don’t believe its safety glazing. House is from 1983 and I don’t believe it has any improvements.

That’s only part of it. 18" less from a floor alone isn’t enough to require a safety glazing, but you can still recommend it.

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Ask yourself… “What is the difference between the window as shown in the OP, and a sliding glass door”?


Good question to ask. If thats the case what purpose does the rule for low window sil exist?

Adam, what rule are you referring to or asking about? Some windows just need more protection and some cannot be higher than certain height so they could be used in case of an emergency.

Not any rule in particular. I’m familiar with the height for egress rule but curious if one exists for a window being too low.

As a side note, determining if safety glazing is present is exceeds NACHI standards of practice. You can still do so or may be required do so depending on local cert. requirements.

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Inside window sill, not less than 24" before provisions fall in.
The 2018 IRC continues to require the bottom of openings created by operable windows to be a minimum height of 24 inches above the adjacent interior floor when they are more than 6 feet above the grade outside the window.
Window should not open more than 4".

Finished sill heights cannot be more than 44" inches above the finished floor.


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IMO the trick to determine if the window needs safety glazing or not is defining the term “walking surface”.

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I am talking about New York State so my take on this , just a rule of thumb would be any window sill should be a minimum of 18" off a finished grade or floor regardless of the window size . Anything lower than that should have a safety glass or be written as a safety issue . As per a maximum sill height in an egress window the maximum height from any grades or floor should be 44" .

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