How big should the windows be in a garage?

October 23 / Stacey / Comments (0)

Garages and barns need to have ventilation. Most homeowners put windows in their garages to be able to see outside the building without having to leave the building or open a doorway. Garages that have second stories have permanent stairways that take up most of the wall they are placed on. This presents a number of safety issues. Window placement in relation to a stairway is one of those safety concerns. Window size is important for safety reasons as well.

If you want a garage that has optimal wall space, you probably want to limit your openings. You are going to have to have room for the garage doors, which will leave you three walls to have workbenches, shelves and work boards. If it was winter, you wouldn’t want to open them. For safety reasons and convenience, most garages have garage door openers installed. In the event of an emergency, you would have to lift them manually. If you had no windows to escape through, how would you quickly get out? What would you do if you were on the second story and the only way down was a stairway to below where the fire would be growing?

Both one-story and two-story garages, barns, additions and shell homes have decorative windows in the gables of their buildings. Some are for functional reasons, some are just decorative. The size of the window, the type of glass and where it is located is important. Direction of travel in any new construction building should always be a concern that an experienced building contractor should plan with you, both for ventilation and safety.

If you are walking up a stairway to a second floor, is there a continuous route to the outside of the building from that floor? Every time I meet with a consumer to plan a garage, barn, shell home or accessory building, one of the first questions I ask is whether or not the building has more than one floor and what will that second floor be used for. The customers answer then dictates what size window will go there, what type of glass should be in that window(s) and that will allow access to the outside of the building in the event of emergency.

Windows placed within 36” or less of the bottom of the tread or landing, must have tempered glass.

Windows within 36” of a stairway in any direction must have safety glass. Any window that is closer than 18” to the floor of a structure must have tempered glass. Why? Anyone could trip and fall out of the building. Ouch!

The size of the windows used in garages, additions, barns, shell homes and accessory structures should be planned to make sure that a grown fireman, with an oxygen tank on, can knock in the glass, come through the window and take you to safety. CALL H.W. ENTERPRISES, INC. to plan your next garage, barn, addition or shell home at 757-595-4562/757-696-1927 or visit:

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