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  1. #1
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    Default Porch with vinyl windows vs glass windows

    Let's say we have a typical porch that looks just like a screened porch but with vinyl windows. They are built here in NC all of the time. What if we have the same structure, but as opposed to vinyl windows, tempered glass windows are installed. Would the glass vs. vinyl change requirements for insulation, etc? No insulation required if vinyl windows are present.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Porch with vinyl windows vs glass windows

    Like most things, the answer is "it depends".

    Around here, a patio conversion wouldn't be approved with glass glazing unless the room meets all other requirements for living space (foundation, electrical, insulation, etc.). So they typically use those flexible vinyl windows instead.

    Your local jurisdiction may have similar or different rules.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Porch with vinyl windows vs glass windows

    This seems like a very odd question. The glass is irrelevant. Presumably the sash and frame for the tempered glass are also vinyl. Around here at least nobody is spending money on tempered glass unless the windows are too low off of the floor. If someone is installing tempered glass with the idea it makes the room 'more compliant' then they don't really get it. The tempered glass might make the window locations compliant due to height off of the floor but they won't make the structure / room itself compliant occupancy space, i.e. a full occupancy room for re-sale square footage rather than a 3 season room.
    If you are looking to hammer a flipper on this, look at the floor joists, lack of heat, lack of electrical infrastructure.
    As Dom said, it will depend. The windows could also be a storm requirement down there.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Porch with vinyl windows vs glass windows

    The way I view the question has the same answer: "it depends".

    Let's start with on open porch: it is "outside"/"oudoors", correct? Electrically speaking it is almost entirely a "wet location" (presuming there is an electrical component to the question).

    Now let's make that open porch into a screened in porch: it is still "outside"/"outdoors", correct? Electrically speaking, nothing has changed.

    Now we'll replace the screen with vinyl windows (not referring to vinyl framed windows with glass panes, but to vinyl or aluminum framed windows with clear vinyl panels), being as these are not actually totally weather proof, and are susceptible to having to be removed for storms and high winds (at least in hurricane prone areas), the porch is still considered "outside"/"outdoors". Electrically speaking, still mostly "wet location".

    Now replace those vinyl windows with clear vinyl panes with real vinyl windows with glass panes (tempered glass where required, regular glass where tempered is not required) ... and the structure supporting the windows needs to be able to resist live loads, and the room might now meet the requirements of being a sunroom or similar ... and the thermal envelope is still separating the sunroom from the house living area.

    SOME things change (such as being a "dry location" electrically speaking), but other things may not change.

    It depends.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Porch with vinyl windows vs glass windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Randall Clark View Post
    Let's say we have a typical porch that looks just like a screened porch but with vinyl windows. They are built here in NC all of the time. What if we have the same structure, but as opposed to vinyl windows, tempered glass windows are installed. Would the glass vs. vinyl change requirements for insulation, etc? No insulation required if vinyl windows are present.
    I am missing something, Randall. What are vinyl windows?

    A window is glazing. Glass or tempered glass.
    The glass/glazing is framed to produce a framed window. Wood, Metal and Vinyl are mostly used during construction.
    The manufactured window can be fixed casement or manually/mechanically operated. To be Opened or Not Operable.
    I ask you again. What is a vinyl window. What are you referring to?

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Porch with vinyl windows vs glass windows

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    I am missing something, Randall. What are vinyl windows?
    Here is a link to a video of a fancier type than I used to see years ago, but do the same thing.

    They are not "real windows" with respect to closing off a a porch and turning it into "living space", but they likely come close to making the space a 'sunroom', which would mean additional code sections would apply:
    https://youtu.be/2LXPo6rYIdU

    Jerry Peck
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    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Porch with vinyl windows vs glass windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Here is a link to a video of a fancier type than I used to see years ago, but do the same thing.

    They are not "real windows" with respect to closing off a a porch and turning it into "living space", but they likely come close to making the space a 'sunroom', which would mean additional code sections would apply:
    https://youtu.be/2LXPo6rYIdU
    I concur. Code would be merited for the structure.

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.”

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Porch with vinyl windows vs glass windows

    I know I mentioned, a couple of times, "electrically speaking", and have been to see if anyone brought up additional comments on other aspects - not the least of which would be EERO (including exterior doors) from bedrooms which open to an open porch, or even a screen porch, and which would now open to an 'enclosed area/room/space' ... which would no longer have those EEROs meeting "shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court having a minimum width of 36 inches (914 mm) that opens to a public way".

    The Florida Building Code, Residential, also allows this exception:
    - "The emergency escape and rescue opening shall be permitted to open into a screen enclosure, open to the atmosphere, where a screen door is provided leading away from the residence."

    That exception makes sense on several levels:
    - For escape purposes of the occupants, a screen enclosure actually meets IRC "R310.4.4 Bars, grilles, covers and screens" which says "Such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key or tool ... " and the typical screen enclosure door meets that requirement. Install a screen door which has a key lock from the inside (which should not be on any door exterior door, especially THE required egress door, which is typically the front door) - and the screen enclosure would no longer meet that requirement.
    - For rescue purposes, the screens in the screen enclosure and the screen door are not going to stop entry by rescue personnel.
    - Applying "common sense" to a building code that does not include "common sense".

    Install windows, even those "vinyl windows" being discussed, and that now enclosed room no longer meets the EERO requirements.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Porch with vinyl windows vs glass windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I know I mentioned, a couple of times, "electrically speaking", and have been to see if anyone brought up additional comments on other aspects - not the least of which would be EERO (including exterior doors) from bedrooms which open to an open porch, or even a screen porch, and which would now open to an 'enclosed area/room/space' ... which would no longer have those EEROs meeting "shall open directly into a public way, or to a yard or court having a minimum width of 36 inches (914 mm) that opens to a public way".

    The Florida Building Code, Residential, also allows this exception:
    - "The emergency escape and rescue opening shall be permitted to open into a screen enclosure, open to the atmosphere, where a screen door is provided leading away from the residence."

    That exception makes sense on several levels:
    - For escape purposes of the occupants, a screen enclosure actually meets IRC "R310.4.4 Bars, grilles, covers and screens" which says "Such devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key or tool ... " and the typical screen enclosure door meets that requirement. Install a screen door which has a key lock from the inside (which should not be on any door exterior door, especially THE required egress door, which is typically the front door) - and the screen enclosure would no longer meet that requirement.
    - For rescue purposes, the screens in the screen enclosure and the screen door are not going to stop entry by rescue personnel.
    - Applying "common sense" to a building code that does not include "common sense".

    Install windows, even those "vinyl windows" being discussed, and that now enclosed room no longer meets the EERO requirements.
    Good information. Well received.

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.”

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Porch with vinyl windows vs glass windows

    Oh, and what is a "screen enclosure"?

    Florida Building Code says:
    - SCREEN ENCLOSURE. A building or part thereof, in whole or in part self-supporting, and having walls of insect screening with or without removable vinyl or acrylic wind break panels and a roof of insect screening, plastic, aluminum or similar lightweight material, or other materials and assemblies such as a patio, a deck, or the roof of a structure.

    IRC says:
    (nada ... nothing ... no definition)

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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