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Building Codes

As a licensed contractor in Arizona, the Arizona Registrar of Contractors requires every contractor to perform all work in professional and workman-like manner. Window and door contractors must also perform all work in accordance with all applicable building codes and professional industry standards. Building codes address a number of areas within the building industry, including the following:

Tempered Glass Requirements

What is tempered glass?

Tempered glass is also known as safety glass. The tempering process, which makes the glass stronger, changes the molecular make up, so that if the glass ever breaks, it breaks into small, dull pieces. This process assures that any potential injury is minimized significantly.
There a few different reasons a window may need to be tempered, primarily depending upon its location. Here’s a helpful guide to tempered glass requirements for residential homes in AZ.

Doors: All glass, in any door, is required to be tempered. Also, any window within 24” of a door is required to have tempered safety glass.

Windows: To figure out if your window need tempered glass, here is a quick guide!

Only if all four of these stipulations are satisfied, would temper glass be required:

1- Window is larger than 9 square feet
2- Window is less than 18” from the floor when measuring from bottom edge of window frame
3- Window is more than 36” from the top of the frame, to the floor.
4- Window is located within 36 inches from a walkway.

Stairs: Tempered glass must be used if it’s within 36” of a stair or landing space.

Wet Areas: All glass is bathrooms must be tempered if the bottom edge of the window is less than 60 inches above a standing drain, such as within a shower or bathtub.

Our expert sales consultants will make sure your windows are up to code!

Egress Window Requirements

What is an Egress window?
While Egress windows is the term commonly used in the window industry, the international building code refers to these windows as “emergency escape and rescue openings”. Put simply, these are your escape incase of fire.

To meet code an Egress window must meet all four of the following criteria:
1. Have a minimum opening width of 20 inches
2. Have a minimum opening height of 24 inches
3. Have a minimum net clear opening of 5 square feet for first floor windows and 5.7 feet for any window located on the second floor.
4. Have a maximum sill height of 44” from the floor.

While every window in your home doesn’t have to be an Egress window, international building codes require one escape route from each bedroom. Each bedroom must have at least one Egress window or door that leads to the outside. Our expert sales consultants will make sure your windows are Egress compliant!

Click here to see the window egress requirements for the International Residential Code by the City of Phoenix

Window Installation Methods

Here in Arizona, we predominantly have two types of home builds: a block home or a wood frame home, commonly wrapped with stucco.

Block Homes: Window contractors can remove the old aluminum frames and set the new windows directly on the block and fasten. The importance here is that the new windows are measured properly, the contractor sets them level, square and plumb, and they also use a high-grade sealant.
Stucco Homes (Framed) : Stucco homes require a completely different type of install than block homes to meet current building codes. The code clearly states that only two types of installs are permitted when dealing with stucco and wood framing:

A Frame over frame install (jump frame) – A frame over install is where the glass of the old window is removed but the frame of the old window is left undisturbed. The new vinyl or fiberglass replacement window is then placed on top of the old aluminum window. The benefits of leaving the old aluminum frame is that there is no stucco damage, but more importantly, the homes water management system is not compromised.

New Construction – This method requires a minimum of 6 inches (15.24 cm) of stucco to be removed around each window needing to be replaced. Once the stucco is removed, the old window can be removed completely, down to the rough opening. A new window is installed then using a nail fin and flashing. Window flashing is a weather protection that is installed around each window and is then tied back into the homes weather resistant barrier (WRB). Improperly lapping the flashing and weather resistive barrier (most common in Arizona as felt paper) can lead to water intrusion. This process cannot be done without removing the stucco. Any contractor advising you otherwise either does not know enough or doesn’t care enough. The final step after re-flashing the windows is to re-stucco the opening.

Our team of window and door experts are here to help you with any of your questions and recommend the best method of installation for your home and your budget.
Call us today to schedule your free estimate!

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