Ankle-height windows - is it a problem?


Old 10-12-16, 02:19 PM
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Question Ankle-height windows - is it a problem?

Hello all,

I'm buying a very pretty new house in Ann Arbor that has great bones and few problems I'm planning to solve very soon. The biggest issue with the house is the old windows that I'm planning to replace.

Now, the question I have is: the windows on the second floor are VERY low, ankle-height low. I'm not sure why that was done (old houses in AA are weirdly designed) but I find it a little bit of a turn off and I'm wondering if putting them at the right height would make things better for safety / resale value / just my mental health.

Moving the windows higher up would probably entail building small dormers which I'm not 100% sure is worth the hassle.

Should I just replace the windows and leave them where they are or should I tackle the height problem head on?
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Old 10-12-16, 02:22 PM
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Nothing wrong with them being that low, but by code, the glass must be tempered when they are that low.
Old 10-12-16, 03:43 PM
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How much money are you willing to spend raising the windows? It's likely to be a surprisingly difficult/expensive just to move them up. Is the aesthetic that important to you?
Old 10-12-16, 05:01 PM
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Well, that's why I'm asking. There's a few considerations to be made. First of all, it just looks wrong. Second, it's a bit too low for comfort with a small child in the house and another one on the way. I'm wondering if fixing the height could improve the marketability of the house down the line, all new windows are going in anyways and the room in the picture will become a master bedroom with its own bathroom, so I was wondering if we should just bite the bullet and do one more thing. By what I'm hearing sounds like I should just leave them as is.
Old 10-12-16, 06:28 PM
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I would move the windows up if at all possible. The issue would be how it effects the outside appearance, the inside would look much better.
I would install window guards if keeping this height. I don't think I'm overcautious to say a toddler should not be left unattended in a room like this.
Old 10-13-16, 05:44 AM
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I assume the location of the windows was dictated by the exterior of the home. From the interior photo I assume you gambrel roof. I also assume the windows are where they are to avoid going through the roof. It's possible to move the windows but would involve adding dormers which with new construction I roughly estimate to cost 1'000 to 2'000 each and the cost would be higher for a retrofit. Would investing $10'000+ in relocating windows increase the value of your home? Is installing guards over the windows while the children are small a better option?
Old 10-13-16, 06:05 AM
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I did this with an 1832 house; but all I did is procure shorter windows so that they exit the wall at the same proximity to the ceiling; but their bottom sills are about 32" off the floor so that most furniture items are not visible from the outside.

Did I read that this was a Mansard style architecture ?

I'm always concerned (regarding property values) about what effect the correction of internal deficiencies will have on external appearances, or "Curb Appeal". What does the outside look like, and how might that be changed with the windows/dormers ?

I can't quite fathom how dormers would appear on a Mansard Style roof line; it seems to run contrary to the original rationale for the historic evolution of that style in France (for Tax Avoidance).

Last edited by Vermont; 10-13-16 at 08:15 AM.
Old 10-13-16, 08:01 AM
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My preference would be to have smaller windows raised higher from the floor as Vermont detailed. The siding on the outside would have to be altered, of course, and depending on the type of siding this could get pricey.
Old 10-13-16, 03:12 PM
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It's not a mansard. I don't have a picture from the side but you can get an idea from the back:
Old 10-14-16, 05:04 AM
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Not sure I'd change the size of the windows. You can't raise them without adding dormers and that could get expensive. A shorter window would entail matching up the siding. Personally I wouldn't be overly concerned with a small child and the low window ..... until that child got big enough to unlock the windows.

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