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Exterior weight bearing shear wall, can a window be installed?


doerf003's Avatar
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CAL

09-02-12, 02:51 PM   #1  
Exterior weight bearing shear wall, can a window be installed?

My bathroom demo revealed an exterior wall, the interior of which is clad in ply wood. The total interior bathroom wall lenth is roughly12 ft.

7ft of the wall is clad in plywood; this I understand is called a shear wall and helps the structure withstand earthquakes. The remaining 5 feet is exposed 2x4's however I am planning to install a garden window (there is an existing header, roughly 4 feet wide. In the adjacent room (dining area) is a sliding glass door (on the same exterior wall). http://doerf003.shutterfly.com/pictures#n_5

I am planning to install a small 36 L x 12 W window "in" the shear wall (for ventilation of a new walk-in shower)

Are the plywood panels required per CA code? What is the requirement? The plans were approved by the city but there was no question as to the size of the garden window or the new window in the shower, nor questions asked about existing shear walls or "what's in the room adjacent to this bathroom remodel."

Can I pull off one of the pieces of plywood, install my header/frame in for a window, install the window w/o having to reinstall the plywood? Or will I need to reinstall the plywood?

I didn't find anything in past posts that helped. Thanks.

 
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Nashkat1's Avatar
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09-02-12, 03:36 PM   #2  
You will definitely have to re-install the plywood, if the building codes department will let you install the window at all.

The plans were approved by the city but there was no question as to the size of the garden window or the new window in the shower, nor questions asked about existing shear walls or "what's in the room adjacent to this bathroom remodel."
They may not have been aware of the shear-resistant construction when they approved your plans. The effect of what else is in this wall is to require a greater or smaller area of bracing where it is installed.

All codes is local. You need to ask the city about this, as specifically as you have here, and be prepared to live with the answer they give you. That's their intent, after all - to have you and your famile live with their decision.


Last edited by Nashkat1; 09-02-12 at 07:45 PM.
 
Concretemasonry's Avatar
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09-02-12, 04:06 PM   #3  
You will also need a lintel over the window and being in California, it may the larger than in other areas of the country and could possibly also need special hardware to maintain the properties equal tp the original wall before you cut a hole in it. The last item would really depend on the geographic basis and proximity to seismic faults. Usually the exception are on a county by county basis.

Dick

 
doerf003's Avatar
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09-02-12, 11:59 PM   #4  
Thank you for the replies; I'll check back with the city next week on this topic.

DD

 
BridgeMan45's Avatar
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09-03-12, 12:08 AM   #5  
Do yourself a very big favor, and DON'T install a window in a shower area. Proper ventilation can be provided much more easily with a decent ventilation fan, and doing so will avoid all of the potential problems of having a window in a shower.

 
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09-03-12, 05:51 AM   #6  
Does the window slide, or open outwardly? Difficult to envision how a 12" tall window will ventilate. I have a light window high up on the wall in my rental cabin shower, which is walk in, too, but it does not open and it is tiled on all sides.

 
doerf003's Avatar
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09-13-12, 11:19 AM   #7  
Window is removed from the plan

Thank you all for your feedback. I went to the city to discuss and the reply was, "maybe, you'd have to get an engineering report done." So, the window in the shower area is no longer in the plan.

 
Nashkat1's Avatar
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09-16-12, 09:41 PM   #8  
Thank you for letting us know how you worked it out.

 
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