How to Measure for Clerestory Windows How to Measure for Clerestory Windows

What You'll Need
Tape Measure

An architectural design where a small window is set atop another window or along a small upper wall is called clerestory windows. These clerestory windows can be several different shapes from rectangular, square, circular, or even triangular. Most often they are found in churches with a stained glass insert. These windows are used for design, but also have a functional aspect to them. This type of window is used in many homes, buildings, and churches, to allow for more natural light. Installing the clerestory windows requires attention to the measurements that are taken.

Step 1: Determine Location of Clerestory Windows

Most generally the clerestory windows are going to be placed on top of another row of windows, in the upper reaches of a wall, or along the top edge of a balcony. Before you start to measure for the actual windows you should take the time to determine where this row of windows is going to go. Do you want to install a complete row the entire length of the wall? Or, are you going to simply place a few windows atop other windows?

Step 2: Measure Distance from Bottom Window

If you are going to be placing the clerestory windows over the top of another window you must make sure that there is enough room for the window installation and the trim around the window. Measure up from the top of the trim of the lower window two to three inches. This will leave you plenty of room for a small trim piece. Draw a level line along this mark.

Step 3: Determine Corners of Window

With the bottom reference line, make marks for the corners of the window opening. A good rule of thumb is to keep the windows the same width of the windows that are on the bottom wall. This will give a symmetry to the wall as a whole. It is important that when you set the corners of the celestory windows that you use diagonal measurements as opposed to straight length and width.

Step 4: Measure Bottom to Top

Set the tape measure on the bottom left of where you want to place the window and go in a diagonal direction towards the top right. Mark the location. Do the same with the bottom right to the top left. You should have a perfect rectangle or square. If you are installing a circular window, you will need to locate the center of the window. Insert a tack or a screw and attach a string that is the same diameter of the window. Trace around the circumference with a pencil on the end of the string.

Step 5: Finding Center

Draw line across the diagonal of the window on each side. Where the two lines connect is the center of the window opening. Complete the measurement by checking to see if the distances are the same in all directions. This will give you a completely level opening for your window to ensure that it will fit perfectly once it is cut out. By taking the time to take the right measurements you will not need to use shims or other leveling practices when installing the clerestory windows.

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