Window screens required by IRC? What is code reference?

19 Replies

I am trying to find the IRC code for the need to have window screens installed--can anyone help?

What is an IRC code?

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :

What is an IRC code?

International Residential Code. It's what's used in many municipalities to dictate things like the distance that a handrail must be above the riser of stairs, and many more. It's nearly 900 pages long. IRC is part of the Int'l Building Code, IRC applies to 1 and 2-family properties. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Building_Code

@Paul Winka ,

First guess time would be to help protect children from falling out of an open window. Though screens can tear easily under the weight of a child, every little bit helps.

Might also be for health reasons as well to keep flying insects out which might carry disease or might be a nuisance or an annoyance.

My $0.02...

Don't they come with the window?

Originally posted by @Manolo D. :

Don't they come with the window?

They do get damaged. People cutting costs the wrong way for the wrong reasons may try to avoid replacing them placing their tenants and their tenants' children at risk. Such landlords had better be holding their properties in as bulletproof an entity structure as possible and have tons of liability insurance on top it. That would be major lawsuit just waiting to happen!

Originally posted by @David Dachtera :
Originally posted by @Manolo D.:

Don't they come with the window?

They do get damaged. People cutting costs the wrong way for the wrong reasons may try to avoid replacing them placing their tenants and their tenants' children at risk. Such landlords had better be holding their properties in as bulletproof an entity structure as possible and have tons of liability insurance on top it. That would be major lawsuit just waiting to happen!

Hi David. Is it realistic that a landlord could be sued when he is following code though? A judge couldn't find me liable for not having screens if screens are not required, could he? Anyone presenting a case for that may be a contender for a Darwin award too! These windows are 50 inches above the floor and the "fall" would be about the same. Anything could happen, I know, but at some point the responsibility for personal safety has to fall back to the tenant. 

Someday someone can research the bizarre relationship tenants have with window screens and closet doors. 

At my home, I have had the same window screens and closet doors up a decade plus--still good as new. 

Tenants chew through them up like breakfast cereal. Same with closet doors, off the hinges half the time in rentals.

So replacing screens can get old (but you can offset the deposit as it is hard to dispute a missing or broken screen).

On the bright side,  if you go to the big box store, they sell screen making kits (e.g, I don't bother looking for pre-made screens in just the right size or overpaying a window store to make them); the kits can be helpful for landlords.

So you buy the kit, some screen mesh (this is more expensive, but buy a big roll if you will be in rentals for the long haul), and you will need a hacksaw and a little screen spline tool (a little roller). 

Example of the kit:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/5-16-in-x-60-in-x-60-in...

Measure the screens (ideal to use the old broken one as a go by, and you may be able to just replace the screen portion if it is only ripped). 

Measure twice, cut once....Cut the metal frame to size and push in the corners (check if the corners will make a difference on the size beforehand; sizing is the key part so it fits in).

You lay out the mesh and cut to size and then just roll in the spline. Then moment of truth, go pop it back in the window (ideally it fits right in, especially as you do a few).

Presto! You have now thoroughly screened your tenants! (pun intended!)

They also make resizable screens which slide to the right size. May not look the best, but it is functional and inexpensive ($5-$7 per screen).

Local hardware at one charges 15 bucks per window. 

U can assemble them for cheap way HD .  No point fighting the inspector 

Originally posted by @Paul Winka :
Originally posted by @David Dachtera:
Originally posted by @Manolo D.:

Don't they come with the window?

They do get damaged. People cutting costs the wrong way for the wrong reasons may try to avoid replacing them placing their tenants and their tenants' children at risk. Such landlords had better be holding their properties in as bulletproof an entity structure as possible and have tons of liability insurance on top it. That would be major lawsuit just waiting to happen!

Hi David. Is it realistic that a landlord could be sued when he is following code though? A judge couldn't find me liable for not having screens if screens are not required, could he? Anyone presenting a case for that may be a contender for a Darwin award too! These windows are 50 inches above the floor and the "fall" would be about the same. Anything could happen, I know, but at some point the responsibility for personal safety has to fall back to the tenant. 

That's what we'd all like to think. Yet, especially in tenant-friendly locations, judges continue to find landlords at fault for negligence, even when codes do not require such protections. 

Think of it as the difference between "the letter of the law" (what it actually says) and case law (how it tends to be interpreted).

If some shyster sees you're holding property in your name, you're "ripe for the pickin'". If he sees that he's gonna have to hire that John Anderson guy from BP to pierce all the corporate veils before he can hope to get either an award or settlement, he may just move on to the next sitting duck.

It was proposed in 2008 and declined.

http://iccsafe.org/cs/codes/Documents/2007-08cycle...

Cant find it anywhere else that it is required. It could be a local ordinance. I did find some court cases in NY back in '87 that saw when 9 children fell to their deaths in 7 months. They then put the responsibility on the landlords back and created an ordinance. 1.4 million in fines was paid in the following year. If its in the IRC, I cant find it. It could also be part of some of the new energy codes but I don't have those yet.

Originally posted by @Mike Reynolds :

It was proposed in 2008 and declined.

http://iccsafe.org/cs/codes/Documents/2007-08cycle...

Cant find it anywhere else that it is required. It could be a local ordinance. I did find some court cases in NY back in '87 that saw when 9 children fell to their deaths in 7 months. They then put the responsibility on the landlords back and created an ordinance. 1.4 million in fines was paid in the following year. If its in the IRC, I cant find it. It could also be part of some of the new energy codes but I don't have those yet.

Energy codes? Is that what is in chapter 11 of the IRC, or do you mean another document?

@David Dachtera I don't know what the OP is intending for this thread, I think it is pointless to help someone with a $15 fix, I can't imagine myself debating and spending hours of research for a few bucks. There are a couple of things I could have inputs though, screens are for insects, not personal safety. But his 50" drop will be grounds for someone to sue him, in case of fire, 50" is too high for someone to escape through a window.

@Manolo D. ,

Lotta people pinch pennies for all the wrong reasons. They step over $Thousands and $Hundreds to pick up dollars.

If one is susceptible to what insects may carry, then yes - it IS a matter of personal safety. A screen won't prevent a child falling out a window, but may help protect them from falling as opposed to no screen at all.

@Paul Winka

My understanding from the 2015 IRC (international residential code) is screens are needed for fall protection and glass breakage. This is my quick search on windows.   Here is a screen shot below of what the code states.   Look at R312.1 item 1. 

Here is another part on screens.   The point here is about what type of glass being used in the event it breaks.   The screen keeps the glass from falling below and creating a hazard.

Free codes here (not searchable)

http://premiumaccess.iccsafe.org/document/toc/553/

Paid Service (searchable)

http://www.madcad.com/

Get some adjustable window screens. They are like $6-7 a piece and will probably be good enough.

@David Dachtera Still kind of pointless to discuss a $15 ticket. Lol.

@Jim Adrian Ha, pretty interesting, never have thought of it that way. Screen catching the broken glass, who would have thought huh? Hehe.

Originally posted by @Jim Adrian :

@Paul Winka

My understanding from the 2015 IRC (international residential code) is screens are needed for fall protection and glass breakage. This is my quick search on windows.   Here is a screen shot below of what the code states.   Look at R312.1 item 1. 

Here is another part on screens.   The point here is about what type of glass being used in the event it breaks.   The screen keeps the glass from falling below and creating a hazard.

Free codes here (not searchable)

http://premiumaccess.iccsafe.org/document/toc/553/

Paid Service (searchable)

http://www.madcad.com/

I came across that verbiage in 308 also, but it didn't seem to be referring to simple bug screens, but had me picturing the wire that's baked into glass that you see in some commercial buildings like police stations and schools. The 312 reference implies a screen would be there to catch glass but doesn't just come out and say it. This is like interpreting the bible---what's the real message here? Hahaha, I'll just put in my screens---I just got some big-time relief on what I thought I'd be paying for bringing smoke detection up to code so I can flex here. :)

@Paul Winka

Ya 308 refers to fire rated glass with wire in it but its not very clear in section 308.  You don't need this.  That's why I think its more about passing the object thru the window then anything else.  If you are bored and looking for a dry read then google the ASTM F 2090 it references.  

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here