Adding 2 Bedrooms...Sticking to Code (Windows, sunlight,etc.)

5 Replies


I will be adding two new bedrooms to one of my units (the attic is a semi-finished area that used to be 2 bedrooms but due to a fire in the 80's was never finished) of the bedrooms I know will not be able to have a window and I have seen that the state code might require windows or a certain amount of sunlight in the room?

Can anyone shed some light on this code requirement? (see what I did there?)

You'll need to check code requirements (municipal, state, federal) and get permits. There's  good reason bedrooms require exit doors and windows... egress and fire safety. Also, codes for bedrooms often require a closet. Smoke/CO detectors too. For quality of living, light is essential. What would it take for you to add a window, a dormer with a window, or even a skylight?

@Steve DellaPelle

Code requires 2 egresses, the interior door and typically a window. Without a window it will be a tough sale to the building official.  You will want a window for natural light.  The window as size requirements as defined in IRC 209 chapter 6, section 612.4 (I cant get the info to load).  You also have a height requirement around 7ft.  I would have a talk with the building permits and they will help with what you need and see if its even feasible now.

Free codes:

Yes. Code will require egress windows. 1 for each room.  I own a window company in Michigan and im up on the local  Michigan codes , but I’m pretty sure the egress code is national. 

You will need a window that when open will give you a clear opening of 20” wide, 24” tall and 5.7 sq ft of clear opening. ( that’s not the Window size) 

In a casement Window that  usually results to a window size approximately 30wx 44h.  but each manufacturer is different so you  need to specifically check with the manufacturer that you are purchasing the window from. 

 That should also cover any daylight requirements if there are any .  But again check local requirements 

 If you can’t put a window in the room it’s not a bedroom.


The building code is just part of your concern here--the zoning code is even more important.  Make sure you can do this in the area of your property.  Many areas do not allow for expansion of rent units.  (Also, to others, do your due diligence--many rental property owners changed their tax status to single-family, owner-occupied during the last recession.  Investors that did not check out the status of these properties and invested in remodeling all the units have found themselves in a world of hurt when they discover the change in tax and zoning status.)

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