Question: My husband and I were arguing about retrofitting windows the other day. We were out on a walk in a neighborhood with some beautiful little Spanish-style homes. One thing I love about them is their large, arched front windows. One thing I hate is when homeowners upgrade their windows and replace them with those ugly, double-paned things with white dividers, especially when they’ve got a large, beautiful arched window on the front side of their home. In my opinion, it completely ruins the look of the home. My husband says its illegal to sell a house with those large paned windows because of earthquakes. A recent earthquake prompted me to write and ask: What is the rule on retrofitting windows? — Anne
Answer: Anne, the thing that made most sense in your message was that you and your husband were arguing. That’s what people who love each other do, right?
Other than that, though, I think earthquake theory is faulty. Get it?
I wrote an article about just the kind of house you’re talking about, a 1927 Spanish bungalow in Del Rey (near Culver City) remodeled by Heide Jenkins and Luis Gonzalez. The original house had a gorgeous arched window, and the couple really wanted to replicate that when they set out to rehab this falling-down and neglected house. But they found the cost of an arched windows way too high for their budget, so they reluctantly settled for a rectangular window with divided panes.
I asked our resident construction expert, Alon Toker of Mega Builders in Chatsworth, and here’s what he had to say:
“I am unaware of any earthquake restrictions for arched, picture windows. However, windows do need to be in compliance with certain fenestration guidelines (such as Title 24 compliance for energy efficiency), opening sizes (for emergency egress out of bedrooms) and glazing options (for instance, tempered glass if 18 inches or less from the floor) and so on. “
Anyone have a different take on this?