1

I found this design concept that someone did of their house. They had cut a panel out of their house that allows them to see their garage which is a cool idea.

Garage window

Are there any projects out there that have done something similar?

  • 6
    Are you asking how to do this, or just if others have done it? – Tester101 Jan 23 '15 at 14:15
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    It's against code in Florida I already have one and have to cover up. – Robert Feb 4 at 12:47
20

You'd do this like you would add any other new window. Find the studs, choose a location, cut square holes in the drywall on both sides, cut sections out of the intervening studs to make room for the new window, and frame the new window properly like this:

enter image description here

Then you would flash the rough opening's sill with self-adhering membrane and install the window just like any other one, then repair the drywall on both sides and add trim.

However, in terms of the wisdom of this plan, it seems questionable for a variety of reasons:

  1. It's probably a fire hazard; no window is going to contain a fire in the garage as well as thin sheets of rock (drywall), and this is especially true if the windows are framed in vinyl or wood.
  2. Windows aren't completely airtight, so you're creating more routes for nasty gasses and fumes from the garage to enter the house.
  3. The garage side of the window is going to continuously get dirty from car exhaust and need cleaning.
  4. If you don't happen to own two fancy sports cars, or you use the garage for storage, the view may be less than stellar.
  5. Anyone you try to sell the house to may be less than enthused by a window into their garage allowing them to gaze upon their dirty Toyota Camry and boxes of Christmas and Halloween decorations.
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    Agreed. Adding a window is fairly straight forward. Adding a code compliant window in a wall shared with a garage, not so much. – Tester101 Jan 23 '15 at 16:33
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Your local building code requirements hold sway, and I encourage you to review them prior to planning.

That being said, many building codes specify a garage/home separation, but fall somewhat short of requiring a an actual fire rating. The separation has some requirements that provide more fire protection and exhaust protection than typical living space separations, but they are not meant to be actual "20 minute", "1 hour", or "2 hour" fire ratings as given by the UL.

Your safety is in your hands, though, so I would suggest going above and beyond code. Consider install a non-opening window. This allows you to fully seal the opening during installation, and prevents people from accidentally leaving it open or not fully closing it. Running a car for under a minute produces enough exhaust to go over the OSHA limit for safe working environments - you don't want to trap any of that in your house. Also, install a fire rated window. Some windows will break when exposed to intense heat, much more quickly than the fire would have burned through the wall if you hadn't installed a window. Fire rated windows are available and will last longer in most fires.

Beyond that, standard window installation techniques apply.

  • I'm intrigued that both answers so far mention fire safety -- are fires that much more common in garages that this is a significant issue? I had never made that association. Is it oily rags, motors, chemicals, something else? – reo katoa Jan 23 '15 at 18:17
  • No, fires more frequently start elsewhere in the house. However the building codes are very specific about the separation between garages and living space. Perhaps it has more to do with the gases cars create, as well as the volatile compounds (paint thinners, gas, propane, etc) people store in their garages. Here's a summary of causes of housefires, and you'll find the kitchen/cooking area #1, while garage isn't in the top ten: nfpa.org/~/media/Files/Research/Fact%20sheets/… – Adam Davis Jan 23 '15 at 19:14
  • "Unintentional CO exposure accounts for an estimated 15,000 emergency department visits and 500 unintentional deaths in the United States each year" which suggests that CO poisoning is a very big deal. (from cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5650a1.htm ) – Adam Davis Jan 23 '15 at 19:15
  • Consider that if a fire in your house spreads to your garage, that's where there's likely to be gas cans, paint thinners, oily rags, and other accelerants. – iLikeDirt Jan 23 '15 at 20:36
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    Floods too. If you have a water heater in your garage, and the pipes freeze and burst because your garage isn't heated, the lower floor causes the water to down your driveway instead of into your house! – iLikeDirt Jan 23 '15 at 20:46
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This idea is definitely against building codes every place in the United States unless you install a fire rated window! All codes require a minimum of a one hour rated firewall between the garage in the residence including in the attic area and some areas even extend this to a 2 hour rated wall. This includes doors and any other penetrations through the wall!

Putting a window in this wall is a very bad idea!

0

In the photo you used as an example, it could very well be that the "room" with the window into the garage is actually still part of the official garage, meaning it is still behind the fire wall and NOT a legal living space. Someone may be USING it that way; many people do convert their garages or parts of them into living spaces even though that is often illegal.

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