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Machinc, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 945
Experience:  Has written home improvement articles since 2008. Earned South Carolina Residential Builders License in 1991.
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I am considering changing some windows in an existing house

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I am considering changing some windows in an existing house in Manatee County, FL. Our builder told us that if we replace more than 25% of the exterior glazed area of the house then we will need to change all the glazing to meet existing codes. However, my understanding of the Florida Building Codes is that the 25% rule triggers the requirement for impact-rating FOR THE NEW WINDOWS ONLY. Can you help resolve this confusion?
There are several exceptions to the code in Florida.
Some deal with the date of original construction. Others the style of the windows and their historical preservation.
The 25% rule can be confusing
and any doubts can only be clarified by the local building inspector.
You builder needs to submit the changes being considered to the Manatee county building /permits office.
The 25% does pertain to the new windows" only "provided that area is not exceeded.
That is you wind up with 25% of the are as new or 75% of the old area remaining.
This is not necessarily neasured by the number of windows but rather the square feet of glazed area.
Once a written plan , usually accompanied by a drawing is submitted then the building inspector will make the final decision as to what work will be allowed .
You are right about only the new 25% needing to meet the code
but if that 25% is exceeded then the remaining windows will need to be upgraded.
As stated there are exceptions and these are worth looking into.
No matter what you and your builder agree on the final decision is up to the county.
I would not agree to or start any work until your plans have been approved by your local ( manatee cty. ) building inspector .
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Let me restate what I understand from your multiple responses. You are saying that if I want to change more than 25% of the glazed area of the house then I will have to change all of the windows to be impact rated. By the way, the house was built in 1986 so no historical preservation issues.
Unless your local inspector will grant a variance that is correct.
That would be a yes, based on enforcement of the Florida builfing code.
Or plainly stated yes ...
You would need tto upgrade all.
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