How to install handicap accessible windows | Pro Construction Guide

How to install a handicap accessible window

How to install a handicap accessible window

Handicap accessible windows have window locks at reachable heights, push button opening systems and easy rollers to help windows feel weightless.

Handicap accessible windows are different from standard windows because they are easier to open and close. They offer window locks at reachable heights, push button opening systems and easy rollers to help windows feel weightless.

Before you install a handicap accessible window, consider the abilities of the person who will use it, as well as the needs of others who share the space. Your goal is to provide the person with the handicap added independence and to avoid making the home unattractive because of the modification.

Before you begin

As the installer, your job includes ordering the right window and installing it at a suitable height. If the person you are installing the window for is in a wheelchair, the window and window lock may need to be lower. However, if the person is using a walker or a walking frame, the position of the window may be higher.

Other conditions to consider in the type of window you select are muscle and joint pain or weakness (i.e. arthritis). The person may have more difficulty with locks that must be pinched closed or open. In that case, a pushbutton feature would be preferable.

You will need to make a scale drawing for the local City Planning and Building office to and obtain a permit before beginning work. This is simple if you follow some basic rules: The drawing should only detail the specific area you will be working on (i.e. the wall for the window). If you include a larger area (an entire house or multiple rooms), the building inspector will check every area listed on your plan for accuracy – even the areas where you are not working.

Step-by-step installation for a handicap accessible window

How to install a handicap accessible window

Wearing gloves, mask and safety goggles, cut along the lines you have drawn using a disc cutter. Cut the top horizontal line last.

 

Step 1

Using a stud finder, locate any structural barriers behind the drywall, such as gas pipes, electrical wiring, headers and cross members. If you find any, you will have to move them, which may make the job more expensive, and in some cases, you will need a structural engineer.

Using a carpenter’s pencil, level and tape measure outline where the window will be on the wall at full size. Create another outline around the window to show the extra space needed for the framework of the window you selected. The exact dimensions needed for the window opening should be included with the window. This will be your cut line.

Step 2

To support the area before cutting or drilling, use temporary beam supports from the floor to the ceiling to hold-up the roof above the area where the window will go. This should be like a false wall in front of the window area.

Step 3

Following the cutline, use a drywall saw to neatly cut the drywall away. Only cut through drywall – not wood. Remove the drywall as carefully as possible to prevent damage to the surrounding area. This will save time on the repair.

Step 4

Measure and mark the exposed wood that will have to be removed to allow space for the headers and trimmers. Cut them with a reciprocating saw. Do not cut through stucco. Use a tape measure to measure and pre-cut the new timbers with a circular saw for the new framework. Install new framework for the window, header and trimmers.

Step 5

How to install a handicap accessible window

Draw a line 6 inches around the hole you just made and use the disc cutter to mark the surface of the stucco in straight lines along the rule. Carefully remove the stucco.

Within the four corners of the new framework, drill a hole out through the stucco in each corner using a masonry bit. Later, you will use these holes as guides to level and cut out the stucco from outside the home.

Cover the opening completely with a plastic sheet and tape it to the drywall to keep it airtight and stop dust getting into the house when you cut the stucco.

How to install a handicap accessible window

The extra 6 inches of builder paper and wire mesh around the window will now be exposed around the window.

 

Step 6

Outside, use the level and pencil to draw a line joining the drilled holes together. Then, wearing gloves, mask and safety goggles, cut along the lines you have drawn using a disc cutter. Cut the top horizontal line last. Remove the loose stucco.

Step 7

Draw a line 6 inches around the hole you just made and use the disc cutter to mark the surface of the stucco in straight lines along the rule. Be careful not to cut through the wire mesh or builder paper. Carefully remove the stucco. The extra 6 inches of builder paper and wire mesh around the window will now be exposed around the window.

How to install a handicap accessible windows

Install the window in the space and place it under the wire mesh and builder paper or as required by the local building code

 

Step 8

Install the window in the space and place it under the wire mesh and builder paper or as required by the local building code. Install a 6-inch wide self-stick window flashing around all sides of the window attaching the builder paper and flashing to the window. This will make a waterproof seal.

Do not tape down wire mesh. (Now is a good time for the city inspection.) Repair the stucco around the outside and match the stucco as closely as possible to the existing stucco.

You can use the traditional three-coat system to repair the stucco but for a job this size, a one-coat product will work nicely and save time and money.

How to install a handicap accessible window

Repair the stucco around the outside and match the stucco as closely as possible to the existing stucco.

 

Step 9

Inside, cut new drywall and install it. Add indoor wall texture to match the existing surface and paint the wall.

–By Natashia Saunders of Adapted Living Inc.

Tools you will need

  • carpenter’s pencil
  • stud finder
  • drywall saw
  • reciprocating saw
  • circular saw
  • tape measure
  • level
  • drill with masonry bit
  • plastic sheet
  • tape
  • gloves, mask and safety goggles
  • disc cutter
  • chipping hammer
  • utility knife
  • drywall tools
  • paintbrushes
  • stucco tools

Required materials

  • window (preferably a pre-made window)
  • 2 x 4s or 2 x 6s, depending on wall size
  • headers (check local codes for required sizes)
  • flashing
  • drywall
  • joint tape
  • indoor wall texture
  • drywall screws
  • paint

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