Are openable windows required to have screens? Will windows with no screens pass a home inspection?
Friday, July 6, 2018
The International Residential Code (IRC) does not have a requirement for window screens, but many county and municipal housing codes in Florida do require them. In some cases, the local codes make an exception for homes with air conditioning. Also, the FHA, HUD, and USDA mortgage programs specify that screens be in place and in good condition. The USDA inspection checklist, for example, states that windows “must have an insect screen in good repair.” Damaged windows screens, however, are always called out for repair.
When an operable window has an empty slot for a window screen, we call it out as a defect for repair simply because there was one and it is gone. Usually, a little poking around in the attic or corner of the garage will turn up a stack of screens that matches the number of windows in the home. Homeowners sometimes remove all the screens when they put a house up for sale as a way to make the interior of the home brighter and the window views more appealing.
Will the missing window screens make a house fail the inspection? That all depends on the buyer. We make a note of it and some buyers get very upset, while others just don’t care because they never open the windows.
While it has been argued that screens are a safety feature to keep children from falling out an open window, manufacturers are adamant that they are only designed as an insect barrier and not a fall protection device.
Also, see our blog post Do windows in a house have to open to pass a home inspection?
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