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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  To learn more about doors and windows, see these other blog posts:

What causes sweating (condensation) on the inside of windows in the winter? 

Is every exterior door of a house required to have a landing outside? 

 What are the small slots at the bottom of the outside of my window? 

Why does condensation form on the outside of some windows and not others in the morning? 

Why is the garage door track a white tube? 

What is the raised metal plate on the floor under the garage door?

 Why do I have to hold down the button to close the garage door? 

How can I tell if a window or glass door is safety glass? 

What are the code requirements for safety tempered glass for doors?• 

Should a front door swing in or out? 


How many exit doors are required for a house?

 How many exit doors are required for a mobile/manufactured home?  

Can a bedroom door open into the garage?

What are the building code requirements for a door from the garage to the house?

What is "low-E" window glass? 

What does ANSI 297.1 on glass mean?

Why is a double cylinder deadbolt lock on an exterior door a safety hazard? 

How can I check my garage door to make sure it is safe?  

What is an egress window?

Does a home inspector test all the windows and doors in a home? 

How difficult is it to change a window to french doors or a sliding glass door?

How do you determine if a door is left-handed or right-handed?

Why are window security bars dangerous? 

What are the common problems you find inspecting windows?

What is causing a foggy haze on my windows? 

What do those numbers on the manufacturer's stickers in new windows mean?

What does a home inspector check on an electric garage door? 

• What is the tempered label on glass at windows and sliding glass doors called?

Why is pressure washing double pane windows an expensive mistake? 

• Do I need to have two exterior exit doors in my house? 

• When is safety glass required for windows at stairs and stair landings?

   Visit our DOORS AND WINDOWS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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