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Old 02-25-2010, 11:08 AM   #1
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What Makes A Room A Bedroom?


Hello,

I've gotten great advice and help from you all in the past so I wanted to try my luck again.

I have a second story room that was originally suppose to be an unfinished 11'x18' storage room but I had the builder finish it off when I had the house built so I could use it as an office. The room currently has carpet, painted drywall, light, electrical outlets, and HVAC. The only strange thing about the room is that it has an exterior door (with no lock) the leads to the rest of the house so it's solid wood and has weather stripping around it with a threshhold.

It's been a great room for my office but I'm going a little crazy with no natural light so I've been thinking about adding a window to the room and while I'm at it adding a closet so it can be considered a "Bedroom".
The contractor gave me a bid for a 36"x36" casement window and a 5'x2.5' Closet and it seems like a good price. But I'm concerned that I wont do something right and after this work it still wont technically be considered a bedroom. I'm most worried about resale values.

So... What makes a room a bedroom?

In addition to physical requirements what do I need to file with the county to relect the change so that when I got to sell the house it will be really considered a bedroom?

THANKS!
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Old 02-25-2010, 11:17 AM   #2
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What Makes A Room A Bedroom?


First: post your location in your profile. This will help US help YOU.

Second: in my jurisdiction you need a closet, heat, and an exterior air source. And you have to meet NEC 2005 requirements.
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Old 02-25-2010, 11:23 AM   #3
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What Makes A Room A Bedroom?


You need a window or door that meets for code for egress
This means they must lead directly outside from the bedroom
Natural light also required
Smoke alarm
AFCI protected circuits
Closet not required by code
Codes vary by location
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Old 02-25-2010, 11:33 AM   #4
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What Makes A Room A Bedroom?


In our inspections department (I work for a city), a room is considered a bedroom if it has a door that closes it off to the rest of the living area, and a closet. That does not mean the room is up to code - it means if it has a door and a closet, it needs to meet the code of being a bedroom.
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Old 02-25-2010, 11:53 AM   #5
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What Makes A Room A Bedroom?


Filled in my location... thanks!
I don't think Electrical will be a problem since it's already a very functional room with 5 outlets, a light, and fire alarm set up by the builder.
Does anyone know where I could look up the building coder requirements for a bedroom in the state of Texas?

It sounds like if I put in a window that opens up big enough and a closet I should be fine. Now I just have to figure out how you set it up so that it's officially recognized as a bedroom in the records so when I got to sell everything is ready to go.

Does a building permit do that for you?

Thanks for the help guys...
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Old 02-25-2010, 11:56 AM   #6
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What Makes A Room A Bedroom?


Are you on Town sewer or a Septic system ?
Septic needs to be sized by the number of bedrooms
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Old 02-25-2010, 12:00 PM   #7
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What Makes A Room A Bedroom?


I'm on regular water and sewer lines.
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:50 AM   #8
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What Makes A Room A Bedroom?


In addition to egress, window glazing in habitable rooms, natural light must be a min. of 8% of the total floor sg.ft. I would do the math on the window you are proposing.
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Last edited by Mop in Hand; 02-26-2010 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:51 AM   #9
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What Makes A Room A Bedroom?


Why don't you call your local code enforcement officer? Surely they would know better than anyone on this forum the definition of a bedroom in your jurisdiction.
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:49 PM   #10
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What Makes A Room A Bedroom?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
You need a window or door that meets for code for egress
This means they must lead directly outside from the bedroom
that door or window is a secondary form of egress. local codes will dictate sizing and possibly placement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
Why don't you call your local code enforcement officer? Surely they would know better than anyone on this forum the definition of a bedroom in your jurisdiction.
and this. most of the folks i've dealt with locally for questions like this are super helpful and easy to talk to.
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Old 02-26-2010, 02:34 PM   #11
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What Makes A Room A Bedroom?


Quote:
Originally Posted by cellophane View Post
that door or window is a secondary form of egress. local codes will dictate sizing and possibly placement
I don't see any where in the code section that indicates it is considered secondary means of egress

Quote:
EMERGENCY ESCAPE AND RESCUE OPENINGS: SECTION: R 310.1
Habitable space and every sleeping room shall have at least one openable emergency escape and rescue window or exterior door opening functioning as an operable emergency escape and rescue opening. Where openings are provided as a means of escape and rescue, each shall have a sill height of not more than 44 inches above the floor. Where a door opening having a threshold below the adjacent ground elevation serves as an emergency escape and rescue opening and is provided with a bulkhead enclosure, the bulkhead enclosure shall comply with Section R310.3. The net clear opening dimensions required by this section shall be obtained by the normal operation of the window or door opening from the inside. Escape and rescue window openings with a finished sill height below the adjacent ground elevation shall be provided with a window well in accordance with Section R310.2.
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Old 02-26-2010, 02:44 PM   #12
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What Makes A Room A Bedroom?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
I don't see any where in the code section that indicates it is considered secondary means of egress
hrm. residential code is apparently written differently than commercial code (go figure.) we do a number of residential buildings and we always have to have a secondary egress for a space to be considered a bedroom. reason being - if there is a fire in front of the main door, there is always a second way for the occupant(s) to safely exit the premises.

i know code interpretation is also very inconsistent. i've had to call multiple times down to the code office regarding things we come across at work and have gotten different answers after talking to different people. i personally would interpret the piece you quoted as requiring a secondary means of egress from the room - but that only proves my point
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