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Old 04-06-2013, 10:15 AM   #1
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Remove wall at recessed window


The 2nd story windows in my home (dutch colonial style) all are recessed ~8" into the walls and I don't see why. It seems the walls are unnecessarily thick. Now that I am planning to renovate our small bathroom, I want to gain some floorspace by cutting out that wall all the way to the exterior. I'll be able to see what is in the wall when I remove the insert, but I am concerned that my contractor is unfamiliar with the design and thinks it will be no problem at all to remove that wall section. I figure there is a reason for this construction design?
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:30 AM   #2
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Remove wall at recessed window


Im pretty sure there is a reason, and to me it would not be worth it to gain that much space. HVAC returns? Thick Insulation on that side of house? Where are you? Is construction brick on block?

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Old 04-06-2013, 11:36 AM   #3
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Remove wall at recessed window


Good chance you have some vent pipes in that wall....and I'm going to guess that you live where it gets cold....

Thick walls hold more insulation....more insulation means less heat loss.....

Personally, I love the look of those thick walls.

But....lets say that you can trim back that wall....all that work to gain...what?....maybe 3" of space? Pretty expensive 3".
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Old 04-06-2013, 11:52 AM   #4
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Remove wall at recessed window


When confronted with things like this your expectation should NOT be that it can be removed. Something that big was probably done for a reason.

If you've got a contractor that didn't raise this same line of thinking then you need to get a different contractor.

Are all the windows on that wall (or the others for that matter) set that deep? If so then it's very likely the construction of the house required it. But if it's just that window and there ARE other windows in other rooms on that SAME wall that don't have as deep a window then there *MAY* be some possibility of changing it. The only way you'd know otherwise would be to remove the drywall and look at how the wall is constructed inside.

Since you suggest other windows are also set this way it would be my recommendation that when you pull one of the walls open, that you do it in a room other than a bathroom first. Do it in a room that won't have a problem being patched back up again. Because if you discover there's a lot of insulation (my guess) or other elements requiring the walls to be that thick you'll want to have learned this in a room whose patched wall won't constantly remind you of how stupid an idea it was in the first place...

If it's just the look of the deeper window wells that bothers you, are you planning on replacing the windows any time soon? Because if you did then you could *possibly* have the windows set a bit deeper in from the outside. And then new millwork around the inside of the windows to give a better look. But, again, this would depend a lot on how those walls are really constructed, and why.
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:53 PM   #5
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Remove wall at recessed window


as DDawg16 mentions, probably a pipe or air return in the wall. it is normal to have one thick pipe or return in a wall and to make the entire wall extra thick just for the one pipe instead of having a column in the room that goes around just the pipe. to accommodate a pipe the wall is usually just 1 1/2" thicker though and not 8"...
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Old 04-06-2013, 03:40 PM   #6
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Remove wall at recessed window


I suspect wkearney is right that it is part of the overall construction. Every window, front and back, is set like this so I have my doubts it is for the hvac or piping. The odd thing is that I am in Virginia, and wouldn't think it is for extra insulation either. Like I said, when I remove the insert I will expose at least oart of the wall and will have a look.
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Old 04-06-2013, 03:44 PM   #7
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Remove wall at recessed window


Guess your not a builder.
It's very common to see 2 X 6's used in constrution on outside walls.
More insulation, lower heating and cooling bills.
In fact it code in a lot of places to use 2 X 6's.
I know in the last 5 years or so that's all I've used.
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Old 04-06-2013, 04:07 PM   #8
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Remove wall at recessed window


Joe may be on to something but 2x6 for the exterior wall wouldn't explain a full 8" depth inside the window well.

But that does beg the question, exactly how deep is the measure from the face of the drywall to the inside edge of the window? And how thick is the whole wall? What's the outside of the wall, siding or brick?

There's the odd outside chance it's something unusual like block construction of the outside walls and then studded inside. Stranger things have been built...

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