Today we are going to provide a brief overview for the resident of San Carlos looking to replace the windows in their home. Understanding the applicable guidelines for window replacement and the requirements for window permits in San Carlos is a necessity.

The city of San Carlos, located halfway between San Francisco and San Jose, is a quaint gem in the heart of San Mateo County. Known as the “City of Good Living”, San Carlos aims to give residents a small town feel in the midst of major South Bay hubs. Known statewide for its incredible school system, San Carlos was the first city in the state to open and operate a charter school.

Permit Requirements

Regardless of the type of replacement project, the city will require a permit for all work done. This means that new installations and replacements/retrofits will need to be on file with the city.

Egress/Entry Requirements

For safety reasons, each bedroom requires at least one window to be of sufficient size to allow any one to escape the home in case of a fire and also allow a fully uniformed firefighter to enter without any issue.

  • The window must have a:
  • Width of opening no less than 20 inches
  • Height of opening no less than 24 inches
  • Net clear opening no less than 5.7 sq. feet (5 sq ft. for windows on the ground floor given the they are no greater than 44 in. above interior and exterior grade)
  • Height of the bottom of the window no more than 44 inches above the interior floor space.

Note: a window must meet EACH ONE of the requirements listed above. For example, a window that is 20 in x 24 in would meet the width and height requirements, but only has a net clearing of 3.3 sq. feet, thus failing to meet egress requirements for window permits in San Carlos.

Natural Light & Energy Requirements

  • All spaces intended for human occupancy shall have a minimum net glazed area for natural light no less than 8% of the floor area of the room.
  • Windows must be double-paned and have a maximum U-value of 0.40.

San Carlos Building Division

For any questions regarding building codes and window permits in San Carlos, feel free to visit the Building Division service counter at City Hall:

San Carlos City Hall
600 Elm Street
San Carlos, CA 94070
Phone: (650) 802-4261
Fax: (650) 595-6761

Office Hours:
•    Monday – Friday 9AM to 12PM
•    By Special Appointment

Those submitting plans for renovations should expect a turn-around time between 1 and 3 weeks, depending of the scope of the renovation.

For more information about window permits in San Carlos and window replacement codes, including exceptions, visit

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