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My bed is right up against a window. I prefer to lean against something and sit in bed while working. The most convenient place where I can lean against is the window, but I'm afraid that I will put too much stress on it and it will become dangerous. Is there any way I could fashion something that would put less stress on the window?

closed as off-topic by holroy, kenorb, Adam Zuckerman, Mast, michaelpri Sep 6 '15 at 21:04

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    I did not downvote your question, but somebody did. I think that's because it sounds like it takes a yes-or-no answer. Try changing the title to "how to safely lean against a window" or something like that. – BrettFromLA Aug 21 '15 at 19:27
  • Can you securely fasten a few 2x4s or similar supports to the frame to cross the window for you to lean on instead? – WBT Aug 22 '15 at 14:04
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You asked whether it was possible to "fashion something that would put less stress on the window". You could get a board that is wider than the window, and at least 2/3 as tall as your back, and stand it up on one edge with both ends safely* leaning on the window frame. Then you lean against that instead of leaning against the glass.

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Depending on how wide the window frame is, a wooden cutting board may do the trick.

*I'm not sure how safe this really is, but it's probably a whole lot safer than leaning against a pane of glass!

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The first level of added safety would be to fit protective cling film onto the glass (both sides even), such as used for anti-hijack purposes on cars. Any type of glass film will help but some are purpose made to reduce danger if the glass breaks.

Adding a sheet of Lexan/polycarbonate/Perspex in front might be a more durable option and an easier sell to other parties, depending on the size you may need a moderately thick sheet, not the cheapest option.

Replacing glass with suitable laminated or toughened safety glass is also a option for even more money.

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TL;DR;

"Generally" speaking, it's "probably" ok, but in terms of your safety my official response is "it's impossible to tell without a lot more info".


It being "safe" depends on:

  • Window type - double or single glazed, or more
  • Window structure - wooden, PVC, metal
  • Window age and condition - is it strong, new, or old and deteriorated
  • How the window is fitted - bars/supports from the window structure running into the walls, or just fasteners, and how strong they are (or are not)
  • How much of you is pressing against the window or window frame
  • Which part of the window you lean on - the glass or frame or combination, or if partly the window sill
  • How long you lean on it for
  • Do you lean back hard, or gently
  • Probably others

Also relevant in terms of safety, is how far you have to fall if something did happen. It's never going to be good going through a window, but there is a difference in "risk" between falling 10 or 15 feet down from a house height versus a high rise and 50+ feet down. Neither is good, but there is a difference.

If the window is stable and not old and deteriorated, and fastened well, you are likely to be safe.
However without physical evaluation it's hard to say, because of all the above mentioned points. Also, windows are not designed to be leaned on, certainly not over long periods as an ongoing support.

Fashioning something to make it safer would likely entail putting something across the frame on one side and the frame on the other, and leaning on that. As then your weight is spread across the frame, rather than pressing on one single point, and certainly not on the glass itself.
But this only reduces potential problems from not leaning directly on glass, and if the frame itself is weak then this will not be any safer.

In conclusion

It's hard to say over the internet how strong a structure is without knowing anything about it, or how old it is (etc - as per above list).
Deterioration is caused by various factors, which can vary or change depending on age, original build quality, and even things like your location - such as the weather (if you get lots of snow for example and you have wooden windows and don't maintain them regularly - etc).

Personally, I'd recommend avoiding it if you can. Shuffle your room around so you are leaning on a wall, or fasten a board to the wall below the window which comes up to the height you are leaning (which may not be ideal is it will likely cover the window and you lose light and window access etc).

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    I think the short answer should just read "Probably not". I still use the "would my mother yell at me for this?" rule of thumb. – BrownRedHawk Aug 21 '15 at 17:57
  • @BrownRedHawk Good point, added TLDR. – James Aug 21 '15 at 18:10

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