Fire rated glass generally comes in a couple of different formats.
The choice of what to use is first determined by the technical fire rated requirements of the location as dictated under the relevant building code.
Beyond the technical fire requirements there are aesthetic options as well. The choice then becomes one of size limitations, weight limitations and of course, budget.
Here are some of the main product categories, starting with the most simple and common to the most complex and rare.
Laminated glass for 20 Minute Doors
One of the most common applications is the fire-rated glass suitable for 20 minute fire and smoke control doors. The options for this include specialty tempered glass and laminated glass. But recent school attacks, such as Sandy Hook, have revealed that tempered glass offers essentially no security. Accordingly there is a shift in the best practices towards laminated fire glass for these applications.
UL Certified Wired Glass
Plain wired glass was used for decades as a fire rated glass, but was effectively banned in the 2006 edition of the International Building Code. Plain wired glass is unsafe against human impact and hundreds of gruesome injuries took place over the years.
With the banning of traditional wired glass in 2006, there emerged a new product to take its place. Its a modified wired glass that retains the original fire rating but is now modified in such a way as to pass modern impact safety test standards. This new product is fully tested and certified by UL as a fire-rated glass WITH full impact-safety. It completely meets all the needs for fire-rated glass in the current building codes.
The new glass is modified by adding an extra layer of impact resistant material to the wired glass. This modification is done in a factory under the auspices of UL. It is important that installers only use UL tested, certified and labelled products or you will find that the building inspector or fire marshal will require you to remove and replace it. Use only certified glass!
Glass ceramics are modern materials that can handle the heat of a fire with ease. These are transparent versions of the glass used in glass kitchen cooktops. This material withstands high heat almost indefinately and makes an ideal choice for a fire-rated glass for use in borrowed lites, door lites, side lites, and windows etc.
The glass is also available in laminated formats for improved impact safety.
This kind of glass is a multi-layered multi-laminate glass that provides fire-resistance. Because it is laminated it provides additional security and safety capabilities. Plus some manufacturers can combine this glass with high performance security laminates for exceptional forced entry, ballistic and detention performance. It is also available in very large sizes.
No matter what your fire-rated application is there is a modern product available to do the job. Ask your supplier to give you the options for your particular situation. Whether you are on a budget, or want the best product available, a transparent fire-rated glazing solution is a phone call away.