Using Fire-Rated Glass for Exterior Applications

fire safetyFire-rated glass is commonly used for interior windows and glass walls in building and renovation projects. However, recent trends indicate that this type of glazing can also be a good choice for exterior projects. Here’s a brief introduction to using fire-rated glass in exterior applications.

What Is Fire-Rated Glass?

Fire-rated glass is a specialized glazing product used in construction applications where fire safety is a primary concern. It’s designed to resist the spread of both flames and smoke during a fire and has physical properties that can also limit the transfer of heat from the fire. The ratings of fire-rated glass indicate how long the material can be expected to retain its flame-, smoke- and heat-resistant qualities. Fire-rated class can often withstand temperatures of up to 1600 degrees. This type of glass can also resist more physical force and harder impacts that regular glass.

Using Fire-Rated Glass in Exterior Construction

  • Consider qualities of fire-rated glass: Fire-rated glass must provide the same type of basic features as other types of glass. For example, a construction project must consider qualifies of the glass such as visual factors, potential heat gain or loss, condensation control, acoustic properties, color, shading and energy efficiency.
  • Follow appropriate building codes and construction requirements: The use of fire-rated glass in exterior applications can be a good way to meet construction code requirements. Sources such as the International Building Code establish requirements for exterior surfaces of buildings and the level of fire safety they must provide. Buildings 10 feet or less from a property line, for example, must have an exterior wall fire rating based on both interior occupancy and the proximity of other buildings.
  • Evaluate cost and building characteristics: Fire-rated glass may be appropriate depending on cost considerations and building characteristics, such as directional orientation, exposure to local climate and use type.

Construction Monitor provides detailed building permit data and housing start information for communities throughout the United States. Contact us today for more information on the uses of fire-rated glass and how this material can improve the exterior of your construction or renovation project.

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