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7 Considerations When Using Fire Rated Glass in Exterior Applications

7 Considerations When Using Fire Rated Glass in Exterior Applications
Fire rated glass acts as a barrier from smoke and fire, improving the fire safety of a building and safeguarding the people inside and outside of it. This material is ideal for glass doors and windows since it can provide additional fire protection without obstructing vision.

However, not all fire rated glass is the same. Some are designed for indoor applications, while others are ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.

Below is a discussion on choosing the right fire rated glass and its specifications.

7 Considerations When Using Fire Rated Glass in Exterior Applications

Before you head to a manufacturer to buy your fire rated products, you must know what to look for and your purpose. Buying these products while unaware of their applications can be counterproductive since not all fire rated glasses work the same. Here are some things you want to keep in mind.

1. Does it have the correct fire rating?

In the U.S., fire rated glass needs to meet a specific standard. These glasses will be tested against numerous national standards. The people assigned to the test are from independent laboratories.

The labs give ratings in terms of time increments, which shows the quality and reliability of the glass during fires. For example, if a lab gives a fire rated glass with a rating of 60, this means it can withstand flames for 60 minutes.

The price can increase depending on how long the glass can control the fire. Other factors include the construction type and fire separation distance.

2. What is the fire separation distance?

Fire separation distance refers to the distance of a building’s face to the closest interior lot line, street, alley, or public way. Why is this important? Fires can spread quickly and, if not dealt with immediately, cause serious damage to adjacent properties. This influences the type of glass a building needs, making it an essential aspect to consider, too.

For example, in zero lot line applications, fire resistive glass tested to ASTM E-119/UL 263 can be used to add daylight and transparency while meeting fire rated requirements.  They may look like a window or an opening, but it is considered a wall.  

Read: How Fire Rated Glass Meets Lot Line Requirements Without Sacrificing Design

3. Did it pass all safety tests?

This part is a no-brainer. Many products in the market must go through several safety tests to ensure that they do their job appropriately and have a high level of quality.

Purchasing something like a fire rated glass, whose primary function is to act as a barrier, requires numerous tests, including fire endurance test, hose stream test, impact safety test, and radiant heat test.

Read: Radiant Heat and Rated Glass: Everything You Should Know

4. Does it meet energy performance requirements?

Energy performance is the gauge of the efficiency levels of glass or glazing. This relates to its function of transmitting daylight while blocking heat. The higher the rating, the more light is transmitted without excess heat. This is vital since you do not want excess heat getting inside in case of fire.

SAFTI FIRST incorporates energy-efficient glazing in its fire rated glass applications and is part of NFRC CMAST.

5. Does it meet other performance requirements?

Aside from the performance requirements already mentioned, there are additional ones that fire rated products need to pass. These involve sound attenuation, noise abatement, wind load deflection, water penetration resistance, and force entry testing.

Some buildings and establishments can have specific requirements that manufacturers need to account for, so you can research what those are.

6. Does it have certification?

In the U.S., there are organizations that provide certification for energy-efficient products, including glazing products. These include the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

If the product has accreditation from these organizations, it is likely of good quality. This is why you must check for labels, ratings, and certifications. Having these on a product, especially for commercial ones, ensures that it has undergone rigorous testing and is reliable.

7. Determine areas prone to weather conditions

Unlike interior applications, exterior glass products are directly exposed to weather conditions. Some areas are prone to hurricanes, while some have frigid weather. Researching the place before determining an application will lead to better results since you will be aware of the best material for your specific case.

Quality Is Essential

The crucial part of any big purchase is to ensure quality. It is vital for the establishment and people’s safety, so thorough analysis and evaluation are necessary. In terms of fire rated glass exterior applications, quality is paramount.

SAFTI FIRST is an established, reliable manufacturer of USA-made fire rated glazing solutions. We offer several products for both interior and exterior applications. Contact us today to learn more about fire rated glass and glazing solutions for your next project.

Do you have a current or upcoming project that needs fire rated glass and framing? Contact us today!