Commercial and Residential Glass Installer and Manufacturer Resource

What is Fire Rated Glass? | Safety Benefits in Commercial Applications

Sep 22, 2022 12:00:00 AM / by Greg Martell

What is Fire Rated Glass

Commercial fires cost nearly $350 billion per year in the United States. 

Fire losses are one of the most costly disasters. Most commercial fires aren't caused intentionally or carelessly, but due to malfunctioning equipment or electrical issues.

Once a fire starts, it spreads so fast that it can be difficult for firefighters to contain once they arrive on the scene. 

Installing fire rated glass helps prevent the rapid spread of fire, especially in more at-risk facilities. This is a fire protection system that’s always on.

What is Fire Rated Glass?

Fire rated glass is just like it sounds; it's glass that is manufactured to act as a barrier to spreading flames and smoke. This is known as compartmentation.

There are two fire rated glass types: fire-protective and fire-resistant glass. 

Fire-protective glass blocks the spread of fire and smoke. Fire-resistant glass does the same, but also provides protection from a blaze’s radiant heat. 

Fire rated glass is as strong as it is flame-resistant, unlike traditional wired glass panels.

In order to achieve fire rated glass status, the glass must go through a rigorous testing process in which it’s heated to temperatures of up to 1,700 ℉

Subsequent ratings are given to the glass based on how long it stays intact without breaking. Some fire-resistance glass only stays intact for 20 minutes, though better glass can stay intact for up to 3 hours.

3 Benefits of Fire Rated Glass

Businesses and residential homes might elect to install fire-rated glass for several reasons, including:

  1. Safety
  2. Insurance savings
  3. It’s always on

1. Safety

Fire rated glass improves the safety of any building in the event there's a fire. The glass resists both fire and impact, meaning the spread of the fire will slow and occupants have more time to escape to safe grounds.

Fire rated glass is made for windows, doors, framing, and more. If your customer is in a line of work that's more at risk than others, or they just want to maximize a building's safety, investing in fire-rated glass is worth it.

2. Insurance Savings

Because fires can be so damaging, the cost to insure certain properties can be significant, especially if the business is deemed more at risk for a fire. Taking the necessary measures to prevent fire damage can score points with your insurance company, which may translate to lower premium costs.

3. It's Always On

Sprinklers, fire extinguishers, and smoke alarms are more reactive fire-safety strategies than they are proactive ones. Fire rated glass, however, is a measure that's “always on.”

The benefits of fire rated glass are more wide-ranging than just fire protection. The increased impact resistance of fire-rated glass means it helps safeguard properties from storms and severe weather.

Protect Your Customers With Fire Rated Glass

Fire-rated glass gives your customers peace of mind with an added layer of safety. From windows, doors, framing, and more, fire-rated glass is worth the investment.

Is Fire Rated Glass Right For You?

Does fire rated glass make sense for your project? Compare our SaftiFirst fire-protective glass products:

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(Editor's note: This article was originally published in September 2020 and was recently updated). 

Topics: Glass, Commercial Glass, Fire Rated Glass

Written by Greg Martell