Most commercial exterior doors feature glass. With the exception of the hardware, some are even made entirely of glass.
Whether it’s providing a window for light to enter a space, allowing those inside to see out, or even adding to a building’s appearance, commercial glass plays a big role in a door’s function. Depending on a door’s placement and intended use, commercial glass selection also makes a big difference in a door’s longevity and safety.
Getting the most from a commercial glass door starts with glass selection.
4 Glass Types for Commercial Doors
With a wide variety of options, there’s a glass type for almost every kind of commercial door.
Commercial glass types often used for exterior doors include:
- Tempered glass
- Laminated glass
- Fire-rated glass
- Decorative glass
1. Tempered Glass
Tempered glass is among the strongest glass options available.
Through a heat-treating process -- which brings panes to temperatures over 1,000℉ before being quickly cooled -- glass sheets become 4-5x stronger than traditional glass.
With its enhanced strength, tempered glass is more durable and able to deflect blunt impacts without breaking. In the event of a breakage, tempered glass doesn’t shatter into jagged shards. Rather, tempered glass breaks into small, pebble-like pieces. Those in the immediate area of a broken tempered glass pane are not at risk of getting hurt by large pieces of broken glass.
Tempered glass is also heat resistant, providing a level of shielding from a fire’s intense heat.
Tempered glass’ strength and safeness make it an ideal choice in high-traffic areas.
2. Laminated Glass
Another material known for strength, laminated glass panes also stand up well to the demands of a door.
Made by bonding a clear, vinyl interlayer between at least two plies of glass, laminated glass panes offer increased integrity against heavy or direct blows. Using a special polycarbonate layer, laminated glass can be bulletproof.
In the event the glass does break, its pieces don’t shatter and fall out of place. Thanks to the inter layer, broken glass pieces remain within the pane. This drastically reduces the chance for injury from jagged shards.
With its additional layers, laminated glass reduces noise -- an important feature to consider for spaces located on busy streets and thoroughfares.
3, Fire-Rated Glass
For one of the most extreme situations -- a building fire -- fire-rated glass is one of the best commercial glass choices for protecting people and property.
There are two categories of fire-rated glass: fire-protective glass and fire-resistant glass.
From a safety perspective, it’s important to understand the differences between both types for fire-rated glass doors.
Fire-protective glass blocks the spread of fire and smoke and does offer some protection from radiant heat. This glass type is usually not made from glass, but rather a clear ceramic. Some fire-protective glass is a specialty tempered glass.
Fire-resistant glass offers the most protection during a fire. Like fire-protective glass, fire-resistant glass helps contain the spread of flames and smoke. Comprising multiple layers of glass in a sheet, fire-resistant glass also blocks radiant heat. In the event of a fire, those passing by a commercial door with fire-resistant glass will not be exposed to the blaze’s intense heat -- a key factor for doors in escape routes.
4. Decorative Glass
Not every door is meant strictly for utility purposes. Sometimes, a commercial door contributes to or complements a building’s aesthetics. This is particularly true for doors installed at historic buildings or part of restoration projects.
Using patterned glass on a door is an easy way to achieve a certain look. For instance, depending on the style, patterned glass can even provide an element of privacy by obscuring clarity.
With a period-appropriate door style coupled with a carefully selected patterned glass, a commercial glass entry door blends seamlessly into the surrounding structure.
Durability a concern? Some patterned glass types are temperable. Your glass manufacturer will point you in the right direction.
In buildings with modern design schemes, two-way commercial mirror glass pairs well -- and is unique. While providing a sleek aesthetic, two-way mirror glass, such as Mirropane, still allows for light transmission into a space and unobstructed viewing of the area on its other side.
Getting the Most From Your Commercial Door With Glass
Beyond being a window to the outside, commercial door glass choice helps you maximize your investment in a door. From improving safety to complementing your design, glass commercial doors are more than a means to enter or exit a space.
Enhance Commercial Door Glass Appearance
V-grooving is a fabrication option that takes a glass sheet’s appearance to the next level. Learn more about the various styles available for commercial door glass: