Where is safety/tempered glass required for windows and doors of a house?
Friday, June 29, 2018
Here’s how the Florida Building Code (FBC) and International Residential Code (IRC) define which windows of a home are in a “hazardous location” that requires safety/tempered glass:
The key thing to remember about this standard is that all four criteria must be met before safety/tempered glass is necessary. If the window does not meet any one of the specs, based on location and size, ordinary window glass is okay. So, the glass must be larger than 9 square feet and within 36 inches of a walking area, plus the bottom of the window has to be below 18 inches above the floor and top more than 36 inches above the floor.
All doors are considered a hazardous location and must have safety/tempered glass with just a couple of exceptions for small glass panels in a door and decorative glass. See our blog post What are the code requirements for safety tempered glass for doors? for more on this. Also, glass on a perpendicular wall to a door and opposite the swing must be safety/tempered, as illustrated below.
There are exceptions allowed for decorative glass in windows also, along with the addition of a sturdy rail in front of the glass, and outboard panes of insulating glass in a high location:
None of this should be interpreted to exclude using safety/tempered glass for in a location that you decide warrants it. To find out how to verify that a particular window already has safety/tempered glass, see our blog post How can I tell if a window or glass door is safety glass?. Also, see our blog post When did the building code first require tempered glass for sliding glass doors, glass shower doors, and low windows in walking areas?
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To learn more about doors and windows, see these other blog posts:
Illustration by Code Check.
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