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:

What causes sweating (condensation) on the inside of windows in the winter? 

Is every exterior door of a house required to have a landing outside? 

 What are the small slots at the bottom of the outside of my window? 

Why does condensation form on the outside of some windows and not others in the morning? 

Why if the garage door track a white tube? 

What is the raised metal plate on the floor under the garage door?

 Why do I have to hold down the button to close the garage door? 

Should a front door swing in or out? 

Why is pressure washing double pane windows an expensive mistake? 

How many exit doors are required for a house?

 How many exit doors are required for a mobile/manufactured home? 

Are openable windows required to have window screens? Will windows with no screens pass a home inspection? 

Can a bedroom door open into the garage?

What are the building code requirements for a door from the garage to the house?

What is "low-E" window glass? 

What does ANSI 297.1 on glass mean?

Why is a double cylinder deadbolt lock on an exterior door a safety hazard?

How can I check my garage door to make sure it is safe?  

What is an egress window?

Does a home inspector test all the windows and doors in a home? 

How difficult is it to change a window to french doors or a sliding glass door?

How do you determine if a door is left-handed or right-handed?

Why are window security bars dangerous? 

What are the common problems you find inspecting windows?

What is causing a foggy haze on my windows? 

What do those numbers on the manufacturer's stickers in new windows mean?

What does a home inspector check on an electric garage door? 

• What is the tempered label on glass at windows and sliding glass doors called?

• Do I need to have two exterior exit doors in my house? 

• When is safety glass required for windows at stairs and stair landings?

    Visit our DOORS AND WINDOWS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

Illustration by Code Check.

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