Do mirrors have to be safety tempered glass next to doors?
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Mirrors that are mounted on a continuous backing support do not have to be safety tempered glass, even if located in areas defined as hazardous for glazing by the building code, such as near a door. This is because glazing is defined as the “process of installing an infill material into a prepared opening in windows, door panels, partitions, etc.” Unless a mirror is installed in an opening, it is not glazing. Here’s how the exception is listed in the International Residential Code (IRC) and Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC):
This only applies to residential construction because the code requires shatter-resistant mirrors in some commercial situations, such as an aquatic facility (pool) bathroom. But it is still a good idea to have mirrors that will not explode into hundreds of shards of sharp, falling glass if impacted. The tempering process for safety glass creates wavy imperfections that become more visible when a mirror coating is applied, so a more practical solution is to buy a mirror with “safety backing” for your bathroom. Safety backing is an adhesive film made from polypropylene that is applied to the back surface of the mirror. It keeps the glass pieces in place when shattered and also helps control moisture that can deteriorate the mirror paint.
See our blog post When is safety tempered glass required by code for glass near a door? for code requirements for safety glass at windows near a door.
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To learn more about doors and windows, see these other blog posts:
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