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Can a Garage Entry Door Have Glass?
Are you planning to buy a door for the entryway from the garage to the house? Such a door is called the “Garage Entry Door to House”. The garage entry door has to be fire rated! But does it have to be a plain boring door? Can a fire rated garage entry door have glass?
The garage entry door to the house can have glass panels provided the entire door system is fire rated for 20 minutes or more. The garage entry door system includes the door, the glass panels, the door frame, hinges and the self closing mechanism.
The garage is considered as a fire risk zone. Sufficient measures have to be taken to ensure that any fire in an attached garage does not spread to the house and endanger the lives of the residents.
The 2021 International Residential Code (IRC) “Fourth Version September 2020”, the latest update made available on the internet, has several sections that deal with fire safety, when it comes to an attached garage.
What is the Code for Garage Entry Door?
IRC considers the garage entry door as an opening from the garage into the house, a dwelling unit (ADU). It is imperative that the garage entry door safeguards the lives of the inhabitants from potential danger.
The opening between the garage and the house must be equipped with a door that provides protection as per Section R302.5.1 of the 2021 edition of the International Residential Code (IRC).
R302.5.1 Opening protection: Openings from a private garage directly into a room used for sleeping shall not be permitted. Other openings between the garage and the residence shall be equipped with solid wood doors not less than 1-3/8 inches (35 mm) in thickness, solid or honey-comb core steel doors not less than 1-3/8 inches (35 mm) thick, or 20 minute fire-rated doors. Doors shall be self latching and equipped with a self-closing or automatic-closing device.
The take away from the above section is that the garage entry door must be:
- solid wood not less than 1-3/8 inches thick OR
- solid or honey-comb core steel not less than 1-3/8 inches thick OR
- 20 minute fire-rated
As is evident from this section, IRC wants to ensure that the 20 minute fire rating criteria is met. The material used for the garage entry door is suggested, not mandated.
What Does It Mean for a Door to Be Fire Rated?
Fire-rated doors are constructed of materials that work together to slow or stop the spread of flames, smoke and, in certain applications, radiant and conductive heat transfer.Technical Glass Products (TGP)
The main function of a fire rated door is to stop the spread of flames & smoke from one zone to another. However, it may also be required to reduce the rate of heat transfer through conduction or radiation.
The important point to note is that the fire rated door has to function as a system which includes the door, the frame, the hardware, glazing and all component parts. Each individual component has to be fire rated.
Fire rated door systems are rated in minutes, ranging from 20 minutes to 180 minutes. A 20 minute fire rated door should not combust or fail for 20 minutes in an average fire, when installed properly. Moreover, each component of a 20 minute fire rated door system should have a fire rating of 20 minutes or more.
A fire rated door system needs to undergo rigorous tests conducted by independent laboratories. Common materials used for fire rated doors are steel and wood, as mentioned in the IRC code. However, fiberglass and fire rated glass can also meet the required test criterion.
What Is Fire Rated Glass?
Fire rated glass is a specialty glass. It will prevent the spread of flames and smoke. It can also be designed to reduce the transfer rate of radiant and conductive heat.
Fire rated glass delivers all the functional requirements of a fire rated material, such as steel, without compromising on the aesthetic beauty of full vision. Fire rated glass is an excellent combination of safety & style.
Types of Fire Rated Glass
Fire rated glass is either polished wired glass or ceramic glass.
Polished wired glass is made by embedding a wire mesh into the glass sheet. Polished wire glass is an old technology and is consequently quite cheap. Though it is available both as clear & textured finishes, the aesthetics are not too great.
Ceramic glass is made by coating glass with a clear ceramic fire rated glazing. Full clarity is possible which is aesthetically more appealing. Ceramic glass can have higher fire and impact safety ratings. Ceramic is also a barrier to radiant heat.
A 20 minute fire rated glass will typically have the following specs:
- Clear and wireless
- 1/4″ thick
- Tempered (at least 4 times stronger than wired glass)
- Impact safety-rated – ANSI Z97.1 and CPSC 16CFR1201 (Cat. I and II)
Fire rated glass must be tested and approved by independent agencies.
Brands Worth Considering
If you are in the market for a fire rated garage entry door with glass, here are some brands that you could check out:
Thermatru has a line of fire rated doors that are beautiful, trendy and feature full-length lock side blocking, as well as blocking for panic and closure applications.
Their solid-panel fiberglass wood-edge doors can also be ordered as a 20-Minute Fire-Rated product. The doors are tested to withstand a minimum of 20 minutes of fire exposure at temperatures that reach more than 1400 degrees Fahrenheit!
And they don’t split, crack or rot.
TruStile makes fire rated garage entry doors with glass as part of its huge line-up of residential doors. They offer “Safety Without Compromising Style”
All TruStile fire doors feature full panel relief and are engineered to match the details of their standard offering. TruStile offers a revolutionary new frame system that provides the desired appearance of natural wood in 20- through 90-minute fire ratings.
This means that TruStile paint- and stain-grade fire doors can be paired with a matching material frame. The result is a uniform and architecturally-correct aesthetic on all TruStile doors, frames and millwork for every opening.
Masonite manufactures all types of wood, steel and glass doors for residential use. Their fire rated doors come with following features:
- Pre-applied primer means your door comes ready to paint
- Various panel designs available to complement your style
- Numerous glass options to maximize natural light
- Simulated Divided Lites (SDLs) external or internal grids allow for added customization
- Available in 20 (wood-edge) or 90 (steel-edge) Minute fire ratings, providing the security of steel with Energy Star eligibility
- Rot-resistant bottom rails combat rust as well as cracking and warping in wood edge or steel edge doors
MMI Doors is a major supplier of doors. They stock several brands and can therefore meet any kind of requirement for a fire rated garage entry door with glass.
Primarily focused on residential new construction and remodeling, their major product lines include:
- JELD-WEN Interior Doors and Exterior Entry Systems
- Plastpro Fiberglass Entry Systems
- ODL Decorative Glass Lites
- Assa Abloy Commercial Doors, Frames & Hardware—Ceco, Yale, Graham
- Interior and Exterior Steel Frames
Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.