Dear Glass Detective,
Can either tempered glass or laminated glass be used in a 90 minute rate fire door?
This is an excellent question with an easy answer! Neither tempered glass nor laminated glass qualify as a fire-rated material, so in short, no- neither one can be used in a 90 minute labeled door.
For those who are not familiar with these terms, they apply to fire doors. Fire-rated doors are doors that can withstand exposure to the conditions of a fire (mainly heat) for an extended period of time. Fire doors are rated by how long they can withstand these conditions without deforming enough to compromise safety, with ratings normally ranging from 20 minutes up to 3 hours. Doors of different ratings doors are used in different parts of buildings. For example, a 20 minute door would usually be found in an interior hallway, whereas a 90 minute door might be used for the interior stairwells of a building. The more essential a door is to the structural integrity of the building and escape from fire, the higher the necessary time rating.
So if tempered glass and laminated glass are not suitable for fire doors, what is? Certain types of wired glass and ceramic glass are used widely in fire-rated doors because they are able to better withstand the extreme temperatures. However, they are not fire-proof, so the size of the pane allowed generally decreases as the fire rating time increases.
(In fact, there is no such thing as “fire-proof” glass, though there are different levels of “fire-resistant” glass.)
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