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What are the Standards for Frameless Glass Door Thicknesses?

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The Case of the Partition Performance



Dear Glass Detective,

What are the industry standard thicknesses for interior frameless tempered glass doors and partitions? We are using continuous head and sill channels for the partitions and patch fittings for the doors. The doors and walls vary in height; typically 8-feet, 9-feet and 10-feet. The doors are typically 36-inches, 42-inches and 48-inches wide.

Mark T.
Dallas, TX

Frameless Glass Office Partition Wall


Dear Mark,

Thank you for making contact with the Glass Detective with your questions regarding industry standards for glass selection in interior frameless glass partitions. You provided some sizes to work with and also stated that you intend to use tempered glass for the glass you will install. You further told us that you will be using sill and head channels and patch fittings for the doors in these partitions. The only information missing is what you intend to do at glass-to-glass butt joints, if any are present. Otherwise, you have covered the bases of your intentions and planning very well.

We at in general, and the Glass Detective in particular, do not provide actual engineering information or to approve anyone else’s design work. However, we can comment, as a consumer information service, on glass applications and make certain generalizations. With this in mind, the following comments are being offered to you:

    1. Because the installation in question is for an interior project, you shouldn’t have any concern with wind load. However, you will, or should have some concerns about glass deflection. For instance, a piece of 3/16-inch tempered glass at a height of ten feet and three feet in width supported only at the head and sill is going to deflect/bow a great deal more than a piece of glass that is ½-inch or ¾-inch thick and of the same dimensions.
    2. The deflection/bowing referenced above will be a much bigger concern if you intend to have a wall of glass consisting of multiple panels. Without any framing at the vertical sides, the bowing could be an even bigger concern for you. The individual panels may not all bow the same way.
    3. The bowing/deflecting of glass panels is not always necessarily a dangerous thing, but it certainly is not typically aesthetically pleasing. Wobbling and bowing glass can be frightening even if it is perfectly safe.
    4. Glass manufacturers provide a great deal of information on the loading capacity of their products in given thicknesses and sizes. You are, based on your e-mail address, associated with or are working for a design group. Tempered glass fabricators will be willing to provide you with design information and recommendations that you can use on this job and others in the future. Or, if you have a quality glass shop or glazing contractor that you have worked with in the past, you may want to first meet with them and have them collaborate with you and a glass supplier to determine what product selection will be best for your project.

Concluding Remarks: We suggest you reach out to a reputable glass supplier and spend time with them familiarizing yourself with the capabilities and performance characteristics of tempered glass as well as laminated glass products for use in interior partitions. You may want to do this through, or with, a reputable glazing contractor in your area who can also assist you with framing hardware and budgeting as well. We at feel that there is nothing more attractive and functional than glass partitions and doors in an interior office setting. Thank you again for reaching out to the Glass Detective and we wish you well with your project.

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Lyle Hill

Lyle Hill has been in the glass and metal industry for more than 40 years. In this time he has managed glass retail, contract glazing, mirror, architectural window, window film, and automotive glass businesses throughout America. He obtained an MBA from IIT with a focus on Technology and Engineering Management. Hill is also a columnist for glass industry trade magazines and often called the “face” of the glass industry. He has also authored books including “The Broken Tomato and Other Business Parables,” which is available through Amazon. Find out more about Lyle on Linkedin.

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