FAQ: Fire-Rated Glass, Glazing, & Assembly Systems

Code confusion? Protective vs. resistive? Fire vs. smoke? See answers to frequently asked questions about fire-rated glass, glazing, assembly systems, codes, tests, testing facilities, common applications, and more. Or contact us to speak directly to a member of our fire-rated team.

Fire-Rated FAQ Table of Contents

About McGrory Glass and Our National Fire-Rated Division

  • Q. Why should I choose McGrory Glass for my fire-rated glass needs?
  • Q. Who are your suppliers?
  • Q. Can fire-rated glazing be combined with other kinds of performance or structural glazing, such as security glass?
  • Q. I’m renovating or retrofitting an educational or healthcare facility. Can you help?
  • Q. What decorative and design elements are possible with fire-rated glazing?
  • Q. What’s the difference between surface-applied film and laminated products?

Fire Protective Glass vs Fire Resistive Glass

  • Q. What’s the difference between fire-protective and fire-resistive glass?
  • Q. What is a fire protective rating?
  • Q. What is fire protective glass?
  • Q. What is a fire resistive rating?
  • Q. What is fire resistive glass?

Codes, Code Requirements, Tests, & Testing Facilities

  • Q. What or who is UL (Underwriters Laboratories)?
  • Q. What is UL Testing, and what is a UL Listing?
  • Q. What or who is Intertek?
  • Q. What is the Hose Stream Test, and why is it necessary?
  • Q. What is an impact safety rating?
  • Q. What applications require an impact safety rating?
  • Q. What is ANSI (American National Standards Institute)?

Common Applications/ Areas of Install

  • Q. What is a borrowed lite?
  • Q. What is a fire door, and where is it used?
  • Q. What is a fire door assembly?
  • Q. What is a fire door and fire door lites?
  • Q. What is a fire window?
  • Q. What is a sidelite/ a fire-rated sidelite?
  • Q. What is a transom/ a fire-rated transom?

General Glass & Glazing Vocabulary

  • Q. What is a U-Value?
  • Q. What is laminated glass?
  • Q. What is monolithic glass?
AGC Pyrobel Fire Resistant Glass Vision Line Gelamco Arena
AGC Pyrobel®️ Fire Resistant Vision Line System by McGrory Glass

About McGrory Glass and Our National Fire-Rated Division

Q. Why should I choose McGrory Glass for my fire-rated glass needs?
A. McGrory Glass is a national fabricator and distributor of fire-rated, x-ray, architectural, and decorative glass solutions, offering decades of experience, a team of veteran fire-rated specialists coast-to-coast, and end-to-end customer support. A family-owned, single-source, and solar-powered manufacturer, we are uniquely positioned to provide glass for your entire project – in any sector. We are ready to help you navigate the complicated world of life-safety glazing options. McGrory Glass is also committed to the environment and sustainability. The 2.2 acre solar paneled roof of our main warehouse brought McGrory recognition as one of the first major glass fabrication companies to hit net zero energy consumption.

Q. Who are your suppliers?
A. We partner with SCHOTT and AGC, both established global leaders in the fire-rated glass market, and are proud to offer environmentally-friendly SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum fire-protective, micro-floated, glass-ceramic with a neutral gray tint (no amber), and Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Silver AGC Pyrobel®️ Fire-Resistant Safety Glass with Temperature Rise Performance. Stocked and ready to cut and ship, McGrory supplies quick quote turnaround, fast lead times, and speedy delivery direct to your door or jobsite.

Q. Can fire-rated glazing be combined with other kinds of performance or structural glazing, such as security glass?
A. McGrory’s fire-rated glazing can be combined with many other products to satisfy different performance and/ or aesthetic criteria. For example, insulating fire-rated glass using fire-rated spacers or laminating glass using UL-tested combinations, can allow for virtually endless possibilities. Decorative laminated, acid-etched, patterned, security laminated, privacy, one-way mirror and other types of glass can all be incorporated into a fire-rated system. Although retrofits into existing frames can limit your options due to thickness tolerances, new construction or framing offers a wide variety of options. Products like switchable privacy or leaded X-ray glass are typically combined with fire-rated glazing in a dual-rabbeted frame by glazing two separate lites into a single opening.

Q. I’m renovating or retrofitting an educational or healthcare facility. Can you help?
A. Yes. McGrory’s knowledgeable team can help you navigate complicated code requirements, explain the different products available for your requirements, and make recommendations tailored specifically to your project’s needs. Offering comprehensive decorative and architectural glass solutions in addition to healthcare specific products such as x-ray glass, radiation shielding glass, integral blinds, privacy glass, switchable glass, and more, we are a single-source (and solar-powered) provider.

Q. What decorative and design elements are possible with fire-rated glazing?
A. Nearly infinite options are available, thanks to our In-House Print Division and comprehensive fabrication/ manufacturing capabilities. Our team can help you select the right solution to make your vision a reality, while meeting code requirements.

Q. What’s the difference between surface-applied film and laminated products?
A. Surface-applied films can be a good short-term/ economical solution depending on the project, but they inherently have a very high tolerance for surface defects. Not only will minor scratches and pinholes occur, but surface-applied glazing also typically carries a shorter warranty period than laminated products. Laminated glazing typically has a longer warranty and isn’t susceptible to scratching, vandalism and peeling like surface-filmed products.

McGrory Glass Fire Rated AIA Continuing Education Courses
Need More Information? McGrory Glass Offers Fire Rated AIA Continuing Education Courses

Fire Protective Glass vs Fire Resistive Glass

Q. What’s the difference between fire-protective and fire-resistive glass?
A. Fire-protective glass contains flame and smoke, while fire-resistive glass contains flame and smoke, and also acts as a barrier to heat, protecting against dangerous radiant and conductive heat transfer. We are proud to offer SCHOTT PRYAN® Platinum fire-protective, micro-floated, glass-ceramic with a neutral gray tint (no amber), and Cradle to Cradle Certified™ AGC Pyrobel®️ Fire-Resistant Safety Glass with Temperature Rise Performance. Stocked and ready to cut and ship, McGrory supplies quick quote turnaround, fast lead times, and speedy delivery direct to your door or jobsite.

Q. What is a fire protective rating?
A. A rating which indicates how long a fire door or fire window assembly withstood exposure to fire during a testing process and fulfilled all acceptable benchmarks, in accordance with UL 9, UL 10B, UL 10C, UBC 7-2 (1997), UBC 7-4 (1997), NFPA 257, NFPA 80, ASTM E2010-01, ASTM E2074-00, ULCCAN4 S-104 and ULCCAN4 S-106.

Q. What is fire protective glass?
A. A type of glass with a specific fire-rated classification that prevents flames and smoke from spreading. SCHOTT PRYAN® Platinum products by McGrory Glass are a fire-protective glass-ceramic material that offers the largest sheet sizes in the industry – 51 x 99 inches – with a neutral gray tint (no amber). Smooth, clear, float-glass-quality fire-protective glazing prevents the spread of fire, hot gases and smoke.

Q. What is a fire resistive rating?
A. The amount of time materials or elements can withstand exposure to fire, as established by NFPA 251, ASTM E119, and UL 263 heat barrier performance criteria. AGC PYROBEL® by McGrory Glass are listed for use in doors, sidelites, transoms, borrowed lites, and wall applications with a fire rating of up to 120 minutes.

Q. What is fire resistive glass?
A. Having a specific fire rating, this glass protects against the advancement of smoke, flames, and radiant or conductive heat transfer. Does your design require Temperature Rise performance? AGC PYROBEL®️ Fire-Resistant Safety Glass with Temperature Rise Performance by McGrory is a barrier-to-heat product that protects against radiant and conductive heat transfer. These ASTM E119 and UL 263 tested products have ratings up to 2 Hours and are listed for use in doors, sidelites, transoms, borrowed lites, and wall applications.

Codes, Code Requirements, Tests, & Testing Facilities

Q. What is the Hose Stream Test?
A. This test is mandatory for all fire rating applications in the United States, with the single exception of 20-minute fire doors only. The Hose Stream Test is mandatory for all fire ratings in Canada. Heated glass is exposed to water from a fire hose immediately after a furnace test. The cooling, impact, and disintegration created shows the virtue of the glass and eradicates anything that is lacking in reliability. Both SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum Fire-Rated Glass Ceramic and AGC Pyrobel®️ Fire-Resistant Safety Glass are Hose Stream Test compliant.

Q. What is an impact safety rating?
A. A measurement of the integrity of glass upon varying impact, required anywhere glass is accessible to people or objects on a regular basis. The subsequent ratings are based on how resistant the glass is to force. SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum F Filmed Fire Protective Safety Glass, SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum L Laminated Fire Protective Safety Glass, and AGC Pyrobel®️ Fire-Resistant Safety Glass meet ANSI Z97.1 and CPSC 16 CFR 1201 Cat I and Cat II (Category I and/or Category II) Safety Impact performance criteria.

Q. What applications require an impact safety rating?
A. Per code, the hazardous glazing guidelines (Section 2406, Chapter 24) call for impact safety rated glazing in or near doors, floor areas, some windows, enclosures, and more. Refer to Chapter 24 of the International Building Code (IBC) for a full list of locations that require glazing that meets impact safety ratings.

Q. What or who is UL (Underwriters Laboratories)?
A. UL is a global independent safety science company with more than a century of expertise innovating safety solutions.

Q. What is UL Testing, and what is a UL Listing?
A. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) Testing signifies that samples of a product were tested by UL and they met their designated prerequisites for Safety Standards. Underwriters Laboratories has been publishing national safety standards for over 100 years. The UL Listed seal means that the product has been tested by UL to nationally recognized safety and sustainability standards. McGrory Glass Fire-rated solutions are UL Listed, including SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum Fire-Rated Glass Ceramic and AGC Pyrobel®️ Fire-Resistant Safety Glass.

Q. What or who is Intertek?
A. Intertek is an industry leader in safety testing standards with more than 43,800 employees in 1,000 locations in over 100 countries. For more than 130 years, companies around the world have depended on Intertek to help ensure the quality and safety of their products, processes and systems. Intertek goes beyond testing, inspecting and certifying products; they are a Total Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide. Through their global network of state-of-the-art facilities and industry-leading technical expertise they provide innovative and bespoke Assurance, Testing, Inspection and Certification services to customers. McGrory Glass Fire-rated solutions are Intertek Listed.

Q. What is ANSI (American National Standards Institute)?
A. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a not-for-profit institution, domestically and internationally maintains the United States’ voluntary standards and conformity assessment system. ANSI is dedicated to amplifying the competitiveness of U.S. businesses globally by maintaining the development and quality of fair standards and conformity assessment systems. With coverage in every industry, the Institute acts on behalf of 270,000 companies and 30 million individuals around the globe. SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum F Filmed Fire Protective Safety Glass, SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum L Laminated Fire Protective Safety Glass, and AGC Pyrobel®️ Fire-Resistant Safety Glass meet ANSI Z97.1 and CPSC 16 CFR 1201 Cat I and Cat II (Category I and/or Category II) Safety Impact performance criteria.

Common Applications/ Areas of Install

Q. What is a borrowed lite?
A. Positioned in interior walls, borrowed lites allow the light to flow from one adjacent room to the other. Along with transoms and sidelites, borrowed lites are put into fire-rated walls and glazed to protect against the spread of any fire. These Fire Windows are tested as specified in NFPA 257 or UL 9 and positioned according to NFPA 80. Both SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum Fire-Rated Glass Ceramic and AGC Pyrobel®️ Fire-Resistant Safety Glass are rated for use in borrowed lites.

Q. What is a fire door, and where is it used?
A. The functional element of a complete fire door assembly is fabricated to simultaneously provide protection from a fire and a passage for occupants to exit the structure. Both SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum Fire-Rated Glass Ceramic and AGC Pyrobel®️ Fire-Resistant Safety Glass are rated for use in fire doors.

A Fire Rated Glass School Safety
Fire Rated Glass for School Safety / Educational Retrofits

Q. What is a fire door assembly?
A. Providing a particular degree of fire protection, a fire door assembly consists of a fire door, a frame, any hardware, and accessories. Both SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum Fire-Rated Glass Ceramic and AGC Pyrobel®️ Fire-Resistant Safety Glass are rated for use in approved fire door assembly systems.

Q. What is a fire door and fire door lites?
A. Along with a door opening, a fire door and fire door lites are a frame containing a glazed opening. Examples include sidelite frames, transoms, sidelites, and transom lites. Both SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum Fire-Rated Glass Ceramic and AGC Pyrobel®️ Fire-Resistant Safety Glass are rated for use in fire doors and fire door lites.

Q. What is a fire window?
A. A fire window is built to curb a fire of known standard intensity for a specified amount of time. Depending on location, some fire windows must also meet impact safety code requirements. Both SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum Fire-Rated Glass Ceramic and AGC Pyrobel®️ Fire-Resistant Safety Glass products are rated for use in windows, with impact safety rated options available.

Q. What is a sidelite/ a fire-rated sidelite?
A. Surrounding a fire door, sidelites are glazed windows traditionally equal to, or smaller, in size as compared to the fire door itself. Both SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum Fire-Rated Glass Ceramic and AGC Pyrobel®️ Fire-Resistant Safety Glass are rated for use in sidelites.

Q. What is a transom/ a fire-rated transom?
A. Situated above a door frame opening, a transom is filled with a glazing material or a solid panel. Both SCHOTT PYRAN® Platinum Fire-Rated Glass Ceramic and AGC Pyrobel®️ Fire-Resistant Safety Glass are rated for use in transoms.

General Glass & Glazing Vocabulary

Q. What is a U-Value?
A. A U-Value is a measurement of the loss or gain of air-to-air heat transmission during thermal conductance and the subsequent disparity of the temperatures inside and outside. The amount of heat shifted through the glazing material decreases along with the decrease of the U-Value. As the U-Value gets lower, the more prohibitive to heat transfer the window product should be (Reciprocal of the R-Value).

Q. What is laminated glass?
A. A type of glass where two or more lites of glass are permanently joined with one or more interlayers.

Q. What is monolithic glass?
A. Single-layered glass.

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