Fire rated glass doors play an important role in residential buildings by providing not only safety but also aesthetic appeal and functionality. These doors are designed to restrict the spread of fire and smoke while allowing natural light to flow through interior spaces. However, the design and implementation of these glass doors require careful consideration to ensure compliance with safety regulations and maintain the overall architectural integrity of the building. 

Let us explore key design considerations for fire rated glass doors in residential buildings, including material selection, fire ratings, hardware and installation techniques.

fire rated glass doors in residential buildings

Material selection

Choosing the right materials for fire rated glass doors is important in ensuring their effectiveness during a fire emergency. The two primary components to consider are the glass and the framing system.

Fire-resistant glass

Fire rated glass must be able to withstand high temperatures and prevent the passage of flames and smoke for a specified period. Tempered glass and ceramic glass are commonly used due to their ability to resist thermal shock and maintain structural integrity under extreme heat conditions.

Tempered glass is created by subjecting annealed glass to a heating and rapid cooling process, which increases its strength and resistance to impact. Ceramic glass, on the other hand, is composed of ceramic materials that exhibit exceptional fire resistance.

Framing systems

The framing system supports the fire-rated glass and provides stability. Steel or aluminium frames with fire-resistant properties are typically used. The frames should have appropriate thermal insulation to prevent excessive heat transfer and maintain the integrity of the door during a fire event.

Fire ratings

Fire rated glass doors are assigned specific fire ratings based on their ability to withstand fire for a designated amount of time. These ratings, typically expressed in minutes, determine the door’s performance under fire conditions. Common fire ratings include 20, 45, 60, and 90 minutes.

When selecting fire rated glass doors for residential buildings, it’s essential to consult local building codes and regulations to determine the required fire rating for various locations within the structure. For instance, doors leading to exit stairways or corridors may have different fire rating requirements compared to doors within individual living units.


Fire ratings are determined through rigorous testing procedures that evaluate the door’s ability to maintain its integrity, prevent the passage of smoke and flames and limit the transfer of heat during a specified time period. It is crucial to choose fire rated glass doors that meet or exceed the required fire rating to ensure the safety of occupants and the protection of property.

Hardware considerations

The selection of appropriate hardware for fire rated glass doors is critical for both safety and functionality. Here are some key factors to consider:

Door closers

Fire rated glass doors should be equipped with self-closing mechanisms to ensure they automatically close and latch during a fire event. Door closers with adjustable closing speeds and hold-open features can provide convenience in non-emergency situations.

Locks and latches

Fire rated glass doors should have reliable locks and latches that are compatible with the door’s fire rating. It’s crucial to select hardware that meets fire safety standards without compromising security.

Panic hardware

In residential buildings, fire rated glass doors used in escape routes or common areas may require panic hardware to facilitate safe and swift evacuation during emergencies. Panic bars or touchpad exit devices should be considered to meet egress requirements.

Vision panels and glazing beads

Vision panels, incorporating fire-resistant glass, can enhance visibility and aesthetics. Properly designed and installed glazing beads help secure the fire-rated glass while maintaining its fire resistance.

Installation techniques

Proper installation of fire rated glass doors ensures their effectiveness and compliance with safety regulations. Here are a few essential installation considerations:

Professional installation

Fire rated glass doors should be installed by experienced professionals familiar with the specific requirements and techniques associated with fire rated assemblies. 

Perimeter gaps and sealing

Ensuring proper seals around the door frame and between the glass framing system is important. The use of intumescent seals and gaskets can expand when exposed to heat, effectively sealing any gaps and preventing the passage of fire and smoke.

Clearances and hardware compatibility

Fire rated glass doors must have appropriate clearances and maintain compatibility with the surrounding construction materials, including walls, floors and ceilings. This ensures the door’s integrity during a fire event and enables it to perform as intended.

Regular inspection and maintenance

Fire rated glass doors should undergo regular inspections to confirm their functionality and compliance with safety standards. Any damaged or worn components should be promptly repaired or replaced to maintain the door’s fire resistance. 

Use fire rated glass doors at home to ensure family safety

Designing fire rated glass doors for residential buildings requires careful consideration of various factors, including material selection, fire ratings, hardware choices and proper installation techniques. By following the guidelines outlined above, architects, builders and homeowners can ensure that fire rated glass doors not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of residential spaces but also provide the necessary fire protection and safety measures required by building codes and regulations. 

Remember, when it comes to fire safety, it is important to consult with local authorities and engage professionals to ensure compliance and the well-being of occupants in residential buildings. By prioritising the selection of fire-resistant materials, understanding fire ratings, choosing appropriate hardware, and ensuring proper installation, you can create fire-rated glass doors that enhance the overall design while providing peace of mind in terms of safety and protection. Embrace this opportunity to combine functionality and aesthetics, making fire rated glass doors an integral part of your residential building design.

If you’re looking for a trusted supplier of fire rated glass, reach out to VJF Systems. With our expertise in fire rated glass products and commitment to quality, we can provide you with the necessary materials and guidance for your residential building project. Contact us today to discuss your fire rated glass door requirements and ensure that you have a reliable partner throughout the design and implementation process.