Common Misconceptions

Does your design have to compromise if fire-rated glass is required?

One of the biggest misconceptions among architects regarding fire-rated glazing systems is that they cannot match the aesthetics of regular window glass and frames. At one time that was true: fire-rated glass meant institutional-looking wired glass, while fire-rated frames were bulky and somewhat unsightly.

Today, though, design professionals have access to a wide range of beautiful fire-rated glazing systems. For example, fire-protective glazing products, such as TGP’s FireLite® family of fire-rated ceramic glass, can be ground and polished on both sides. The resulting glass has a smooth surface finish, high visible light transmission and low reflection. And, fire-resistive-rated transparent wall panels such as Pilkington Pyrostop® offer nearly the same level of visual clarity as ordinary float glass – all without wires.

Likewise for fire-rated framing systems, design professionals now can specify sleek assemblies for windows, doors and curtain walls. A case in point is new generation steel fire-rated frames. The frames are formed in an extrusion-like process that results in thin profiles, with well-defined edges that more closely match the look of non-rated frames. Where necessary, design teams can specify these frames in a wide array of colors, materials, and finishes. This helps to better match the fire-rated frames with neighboring door, window and curtain wall applications.

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