Window Glass Type

Ran into some plastic windows on an inspection and the question is are they required if the window is close to the floor and a certain size??

My client thought they should be glass so a person could break and get out in case of a fire.

I think that they were broken and replaced by a contractor that saw a possiblity of being sued if he did not use something that was break resistance

These windows are quite low to the floor

I have been all over the net and can’t get a reading on this

Thanks in advance


Hey Richard.

Probably plexiglass. Pretty common as a safety precaution.

When my little sis was about 7yrs old, she accidentally put her arm through a glass window on my Grandma’s storm door. She could have very easily bled to death. Fortunately, through good first aid, and a quick trip to the hospital, the only lasting effect she has today is a nasty scar on her wrist.

Grandpa replaced the window (and all the other low windows) with plexiglass, to keep from ever happening again.

So from my own personal experience I would be more concerned with keeping the glass from breaking than from being trapped inside. A good kick can take the entire pane of plexi out without breaking it into shards. IMHO the plexi is a good thing.

(On a negative note, it does scratch up fairly easily, and it looks bad after a couple of years.)

The drummer from the band Abba died last week from a cut he got when he broke a window in a door with his head. (from what I understand)

Try this:

Those particular areas of glass should be of tempered or safety glass as recommended in the IRC R308.4 Hazardous locations.
If the window or door is made for emergency egress, it should not be aticipated that the glass needs to be broken, it is assumed it will be operable.


Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:



I think you nailed it


Plexi-glass can also be very flexable an prone to push right out of the glazing,
depending on the situation.
The only place I expect to see it is on Ghetto vestibule doors.
I would not call it acceptable on a regular window.Tempered glass may be required as stated above.

The plexie glass that was installed was done very professionaly and was in good condition. Could not tell it from glass until I hit it with a screw driver handle

Buyer thought it was an issue – After checking it looks like it might be required in the location that it is installed

In any case I reported it as POSSIBLY correct

I did not take measurments on site but the windows were very low to the floor

If it had been my home I would like to see the plexie or other safety glass in the windows – esp if I had young kids – call it common sense

Thanks all


Must read! imo

Approved plastics that meet the ANSI Z97.1
Standard are another form of safety glazing.
Limitations on its acceptable use arise from
fire resistance ratings. In garages, inspectors
may find that original glass panels in exterior
passage doors have been replaced with
plastic. While it may provide safety, a
disadvantage of plastic is that it easily
becomes permanently scratched. Plastic is
often used in skylights.