Doors should last. They should be safe, energy-efficient and relatively maintenance-free. Whether or not a door lives up to that depends on a variety of component features. And when it comes to decorative door glass and door glass frames, three features are particularly significant.

Severe Weather Features

It is no surprise that door glass used in regions with extreme weather must be impact-rated. Contractors looking to offer impact-rated decorative door glass have traditionally had a hard time finding good options. Now, some manufacturers carry decorative door glass that has met impact rating’s multiple requirements, including standing up to high-velocity wind speeds and missile impacts. In these regions, decorative door glass should also undergo Design Pressure testing – which tests resistance to sustained wind pressure – to ensure it will withstand positive and negative pressures. If no permanent deformation occurs, the glasses passes the test. That performance grade rating can be found on any gold AMAA label on the inside surface of the frame (measured in psf), along with product type, performance class, and the maximum size tested.

Thermal sealing creates additional strength, insulating products for air- and water-tight performance. Likewise noise suppression options, like decorative door glass rated for sound transmission, ensure additional quietness in the home.

Energy-efficiency Features

Insulated door glass and a well-constructed door glass frame can increase energy efficiency in a door. As with most fenestration options, Low-E glass is an option that adds savings to a high-quality decorative door glass insert. Customers looking for the style of decorative door glass still want the reduction in cooling or heating loss, filtration of ultra-violet rays, reduction in fabric and carpet fading and reduction in solar heat gain and loss that Low-E glass offers.

To ensure efficiency – and to meet customer demands for it – also look for decorative door glass that is ENERGY STAR® compliant when used with an ENERGY STAR qualified entry door, or that can contribute performance level points toward National Association of Home Builders Green Certification.

Performance Features

For a long, hassle-free life, decorative door glass and door glass frames should offer the following performance features:

  1. Compression foam tape seal construction eliminates the oozing and sticky mess of wet caulk products.
  2. Smart seal design. A decorative door glass insert frame’s seal design should be engineered to extend the life of the frame. For example the frame can be designed such that, if the door glass needs to be replaced, a professional can do so without having to replace the frame as well.
  3. Material formulation. As contractors know, some frame formulations outperform others, resisting warping and deformation from heat buildup. Manufacturer-provided materials should address the quality of their formulation; if they don’t, that might be a bad sign.
  4. Seated screw hole plugs allow for easy alignment and can even match a door glass frame’s grain direction, resulting in a uniform surface.
  5. Slam testing. Just because a door has decorative glass doesn’t mean a homeowner won’t occasionally slam it. Contractors should consult manufacturer-provided materials for a number of cycles tested, some companies test their doors and glass inserts up to 50,000 slam cycles.
  6. Third-party performance testing should be done to ensure that door glass frames meet national (and any regional) fenestration standards.
  7. High-performance resin. Frames are made from a number of different resin types, each type is used for a specific application. The resin types are designed to reduce discoloration, and improve painting and staining applications. Resin can improve the overall life of the frame by reducing warping, cracking and corner flare.

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