why safety glass?

protection of the art glass:
   i have repaired far too many panels, due to the fact there was no safety glass installed. art glass is not designed to be the sole barrier between your interior and the exterior. it is ornamental artwork and rightfully needs protection.
   door panels especially, receive abuse each and every time the door closes, more so when it slams. the door stops immediately, but the art glass wants to keep going. over time, the metalwork within the panel weakens, eventually to a point fatigue causes the glass to loosen or break. safety glass helps keep the art glass firmly in place during door operation.
   safety glass prevents most flying obstacles from hitting and damaging the art glass from the outside. it also helps save the glass from breakage when someone pushes on the glass to open or close the door, as well as adding a more formable barrier to anyone thinking they can pop through the art glass to reach in and unlock your door.

sealing out the environment:
   i doubt an art glass panel in an opening by itself can ever seal out water for the life of the panel. many times, a seal isn't 100% from day one. water finding it's way onto the panel, will eventually leak in and around the bottom border channel and through the panel itself, as it's typical that a leaded art glass panel in a door by itself, will not stay completely sealed to withstand water intrusion forever. once water reaches the border channel, it can disintegrate over a short period of time, causing panel fatigue and damage to whatever the panel is mounted in. door rot is common.
   art glass panels caulked in by them selves will cost more to repair, if and when they need it, due to the extra work involved in removing the damaged panel and the risk of breaking additional pieces during the removal process. safety glass is far easier to seal into an opening with an immediate 100% seal. the art glass then needs no caulking to close it into the opening, thus making it far easier to remove, if needed.

   by it's very name, safety glass offers safety. art glass is weaker than any safety glass and therefore, offers less resistance to a person falling into the panel. pushing or falling against art glass protected by safety glass on the outside, may cause the art glass to break, but it will generally prevent greater personal injury and less damage to the art glass.

   safety glass removes the need to repeatedly clean the exterior side of the art glass. exposed art glass can be a nightmare to keep clean, due to the entrapment of dirt and debris in and amongst the lead work. it can take hours to thoroughly clean an exposed panel, whereas safety glass is a quick spritz and a wipe.

   i can think of only three downsides to having safety glass in an installation.
1) standard tempered glass or the more expensive impact glass does add to the over all cost. just how much depends on the size and installation requirements. it is normally less expensive than a single repair.
2) there will be a reflective surface on the outside of your installation. while it makes no visual difference from the inside or at night, some people do find this an annoyance during the day from the outside.
3) over the years, fogging may occur in between the art glass and safety glass. however, this is a rare occurrence. it has been my experience, that fogging occurs primarily when an attempt has been made to seal in the art glass, along with the safety glass, without allowing the space in between to 'breath'. a small amount of trapped moisture can then appear as a fog on the glasses. i install the art glass in such a way that air is never completely trapped and any moisture trapped within can and will evaporate.

   i feel that these issues do not compare to the protection, safety, and savings that safety glass will offer in the long run. i can not stress enough, the importance of adding safety glass to most any exterior exposed art glass installation.
for example:
 damage to these glass panels is ongoing
   these are entry doors to a professional office. i have removed, repaired, and reinstalled the active door art glass panel on the left side three times now. each time, i highly recommended adding safety glass, but was always denied. i feel it's especially important, due to the fact this office primarily services elderly clients that come and go throughout the day. twice the panel was broken by the clients themselves.
   weaknesses and gaps in the original caulking material has allowed water intrusion, causing partial disintegration of the panel's border channel, as well as damage to the door itself.
   i am confident these panels will need continued repair as long as they are in these doors under current circumstances. the active door panel is gradually deteriorating. several solder joints are weak with some evident separation.

   october 2010: i was contacted to repair the same door panel a fourth time. i went in, took these two pictures, and gave them a bid. this time, however, i insisted on safety glass, as i do not want to share in the liability that someone might get hurt from this dangerously improper installation. as such, my relationship with these doors has apparently ended, as no further contact has been made about this latest need of repair. oh well...
 high quality glass in an unlikely installation
   'x' marks the 4th time breaks. these panels are made with very nice bevels and hand made glasses. these hand made glasses tend to be thin and delicate, as well as very expensive. the broken glass in this picture costs around $100 per sheet wholesale, if it even can be found. i avoid using them in door panels at all because the break factor is so high. the large bevels and metal bracing are heavy and add to the stress the thinner glasses must endure. in my opinion, using this type of glass in door panels without safety glass is ill-advised, dangerous, and virtually guaranteed future repair issues.
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