It is critical you choose the correct glass when replacing broken or worn fireplace glass. Choosing the improper material could result in the glass breaking when the wood stove or fireplace is used. When deciding which material is right for you, temperature is the most important factor.

The two most common materials used for fireplaces or woodstoves are tempered glass (low temperature applications, 470 deg F and below) and ceramic glass (high temperature applications 1470 deg F and below).

Tempered Glass
Tempered glass is often used on applications where the fire is not near the glass and the temperature would not exceed 470 deg F. Tempered glass is simply regular glass that has been heat-treated to increase strength and thermal shock resistance, which helps prevent injury by changing the break pattern. Tempered glass is used in applications where heat, mechanical strength and safety are factors. For example, the glass on motor vehicles is tempered to increase strength and make the glass less dangerous if it shatters or breaks. Tempered glass is often used in fireplace doors, on masonry and prefabricated fireplaces equipped with a grate to hold the burning wood.

Tempered glass can withstand constant temperatures of 470 deg F. When tempered glass is exposed to higher temperatures, it gradually weakens the structure of the glass making it more susceptible to breakage. If a piece of tempered glass is exposed to continuous temperatures of 600 deg F or more, the glass will shatter into small pieces. Therefor, unless the damage was caused by an impact, we recommend replacing all the pieces of tempered glass in fireplace doors that break.

Ceramic Glass
Ceramic Glass is commonly referred to as glass but it is actually a transparent ceramic. Unlike true glass, ceramics can withstand continuous exposure to high temperatures. Ceramics are also resistant to failure due to temperature variation. These factors make Ceramic Glas the ideal solution for gas and wood stoves and fireplaces where glass panels are less than 8 inches from the flames. We carry the following types of ceramic glass: PyroCeram(R) which can withstand long term temperatures up to 1256 deg F. NeoCeram(R) can withstand long term temperatures up to 1470 deg F.

Choosing the Correct Material

In order to choose the correct material, you should identify your needs. How close will the glass be to the fire? If you have pets or children, are you worried about the glass breaking from impact? Did your previous material break due to heat or impact? Understanding your needs will help to determine which material to select. Again, tempered glass will break into small pieces, while ceramic will typically crack into large shards. If you are still unsure which material to select and safety is top priority, then the safer choice is ceramic glass. In any event you should plan on bringing the door and some of the glass into our shop to be identified.

Don’t throw anything away
Also, do not throw away any parts or pieces besides the broken glass itself. We do not have parts for your fireplace besides the glass. Many times the manufacturers are out of business or no longer make the same models. Often parts are no longer available. This advice is true for just about everything these days. The big stores only sell the whole product. It seems parts to keep them working are just not around. Fireplaces, stoves, lamps, ovens, patio tables, the windshield on your boat, everything. Don’t throw parts and pieces away until your technician is done.