Raising Glazing to a New Level

© 2004 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Winter 2004
Author: Joe Hetzel
Page 68


Raising Glazing to a New Level
By Joe Hetzel, DASMA Technical Director

Garage door windows have come a long way in the last 50 years.

In the 1950s and 1960s, glazing on residential garage doors was relatively rare and used primarily for functional purposes. For example, windows helped homeowners who had a workshop in the garage by allowing natural light into the work area.

As more garages became attached to homes, privacy and security became a greater consumer concern. Thus, the trend in the 1970s and 1980s tended toward non-glazed doors.

1980 - 2000
In the late 1980s, manufacturers began a creative marketing trend by offering attractive glazing designs on garage doors. Since most doors offered the same basic raised-panel sections, decorative windows became a great way to enhance a door’s appearance and make it distinctive.

At first, the designs were typically formed by inserting plastic designs over plain square windows. By the mid-1990s, the design trend expanded to elegant uses of etched glass and brass caming. By 2000, when most manufacturers and dealers displayed their most attractive doors, glazed garage doors were usually the door of choice.

Technical Consequences
The increased popularity of glazing carries many technical consequences that didn’t exist in decades past. For example, in hurricane-prone areas where there is concern about windborne debris resistance, any amount of glazing in a door is a concern.

Glazing must pass stringent requirements before it can be used in those areas. A good example is the impact resistance test, in which a 2x4 is hurled at the window at a specified speed from a specified distance.

In addition, if there is concern about the energy usage of the interior space, glazing again becomes an object of concern. Glazing can then be subject to performance factors such as solar heat gain, visual light transmittance, and condensation resistance.

The point: Decorative windows add a distinctive design appeal to garage doors. But before you recommend a glazed garage door, be sure you’ve considered any technical factors that may limit its use.