What is Ceramic Glass?
Ceramic glass isn't actually glass. It is a clear ceramic that has extraordinary heat resistance. Many wood stove manufacturers use ceramic glass for their stove doors. Wood stoves burn with the doors closed, which creates a crazy-hot environment that the glass doors have to withstand without weakening. Ceramic glass won't weaken even under the high temperatures created by burning with the doors closed. Ceramic glass' resistance to heat may make you think that it is the best option for all fireplace doors. However, this is not the case.
Ceramic Glass Vs. Tempered Glass
Ceramic glass and tempered glass have three main differences: First is the way they break. If you break a piece of ceramic glass, the cracks will slowly spread, and the glass will break into dangerous shards. If you break a piece of tempered glass, the cracks immediately spiderweb into the entire piece of glass. The glass shatters into small, relatively harmless pieces. Second is the heat resistance. Both ceramic and tempered glass are far more heat resistant than typical glass. Even so, ceramic glass can withstand far greater temperatures than tempered glass.
While it might seem that ceramic glass is the better option, the experts at Brick-Anew unanimously agree that tempered glass is the best choice. Tempered glass is also the preferred choice for most fireplace door manufacturers.
Ceramic glass can increase the turnaround time on your fireplace door order because it is something that has to be special ordered. No fireplace door manufacturers haver ceramic glass as a standard option. It is only available as a special order on a few select doors from specific manufacturers. Ceramic glass doors are overkill; very few customers actually need them. Buying ceramic glass doors rather than tempered glass doors is similar to buying a camera that can take 75 megapixel pictures just for your family vacation.
Advantages of Using Tempered Glass on Fireplace Doors
Tempered glass is heat strengthened glass that has been heated and rapidly cooled to increase the strength of the glass. Tempered glass is an affordable option that is safe to use on fireplace doors as long as you always keep the doors open while a fire is burning.
Tempered glass is heat resistant up to 500-600 degrees Fahrenheit. Your doors will easily withstand the temperature of a regular fire, but closing the doors turns the firebox into a heat trap. The temperature in the firebox will far exceed 600 degrees. As long as you keep the doors open, the glass will not weaken or be in danger of shattering. Tempered glass is also cheaper than ceramic glass and can be tinted to hide the ashes of yesterday's fire. It isn't dangerous if it breaks, and it is exceptionally strong.
Want to keep the doors closed while you burn? Most fireplace doors are not designed to be closed while a fire is burning. Even if you find ceramic glass doors, you must have them approved by the manufacturer to close them while burning. If you have a prefab fireplace, you won't be able to close the doors regardless of the glass; you'll have to keep the doors open to meet national ventilation standards. (Read more about the difference between prefab and masonry fireplaces here.)
If you need tempered glass doors or your current tempered doors need to be replaced, check out our fireplace doors page to see our wide selection of fireplace doors. Not sure the thickness of glass you need? Have questions about what tint will look best? Give us a call today, and our customer service representatives are happy to help walk you through your door buying experience!