Safety Glass (Laminated or Tempered) glass must be used in Doors. It is also required in glass that is within eighteen inches of the doors vertical edges when the door is in a closed position. It is also required in windows that are within eighteen inches of a walking surface, but only if that piece of glass is over nine square feet of unobstructed glass.
Safety Glass is also required for glass that is within 60 inches of a bathtub or shower drain or "in the vicinity of" a pool area. All shower doors and tub enclosures of all kinds must be safety glass.
For this reason many builders and re-modelers use operating windows that are "oriole" in style. An Oriole is a single or double hung window that has a smaller bottom sash than top sash. These are usually split up as 60% on Top and 40% on the bottom. By doing this even a large 40 X 78 window can still be used in a close to the ground application without safety glass.
Safety glass is a considerable extra charge and to avoid it is definitely easier on the wallet. It can literally double the cost of a window. The large picture window does have a distinctive look though.....its a tough call sometimes. I often say that I only look at them for a few days and you have to look a them for a lifetime............so do consider the choices closely.
Low E Glass is required in modern windows to meet Energy Star Ratings and to meet current codes. Many of the lowest priced vendors use this as an extra charge but it is a legal requirement in Texas. Aluminum windows no longer meet Energy Star Ratings or current residential building code. Most areas and municipalites DO REQUIRE that new windows and doors be Energy Star Rated and Approved.
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