If you're installing glass sliding doors in your home, you might be concerned about their safety, as standard float glass can be dangerous, especially with children playing in the house. You'll be pleased to know Australian building standards govern sliding glass doors, and they must comply with specific regulations.
Sliding glass doors must use grade A safety glass, one variety of which is the laminated form. This glass consists of two or more glass panes bonded together with a vinyl interlayer. You'll be familiar with laminated glass as it's used on car windscreens, a place where safety is paramount. When laminated glass breaks, it fractures into a radial pattern, but the glass pieces stick to the plastic interlayer rather than fly everywhere to inflict injury. Thus, as well as being tougher than standard glass, laminated glass breaks in a relatively safe manner.
Its advantage security-wise is that even if the glass door fractures, you still have some form of barrier protecting your home, albeit a damaged one. The glass doesn't fall to the ground leaving an open gap where anyone can walk in. Another benefit is that the plastic interlayer can block UV light to prevent furniture fading, and you can install special plastic that also hinders noise transmission.
Another type of grade A safety glass that fits in sliding doors is toughened glass. These panes undergo a unique tempering process, whereby a furnace bakes them before icy jets of cold air blast the glass. Such rapid heating and cooling create tension and a specific structure within the grass that renders it four to five times stronger than standard panes of the same thickness. Toughened glass has a degree of flex so that if a ball strikes against the surface, it can resist the blow better than standard float window glass.
When toughened glass breaks, it crumbles into small one-centimetre cubes rather than jagged shards like regular windows. Thus, toughened glass is both extremely strong, and it breaks in a relatively harmless way in any case. However, once the door crumbles into pieces, of course, you won't have any secure barrier in place, so you either need to urgently replace the glass or board up the door if it's an external opening.
Making Glass Visible
Another safety mechanism for sliding doors is that you need to make the glass visible so that people don't accidentally walk into it. If the doors don't feature decorative frosting, colonial bars, or other elements that highlight the glass, the panes need to display a horizontal band. Local sliding doors suppliers can explain your options.