Do you use tempered glass for kitchen cabinet doors? This is for uppers. I'm wondering if it's recommended, mandatory (I'm in CA, USA), or overkill.

  • I don't know if it's mandatory, but I'd call it good idea..
    – keshlam
    Mar 9, 2016 at 21:12
  • I thought any glass within 12" or so from a door needed to be tempered. so if it was in the door it would be needed there for safety.
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 9, 2016 at 23:39
  • I have had regular float glass in my small upper cabinet doors for 15 years with no problem. I cut the glass and installed it in the doors myself when I remodeled, nobody even asked about it during inspections. I won't say tempered is not a good idea, but it will be expensive. I use foam pads on the doors to cushion slams so I'm not particularly worried about it, the kids couldn't reach it when they were little. Mar 10, 2016 at 3:35

2 Answers 2


I agree with keshlam & it's definitely not overkill. I haven't run into any tempered glass paneled doors for uppers, except my own. Tempered is required for anything within 18" of the floor. And, most cabinet makers will tell you to go get regular glass to put in the empty frame doors they ship.

But, I'd (& have) go for either Tempered or Laminated Glass if possible. Laminated Glass is regular glass glued to a rubber membrane to retain the glass, you're local glass shops may have this to custom cut for same or next day pickup. So, no big shards hurt or kill someone if something happens, like an earthquake.

  • Shards from the surface can still be release in your direction :) I would go for tempered, it costs about 50% more, not that much. It's also easier to clean from the floor if it breaks. But it's resistance is about exactly 4x regular one.
    – FarO
    Aug 15, 2016 at 14:21
  • Yep, Laminated glass might have some very small pieces release at a spidering or bullseye impact point, but it's easier to find & can be cut to size readily. Most glass shops (around me) won't cut tempered & don't temper themselves. Tempered would require Perimeter Padding for Earthquake zones since their edges are their weakest points, unless you want to replace glass possibly monthly. New & wider glass stops may be needed for padding, but could ensure glass never needing replacement & therefore never breaking nor threatening anyone.
    – Iggy
    Aug 16, 2016 at 3:41
  • True, and tempered blocks you from using a broken glass in other ways. For example, I reused my non-tempered broken glass shelf. It wouldn't have been possible with tempered glass, I would have had to completely throw away the broken glass. Anyway, pros and cons are now clear, everyone will choose accordingly.
    – FarO
    Aug 16, 2016 at 9:09

If it's JUST a glass door -- not set into a wooden frame -- then, yes, I would want tempered glass.

For a framed door, I would use ordinary float glass, what is usually marketed as double diamond -- 3/16" thick, as compared to the 1/8 used for picture frames.

The key for making anything out of glass and wood is to give room for them to move relative to each other. I think the usually allowance is 1/16" per foot of glass. So door with a 24" inset glass would need 1/8" of head room above the glass at the top.

This is little different from leaving slip room in a panelled wood door.

Because a door can be slammed to the detriment of the glass, usually you put put bumpers in the grooves. A continuous chunk of backer rod in the bottom one, and small chunks on the other 3 sides to keep the glass centred.

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