Confusion over safety glass in sliding door

Posted5/3/2020 6:00 AM

Q: When we bought our house, the home inspector said the sliding glass door did not have safety glass, He recommended replacing the glass to prevent injury. Last week we had our windows cleaned, and the window washer showed us the safety glass label at the lower corner of the door. Fortunately, we discovered this before wasting a lot of money on new glass.

We were also surprised that a 60-year-old home has safety glass and are wondering how this could have been missed by our home inspector?


A: Sliding glass doors installed before 1973 seldom contain tempered glass. If the door in your home does have safety glass, it may be a replacement, rather than the original pane. If so, it is possible the adjoining window panel is still the original plate glass. This could account for your home inspector having reported that there was no safety glass.

To determine whether both panes are tempered, carefully check the corners of each for the safety glass emblem. If you find that either pane is not safety glass, replacement is advisable.

If replacement of such a window should ever become necessary, a less costly alternative is to have a clear plastic film laminated onto the glass. If someone should accidentally walk into a window that has safety film, the broken pieces would be held in place, thereby preventing serious personal injury.

Q: When we purchased our home, we were told it was 15 years old. The seller confirmed this by showing us the manufacture date in the toilet tank. Recently, while repairing a leak in the other toilet, we found a manufacture date of 1990. Now we're wondering if the house is older than disclosed. How can we verify the age of our home?

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A: The manufacture dates in toilet tanks used to be a fairly reliable way to determine the age of a building, and some people still rely on this information as verification of a building's vintage. Although the date in the tank may correctly reveal the year of construction, this method of dating a home is not foolproof and should not be regarded as definite confirmation of age. Here's why.

In many homes, the toilets are no longer original issue, because newer fixtures may have been installed to promote water conservation. In some homes, newer toilets have been installed as part of a remodel or addition. It is also possible that an older or used toilet was installed when the home was constructed, giving the false impression that the building is older.

The most reliable way to determine the age of your home is to check with the local building department for the permit history of the property. If for any reason they cannot provide this information, consult the local tax assessor's office. Their records may show the year when the lot was reassessed as improved property.

• To write to Barry Stone, visit him on the web at, or write AMG, 1776 Jami Lee Court, Suite 218, San Luis Obispo, CA 94301.

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