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$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Glass and windows - use as splashback material

Glass is a popular splashback material and many builders and designers believe as they are a non-combustible material they are acceptable without any other considerations.

The fact is glass can conduct heat and if too close to the gas burner will transfer heat to unprotected substrate material or timber framing and this can have disastrous results.

It is most important to be aware of the requirements when using glass splashbacks adjacent to gas cook tops.

What is required for substrates and glass splashbacks adjacent to gas cooktops?

The installation of glass splashbacks is covered in AS/NZS 5601.1– Gas installations (General Installations).

First and foremost the Standard notes that clearances between a gas cooking appliance and combustible surfaces must be in accordance with the appliance manufacturer’s specifications.

It is important to follow these before consulting the Standard.

Where there are no installation instructions or specifications provided for an appliance the Standard provides default clearance requirements.

The Standard requires that where the periphery or edge of the nearest gas burner is less than 200mm from the nearest vertical combustible surface, the surface needs to be protected.

‘Combustible surface’ is defined in the Standard and means: Any material or object made of, or surfaced with, materials that are capable of being ignited and burned’.

Protection of a combustible surface can be achieved simply through the use of standard plasterboard or fibre cement sheet substrates, but there are also requirements for the glass.

Glass must be toughened safety glass a minimum 5mm thick and the glass must be marked ‘toughened safety glass’ to ensure that the glass is fit for purpose.

Also the protection must be provided to a height of minimum 150mm above the periphery of the nearest burner for the full width or depth of the cooking surface area (the ‘cooking surface area’ does not include control knobs).

The following Table replicated from AS/NZS 5601 provides acceptable methods for protection of combustible surfaces which also includes using tile or metal splashbacks.

Facing material

Min thickness mm

Backing material or substrate

Min thickness mm

Ceramic tiles

5

Gypsum based wall board

10

Fibre cement sheet

6

Toughened safety glass

5

Gypsum based wall board

10

Fibre cement sheet

6

Sheet metal

0.4

Fibre cement sheet

12

Fibre cement sheet over 10mm gypsum based board

6

Any other system

Satisfying temperature requirement*

*If using ‘another system’ as noted in the Table the Standard requires that the surface temperature of the nearby combustible surface will not exceed 65 degrees Celsius above ambient.

Obviously you would need to have a system tested to determine this.

Windows used as a splashback

Can a window be used as a splashback?

A popular design choice is using a window adjacent to a gas hotplate where often the glass will extend to bench height and will be within 200mm of a gas hotplate.

There are no specific provisions under the Standard for this situation but as a window isn’t protecting a combustible surface and the glass is a minimum 5mm thick toughened safety glass it should perform adequately.

Ensure though that combustible parts of windows such as timber window reveals are protected if within 200mm and the Standard does note: Consideration must be given to window treatments and painted surfaces on glass splashbacks when located near cooking appliances.

Also you must check if the appliance manufacturer places any restrictions around using a window as a splashback.

What about electric hotplates?

The Australian Standard for electrical installations is AS/NZS 3000.

There are no specific requirements for the installation of electric hotplates in this Standard but it is noted generally that electrical equipment, including appliances should be installed to ensure there is no danger of fire or high temperature.

Most importantly though it notes that electrical equipment and appliances shall be installed as per manufacturer’s specifications so this should be the first consideration,

Worth noting though is that any socket outlets or switches should not be installed adjacent to a gas or electric cooking surface in the area noted under the Standard.

It would be best to contact your licensed electrical contractor to clarify this.  

Kitchen rangehood requirements

AS/NZS 5601 provide minimum clearance requirements for kitchen rangehoods from gas hotplates.

The minimum distance provided is 600mm but it is important to refer to, and follow, the manufacturer’s specifications in relation to the installation.

The Standards actually require rangehoods to be installed as per manufacturer’s specifications but with a minimum clearance of 600mm.

Where can I find more information?

Your State or Territory Energy Regulator may have information on gas appliance installation, which is generally information taken from the Standard.

As this is a gas installation your building surveyor or certifier may not focus on this aspect of the work but they still must be generally be satisfied that any materials being proposed or used are fit for purpose.

Also talk to your suppliers, manufacturers, and installers to ensure that any glass supplied is the correct material for the installation.

To find out more, contact HIA Building and Planning Services.

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