The Best Alternative To Boarding up Windows

By August 15, 2022 September 21st, 2023 Blog, Uncategorized

boarding up windows

Boarding up glass doors and windows is a common solution for protecting businesses against rioting and looting or storm damage. However, there are many downsides of using this traditional method for securing properties, which is why implementing an alternative to boarding up windows is far better.

With the right board-up alternative, you can secure your business 24/7 against a full range of security threats and avoid all the disadvantages and inconveniences of board-ups.

When Do Businesses Need an Alternative To Board up Windows?

There are two main scenarios that call for business owners to board up their windows:

  1. Civil unrest (threat of rioting and looting)
  2. Hurricanes and strong windstorms (threat of storm damage)

Civil unrest

One of the most common reasons some business owners have to board up their commercial buildings is civil unrest. The spontaneous gathering of a crowd responding to a controversial news story can happen anywhere, but they are particularly common in larger cities and urban cores.


While many protests are peaceful, some have the tendency to turn into violent riots. And, unfortunately, there are always criminals looking to take advantage of civil unrest to loot unprotected businesses during the rioting.

Boarding your business up with plywood can be effective at protecting it against vandalism and looting, but you might not always have sufficient warning and be prepared to do so, especially when civil unrest flares up unexpectedly.

That’s why having an alternative to window board-ups is a far preferable solution to a board-up that requires you to scramble at the last minute to protect your business.

Hurricanes and strong wind storms

Another reason why businesses in certain areas of the country have to board up their windows occasionally is storms, particularly hurricanes and fierce wind storms.

This mainly affects businesses located in Florida and other southeastern states, where there are hurricane zones and heavy storm seasons.

protecting properties

Plywood board-ups are effective at protecting properties from storm damage because they prevent flying debris from breaking your glass doors and windows, which can result in further internal damage from heavy winds and rains.

But, there are alternatives to board-ups that do the job better, not to mention they are far more convenient and aesthetically pleasing.

Why alternatives to boarding up windows are better than board ups

Although plywood board-ups have been used for decades as the go-to solution for protecting businesses against vandalism, rioting, looting, and storm damage, there are many disadvantages to relying on this solution.

Disadvantages of boarding up windows:

  • Need to cut and store plywood boards prior to use (in an ideal scenario)
  • Plywood boards take up a lot of storage space
  • Installing boards is labor-intensive and time-consuming
  • Require drilling for fastening which can void window warranty and cause leaking
  • May not always have enough warning to board up your business
  • Bad optics (makes your business look closed/abandoned)
  • Blocks out natural light
  • Reduces visibility

Fortunately, there are some alternatives to plywood board-ups that don’t have all of the disadvantages mentioned above. Not only that, but they can provide a range of other security benefits that make them by far the best choice for protecting any type of commercial property.

What Is the Best Alternative To Boarding up Windows?

Roll-down shutters and storm panels are common alternatives to boarding up windows, especially when it comes to protecting against storm damage. Roll-down shutters serve as a robust barrier for retail stores, safeguarding them from the destructive forces of hurricanes.

However, if you’re looking for an option that keeps your business looking open and protects you outside of storm season:

For the absolute best alternative glass protection, we recommend retrofitting your doors and windows with polycarbonate security glazing, such as ArmorPlast® AP25.

ArmorPlast® AP25, by Riot Glass, LLC, is a containment-grade polycarbonate glazing shield designed, tested, and certified to resist all types of impacts, including those from forced entry attempts and flying storm debris.

These polycarbonate glazing shields can be retrofitted into or onto almost any existing framing system, usually with no need to replace the existing glass. The polycarbonate essentially acts as an invisible board that protects your business 24/7 against all common security threats.

ArmorPlast® AP25 protects against:

  • Forced entry
  • Burglary
  • Smash-and-grab theft
  • Rioting and looting
  • Vandalism
  • Storm damage
  • Earthquake damage
  • Blast damage (mitigates damage from flying glass fragments)
  • Active shooters (denies access)

Benefits of using polycarbonate as an alternative to boarding up windows

Polycarbonate security glazing looks and feels like your standard window glass, but has the virtually unbreakable strength of polycarbonate, a type of thermoplastic. It is highly effective at dispersing the force of all types of impacts and doesn’t crack or shatter dangerously inwards, even after receiving repeated high-force blows.

broken glass

In fact, even containment-grade (non-ballistic) polycarbonate won’t break or diminish in strength after being riddled with bullets, which is why it can also be used for active shooter threat mitigation.

These crystal-clear protective barriers do not significantly alter the outward appearance of your business, reduce visibility, or block out natural light. This allows you to keep doing business as usual, even if there’s nearby civil unrest or an approaching storm.

Unlike plywood board-ups, polycarbonate glazing only requires a one-time retrofit installation and has a very long service life. In other words, it’s a very cost-effective solution when you want to protect your business against rioting and looting, storm damage, and all the other security threats listed above.

Advantages of polycarbonate as an alternative to window board ups:

  • One-time installation (permanent retrofit solution)
  • No need to store large plywood boards
  • You don’t have to rush to protect your business at the last minute
  • Maintains all your business’s curb appeal
  • Continues to allow natural light in
  • Doesn’t block views or inhibit window shopping

shop windowsCampbell Window Film Can Provide You with a Permanent Alternative To Boarding up Windows

Campbell Window Film is an authorized dealer and installer of ArmorPlast® AP25 and other ArmorPlast® and Riot Glass® products.

Campbell is a C-17 licensed glazier and can provide security glass installations throughout California as a turn-key solution for you, whether you have one location or many.

If you want to say goodbye to board-ups forever, contact us today for your free consultation.