Glass is one of the oldest and most versatile materials in the building industry.
Not only does it absorb, refract, and transmit light, but it adds aesthetic value to a building. The way light transmits through glass in a home or business can brighten up a room, save energy, improve attitude, and allows connection with the outside world.
However, glass leaves vulnerable points in your building for intruders to gain entry, and when glass is broken, the chance of injury is very high.
Security window films are used to enhance the safety of regular glass by strengthening it. Security films for windows are used to help protect against break-ins, vandalism, accidents, terrorist bomb attacks, and natural disasters. Some types of security film can also reduce heat to a building or minimize the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays.
So are security films worth it? We absolutely believe they are!
How Security Window Films Are Made
Window security film is made up of one or more layers of polyester film that has been laminated together with unique adhesives. They can range in thickness from 4 mil to 15 mil, or higher.
Generally, the thicker the film, the more durable and less likely it is to be broken, torn, or punctured. Thinners films are more often used for tinting or solar protection.
However, some manufacturers make thinner films with nanotechnology that are even stronger than thicker films, but the cost is higher.
For example, there are 8 mil thick nano-layered films that test as well as 15 mil standard security films. These multi-layer thin security films are beneficial because the tear strength is higher than standard security films, thus making them stronger to resist bomb blasts, forced entry, and extreme weather events.
Many people ask if window security films work, and the answer is yes; But how do they work?
Security film for windows works under the same principles as automotive windshield glass. The binding agent keeps the glass from shattering upon impact, just like a rock that hits your windshield may cause a hole, but the overall glass piece remains intact.
Laminated security glass consists of two pieces of glass with a PVB layer in-between, and the makeup is glued together under pressure in a tank called an autoclave.
Security film creates similar protection, but rather than replacing your existing non-security glass with laminated glass, you can add security window film. Think of it as an aftermarket laminated glass application.
How Does Security Window Film Really work?
Benefits of Security Window Film
Visibility / Transparency
Clear window films are thin and barely detectable. Unlike blinds and curtains, they allow natural light into your building, which decreases the amount spent on electricity. It also provides an unobtrusive view of the outdoors.
Studies have shown the amount of light in a room can affect the mood of the occupants as well as productivity.
Security window film also comes with privacy options for buildings with windows that open to public-facing streets that require strengthening to protect people and property from bad actors. Often burglars will scope out homes and businesses by looking through windows for enticing valuables.
Burglars may also look for indicators that a building is empty, or someone is home alone. With privacy security films for windows, it becomes near impossible for intruders to see targets or know which rooms are occupied. Window films can also be used to change the look of your building or be decorative in nature.
When impacted, security window film holds glass fragments in place to ensure the glass will not shatter, minimizing damages and decreasing the chance of injury when broken.
Security film for your windows not only stops glass from shattering, but it also makes glass more difficult to breach, delaying entry by up to three minutes. This means intruders will have to use a more considerable amount of force to gain entry, giving those inside time to run, hide, or call the authorities.
Many people ask, is security film bulletproof?
The truth is there is no such thing as bulletproof window film, despite many deceptive ads and videos that mislead consumers.
However, if your facility needs ballistic protection, consider using bullet-resistant glass. While both security films and ballistic glass meet different security needs, bullet-resistant glass will generally have a certified rating to indicate resistance to certain types of bullets, velocity, grain weight, and other factors.
The cost of bullet-resistant glass is much higher than security film. Depending on the size and type, it can run into hundreds of dollars per square foot. Window films offer much lower cost protection against forced entry, active shooter (slowing an intruder), and bomb blast mitigation, for which they are also tested in laboratories.
Security film also protects against natural disasters such as high winds or tornados that my fling objects through glass. Other natural disasters, such as fires and earthquakes, can cause windows to blow out entirely. With window reinforcement film, the glass can be broken, but will not shatter, allowing those attempting to escape safe passage without injury.
Price of Window Security Film
Window security film is less expensive than replacing your building’s windows with laminated security glass. If you have glass in your building that is already laminated, adding a thick security film will give your windows the greatest amount of protection outside of bullet-resistant glass.
The film helps control spall, a term used to describe the flying glass that can become separated from laminated glass in an attack. Spall is considered a serious hazard, as the flying glass can cause blindness and other injuries.
Security film can also be purchased with integrated tinting, which reduces energy expenditures by blocking direct sunlight rays that cause buildings to heat up in the summer. It can also help keep warm air in during the colder winter months, reducing electricity costs.
Some window security films also block ultraviolet light, which is damaging to people, furnishings, and equipment. These films will keep fabrics, furniture, and artwork from discoloration and fading as well as protecting those inside from UV rays that are damaging to eyes and skin.
Things that can affect price
Type of film
There are many different types of security films that fit a variety of needs, from weather conditions to anti-intrusion.
The thicker security films usually have a higher cost due to the increased amount of materials needed. Likewise, thinner nano-security films will cost more than regular security films.
Security films come in many sizes for windows. The more film needed, the higher the cost.
If a sun-control layer is needed, the cost can increase.
Small French windows are far more labor-intensive than large windows without dividers. This will increase the time it takes to complete the work and increases costs.
Clear access to the glass reduces costs, while difficult clearances, cluttered conditions, and high-ladder work will increase costs.
Removal of existing film
It is very common to run into older films which must be removed first before adding the new film. It is usually possible to remove old film without damage to the glass.
Clients looking to save money will clear everything away from the glass prior to the window film installers arriving, reducing the film company’s labor costs. Be sure to indicate you plan to do this before receiving your estimate.
Some windows are too high for extension ladders to be used safely. In these cases, scissor lifts, boom lifts, scaffolding, or swing stage equipment may be required at additional costs.
Travel and accommodations
If an installation company is traveling a far distance to service your property, overnight accommodations may be needed to house the installers. Travel time to the property is also a consideration in price calculations.
For best results, search for a window tinting company that specializes in security window films. While many companies advertise this service, few dedicate the time and training required to be considered security experts truly. The window film industry is not well regulated, and manufacturers will sell security film to almost any dealer.
Ask your vendors for security-specific certificates of training direct from the film manufacturer and be sure the installers have had DOJ clearances. The last thing you want to do is invite a threat to your property while trying to increase the security of your building. Vetting your vendors thoroughly before asking them to come to visit is strongly advised.
Riot Glass® Security Window Films: The Best in Window Laminate Security
At Campbell Glass and Films, we are authorized dealers of and installation experts for Riot Glass® RG Series security window films, the best window laminate security films on the market.
RG Series security films are 12 mm thick for maximum protection, and are ideal for retail storefronts, schools, offices, and other commercial applications as a more affordable alternative to other types of security glass.
Riot Glass® also offers a 6 mm-thick anti-graffiti window film that can be applied specifically to help prevent damage from vandalism.
What makes Riot Glass® security window films so strong?
Riot Glass® RG Series security window films use 100% unique formulations of polycarbonates, acrylics, and other plastics to provide a higher level of security and fragment retention than other similar security window films out there.
Riot Glass, LLC also uses a proprietary multi-layer manufacturing process that increases the tear resistance of their security films, making them outlast and outperform other security window films.
Because they are so durable and long-lasting, RG Series window films are also far more cost-effective than other similar solutions, which wear out much faster.
Additionally, Riot Glass® films are specifically designed to work with other Riot Glass® security glazing products, such as Riot Glass® RG Series glass-clad polycarbonate (GCP) window laminate security glass and ArmorPlast® polycarbonate security glazing.
For example, we can apply RG Series security window films to laminated security glass to help prevent spalling, or to polycarbonate security glazing to help mitigate damage to the outer coating from tools or objects used by vandals.
Benefits of Riot Glass® RG Series multi-layer laminated security window film:
- Uses specific formulations of polycarbonates, acrylics, and other plastics
- Multi-layer manufacturing process increases tear resistance
- Highly effective at fragment retention (for blasts, human impacts, severe windstorms, and earthquakes)
- Ideal for when your budget is too limited for other types of security glazing product
- Can be used in tandem with other Riot Glass® glazing for superior performance
- Very long service life, especially compared to similar products
- Available in 12 mm security film and 6 mm anti-graffiti film
Is Riot Glass® window laminate security film more expensive than other security films?
As with all types of window security laminates, the cost of Riot Glass® depends on the different variables we discussed above, including the thickness and type of film (6 mm vs 12 mm) and the complexity of installation (what surface it’s being applied to/whether old film needs to be removed).
That being said, we find that Riot Glass® always tends to be a more cost-effective security solution than comparable films on the market because of its superior durability and performance.
Ready To Get Started?
Campbell Glass and Films is your partner in all things window film and security glazing related.
We can supply and install security window film and all other types of security glazing you may require from our partners at Riot Glass, LLC.
Contact us today for more information or to get a free quote.