Laminated Glass vs. Tempered Glass: What’s Better for Commercial Property Security?

By October 9, 2023 January 9th, 2024 Uncategorized

Ensuring the safety of building occupants and the protection of valuable assets is at the top of your mind if you’re a commercial property owner.

One critical, yet often overlooked, aspect of achieving a high level of commercial security is selecting the right type of glass for your windows and doors.

When it comes to protecting your property against forced entry, vandalism, and severe impacts, there are two types of glazing that people often consider: laminated security glass and tempered safety glass.

As a glazing company specializing in security glass solutions, we think it’s important to make sure everyone understands the key differences between laminated glass and tempered glass windows to ensure they choose the right one for their needs.

The Lowdown on Laminated Security Glass: The Superior Choice for Security

Laminated security glass is a specialized type of glass laminate engineered for both enhanced safety and security, making it the superior choice for commercial property owners looking to fortify their windows and doors against a full range of threats.

Laminated security glass is constructed by sandwiching thermoplastic interlayers between two or more layers of strengthened glass, creating a strong, bonded composite glazing shield.

This lamination process provides laminated security glass with several critical advantages that set it apart from traditional commercial and storefront glass options:

1. Forced Entry Resistance

Laminated security glass is designed to withstand significant force, making it exceptionally difficult for intruders to gain unauthorized access by breaking a glass door or window.

Even if an assailant attempts to break the glass, the thermoplastic interlayer holds the shattered glass pieces together, continuing to prevent easy entry.

This forced entry resistance is invaluable for commercial properties where security breaches can lead to significant financial losses or potential harm to those inside.

Laminated security glass can effectively protect commercial properties against various types of forced entry, including burglary, smash-and-grab theft, and looting.

2. Impact Resistance

In addition to deterring and preventing forced entry, laminated security glass can resist various other forms of impacts.

Whether it’s an impact from flying debris during a storm, an accidental collision, or a deliberate act of vandalism, laminated glass remains intact and provides a protective barrier, reducing the risk of injury and property damage.

3. Enhanced Sound Insulation

Laminated security glass not only improves physical security, but also provides superior acoustic insulation.

This feature is particularly valuable for commercial properties located in noisy urban environments, as it helps create a quieter and more comfortable indoor atmosphere.

4. UV Protection

Laminated security glass often comes with built-in UV protection. This feature prevents harmful ultraviolet rays from entering the building, reducing the fading of interior furnishings and protecting occupants from potential health risks associated with prolonged UV exposure.

5. Security Film Compatibility

Laminated security glass can be further reinforced with security films, which add an extra layer of protection against forced entry, ballistic threats, and bomb blasts, helping to prevent spalling and hold broken shards of glass in place.


Tempered Safety Glass: An Alternative for Safety, but Not Security

Tempered safety glass is an option for enhancing the safety of commercial properties by mitigating the risks of broken glass-related injuries.

However laminated safety glass is NOT designed for boosting security, and it has distinct limitations compared to laminated security glass:

1. Limited Forced Entry Resistance

Tempered safety glass is created through a process of rapid heating and cooling, which results in increased strength and safety when it comes to accidental breakage. However, it lacks the ability to resist forced entry effectively.

Once tempered glass is shattered, it breaks into small, relatively harmless pieces. While this might be advantageous for reducing injury risk, it is a severe disadvantage when it comes to security.

2. Vulnerability to Break-Ins

Due to its shattering behavior, tempered safety glass is susceptible to break-ins. Intruders can easily gain access to the property by breaking the glass and entering through the opening created.

This vulnerability poses a significant security risk, especially for commercial properties that require a high level of protection.

3. Limited Impact Resistance

Tempered safety glass is primarily designed to enhance safety by reducing the risk of injury from broken glass shards.

While it can withstand moderate impacts, tempered glass is not as robust as laminated security glass when it comes to resisting severe impacts, such as those caused by storms or deliberate attacks.

4. Not Compatible with Security Window Film

Security window film should never be applied to tempered safety glass, and therefore tempered glass is even more limiting in its ability to be customized and made more secure.

The reality is that tempered glass is designed to be broken and therefore should never be relied upon to protect commercial properties against forced entry, active threats, or other impact-related risks.


The Bottom Line

Your choice of glass plays a pivotal role in fortifying the security of your commercial property.

While tempered safety glass has its place in enhancing safety and reducing injury risk, it falls short when it comes to providing comprehensive security solutions.

On the other hand, laminated security glass excels in safeguarding against forced entry and resisting severe impacts.

When it comes to commercial property security, don’t fall into the trap of thinking tempered safety glass is enough — you want the strength, durability, and peace of mind that only security glass can provide.

At Campbell, we are authorized dealers and installers of Riot Glass® security glazing solutions, which use 100% unique formulations of security glass laminates, polycarbonates, acrylics, and other plastics to outperform and outlast all similar products on the market.

Contact us today to discuss our range of security glass solutions that can be fully tailored to meet the unique needs of your commercial property.