Windows play a crucial role in buildings, offering natural light, ventilation, and aesthetic appeal. However, when it comes to safety and security, standard annealed windows are severely lacking.
All it takes is one accidental or intentional impact to shatter a traditional window into hundreds of sharp, jagged shards, which can fly dangerously inwards.
Because of this, many commercial property owners turn to tempered safety glass windows, which vastly reduce the risk of glass-related injuries, but do little to nothing to withstand impacts in the first place.
That’s where laminated security glass windows come in. With their advanced construction methods and unique compositions, laminated windows offer numerous benefits, including enhanced safety and security and more.
What Are Laminated Security Glass Windows?
Sheets of laminated window glass, or laminated security glazing, are constructed using multiple layers of strengthened glass with a thermoplastic interlayer sandwiched between them.
This interlayer acts as a bonding agent, firmly holding the glass layers together, as well as helps hold broken glass in place in the event that the security glazing cracks, breaks, or spalls.
The window lamination process is carried out under high pressure and heat, resulting in a durable and robust window structure that can be up to 100 times stiffer and stronger than regular window glass.
How Laminated Security Glass Works
One of the primary reasons to install laminated window glazing is to improve commercial security.
Laminated security glass is built specifically to mitigate impact-related threats, both man-made and from mother nature, including:
- Forced entry and burglary
- Smash-and-grab theft
- Rioting and looting
- Storm damage
- Blast damage
- Accidental impacts
The interlayer used in laminated security glass and the fact that there are multiple layers of reinforced glass sandwiched on top of it make laminated windows far more difficult to penetrate than annealed windows and tempered windows.
This increased durability creates a formidable barrier against break-ins, making laminated security glazing an ideal forced entry prevention solution for businesses, especially those that want to maintain a high level of curb appeal.
Even if a would-be intruder manages to crack a sheet of laminated security glass, the thermoplastic interlayer holds the shattered pieces together, significantly impeding their progress and giving building occupants and the authorities crucial extra time to respond.
Laminated security glass can also be combined with additional security glazing elements for even better performance, such as security window film and retrofit security window framing.
Security window films are designed to reinforce the glass, adding an additional plastic-based coating to help prevent the security glazing from spalling.
Retrofit security window framing, on the other hand, can contain special systems of gaskets and other elements that help the windows it frames disperse the force of impacts towards the edges, making them even harder to penetrate.
What Types of Facilities Can Benefit From the Enhanced Security Provided by Laminated Glass?
Virtually any commercial property is at risk of criminal threats like forced entry, burglary, smash-and-grab theft, and looting.
In certain areas, such as the southeastern United States, business owners also have to worry more about protecting their properties against severe weather events, including hurricanes and strong windstorms.
Laminated security glazing offers an all-in-one solution that protects businesses and facilities against all common security threats. It is an effective and attractive alternative to unsightly solutions, like window bars and grates, and board ups.
Some specific examples of properties that should consider installing laminated security glass on their windows are:
- Specialty retailers
- High-risk businesses (24/7 convenience stores, cannabis dispensaries, liquor stores, jewelry stores)
- Government buildings
- Office buildings
- Hospitality businesses
- Religious buildings
- Luxury residential properties
Other Benefits of Laminated Windows
Improved Human Safety
Besides the high level of security they provide, one of the other main advantages of laminated windows is that they improve human safety even more than tempered safety glass windows do.
Unlike traditional windows, which shatter into sharp, dangerous shards upon impact, and tempered windows, which crumble apart when shattered, laminated windows hold together when broken. The interlayer holds the glass fragments in place, minimizing the risk of injury from flying glass shards.
This property is especially crucial in areas prone to extreme weather conditions, as the windows can resist high-velocity impacts from flying storm debris.
Laminated windows also offer improved sound insulation over standard windows, reducing external noise pollution and providing a quieter indoor environment.
The multiple layers work together to form a better sound barrier than most standard windows, making laminated glass an excellent choice for residential and commercial properties located in busy urban areas or near airports or other transportation hubs.
Better Energy Efficiency
Retrofitting laminated security glass over existing windows is essentially the same as adding a pane of glass, improving insulation and reducing solar heat gain. This can help commercial properties reduce their reliance on HVAC systems and, ultimately, lead to lower utility bills.
In some cases, laminated security glazing can be combined with special energy-efficient coatings for even better performance. In fact, the energy savings this can provide can even make laminated windows an investment that pays itself off over time.
Lastly, laminated windows provide enhanced UV protection, blocking a significant amount (up to 99.9%) of harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
This feature helps protect furniture, artwork, and other valuable items from fading and damage caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight, as well as reduces the risk of sun-related skin issues for building occupants.
What’s the Best Laminated Security Glazing for Commercial Windows?
For the highest level of impact resistance and security, we highly recommend choosing Riot Glass® security glazing.
Although Riot Glass® looks and feels like other types of laminated window glass you can find, it uses specific formulations of acrylics, polycarbonates, and other plastics that allow it to outperform and outlast all similar security glazing products.
At Campbell Glass and Films, we are authorized dealers and installers of Riot Glass®. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you start receiving all the benefits of laminated security glass today!