For property owners on a tight budget, laminated security window films are a cost-effective option when it comes to improving glass safety and security.
Although security window films don’t prevent glass from breaking, they can hold broken shards of glass in place, thus delaying penetration and preventing the glass from shattering forcefully and dangerously inwards.
Before you decide whether or not security window film is right for you and your property, it’s important to understand exactly when and why you might want to use it (and what alternatives there are).
How Security Window Film Laminates Work
Window laminate security films consist of many thin layers of pliable polyester coatings that are laminated together into sheets that are usually in the range of 4 mm to 15 mm thick. Films on the higher end of this thickness scale are stronger and offer more security for your windows.
Like all window films, security films get applied directly on top of existing glass surfaces, on either the outside, the inside, or both sides.
Since security window film goes on top of your existing glass, installation is quick, easy, and affordable.
All your window film contractor’s installation team has to do is cut the film to size, clean the glass surfaces it’s to be applied to thoroughly, and adhere the film to the glass using a soapy water solution and a squeegee — it’s basically like applying one of those screen protectors to your phone or another electronic device.
Once the window film is applied, it reinforces the glass against impacts and, most importantly, helps prevent the glass from shattering inwards in the event that it cracks or breaks. This greatly reduces the risks of glass-related injuries due to broken windows, as well as helps mitigate criminal threats, like forced entry and burglary.
Benefits of Laminated Security Window Films:
- More affordable than other types of window security upgrades
- Gets applied directly to existing glass surfaces
- Quick and easy to install
- Reinforces glass against impacts — both intentional and accidental
- Holds broken shards of glass in place
- Reduces risk of glass hazards and improves human safety
- Mitigates security threats like forced entry and burglary
Four Use Cases for Security Window Film
1. Using Window Laminate Security Film To Improve Human Safety
One of the top reasons to install security window film is to improve human safety wherever people are in close proximity to windows, such as in glass office buildings or retail stores with large glass storefront windows.
When a standard annealed glass window breaks, it shatters into unpredictably sized shards of sharp, jagged glass, which can fly inwards at high speeds and potentially cause serious injuries to people inside.
Security films solve this problem by holding the broken shards of glass together, so they don’t go flying dangerously inwards.
2. Using Security Window Film To Help Deter Forced Entry and Burglary
Although security window film won’t stop a determined intruder from breaking through a window to gain unauthorized access to a property, it can delay their attempts long enough to make them think twice about continuing with their illegal activities.
The delay created by security window film can cause criminals to move on and look for easier targets, give people inside time to react, and give the police time to arrive and catch them in the act.
So, even though there are better security glazing products out there for actually preventing forced entry, security window film is a good option when your budget is a concern but you still want some level of forced entry protection for your windows.
Using window laminate security film for glass protection can help mitigate all of the following forced entry-related security threats that commercial property owners have to worry about:
- Vandalism/property damage
- Smash-and-grab theft
- Rioting and looting
3. Using Security Film To Reduce Storm Damage
Since security window film holds broken shards of glass in place, it can add an extra layer of protection against storm damage to help reduce the level of damage sustained by your property.
For instance, if a piece of flying storm debris impacts a window that’s protected by security film, it’s far less likely to penetrate it. Even though the glass may crack and break, the window film can help keep it in place, so the inside of your property isn’t exposed to heavy rains and winds.
Using Laminated Security Film To Mitigate Blast Damage
Security window film is also an effective tool for mitigating blast damage from nearby explosions.
Again, the film won’t stop a window from breaking due to a blast wave, but it can keep the broken glass in place, reducing the risk of injury to anyone inside and limiting the amount of damage to the property as a whole.
What If I Want a Higher Level of Window Security?
While security window film is a versatile security laminate product with many potential use cases, it only offers a basic level of security that may not be enough for all business and building owners.
If you want something that’s actually going to prevent windows from breaking, the most cost-effective choice is something called Riot Glass®.
Riot Glass® offers different types of window laminate security solutions, which employ specific formulations of polycarbonates, acrylics, and other plastics to offer virtually unbreakable window protection.
These security glazing sheets can often be retrofitted on top of existing glass surfaces using retrofittable security framing adapters, creating a nearly impenetrable barrier over the glass.
Riot Glass® is available in a variety of thicknesses and compositions, including containment-grade (forced entry-resistant) and ballistic-grade (bullet-resistant) varieties.
These security glazing solutions are ideal for protecting businesses and commercial facilities of all types against a full range of security threats — at a much higher level than security window film.
At Campbell Glass and Films, we are authorized dealers and installers of all things Riot Glass®, from security window film to bullet-resistant glass-clad polycarbonate security glazing. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a free consultation!