As a home or business owner, the safety and security of your property and its occupants is important to you. While there are many ways that you can safeguard doors and other access points, glass windows will always be the most vulnerable point in its security.
In catastrophic situations, broken glass from smashed windows becomes a hazard by turning into razor-sharp projectiles. This is where safety and security window film products can offer a protective element to help mitigate such threats.
But when it comes to fully preventing breakage and shatters, does window security film really work? Below we delve into this important question and what customers should expect from their investment.
How Does Safety and Security Window Film Work?
Normally, when conventional glass windows break, the glass shatters into pieces with some falling to the ground and others remaining attached to the frame. In extreme situations, the loose pieces may fly off and potentially hurt someone or cause further damage.
Safety and security window film is made up of a thin, micro-layered and tear-resistant plastic film that is applied over the surface of the windowpane and is designed to hold the glass in place when it breaks. Rather than separating into individual pieces, the windowpane stays in place. The film also provides extra strength and resilience to the windowpane which can help stop it from breaking in the case of less severe impacts.
An example of this type of product is 3M™ Safety & Security Window Film, which provides a budget-friendly solution to help minimize damage caused impacts or forced entry. While such safety and security window film provides a high level of glass protection, it’s debated whether or not it’s enough protection for extreme situations.
Another product is 3M™ Impact Protection Attachment Systems which securely attach the film-coated window to the frame to stop it from being popped free. This is an essential feature as the window will often become flexible when it breaks. While the glass pieces would still be held in place by the film, the windowpane could potentially be pushed inward and freed from the frame giving an intruder easy access. The attachment system prevents this from happening.
Is Safety and Security Window Film Unbreakable or Shatterproof?
While these products from 3M™ offer adequate safety for most naturally occurring threats, the question remains: are these security window film products completely unbreakable and shatterproof?
The short answer to this question is no. Although 3M™ Safety & Security Window Film and Impact Protection Attachment Systems are effective in minimizing breakage threats and delaying forced entry attempts, they do not make glass 100% unbreakable or shatterproof.
A stronger and more reliable solution to better prevent shatters and breaks is DefenseLite™, a window glazing solution that’s 250 times stronger than glass alone. DefenseLite™ is not an applied security film, but rather a heavy gauge architectural grade polycarbonate and extruded framing system that’s designed as a retro-fit security shield which mounts onto existing glazing.
DefenseLite™, along with its more advanced ballistic option known as BulletShield™, effectively transforms glass windows and doors into impenetrable shields. While most security window films can delay forced entry for about 30-45 seconds, DefenseLite™ has been engineered to prevent vandals, smash and grab threats, and forced entry attempts. It’s been independently tested with many different blunt force objects ranging from batons, hammers and hatchets with amazing results.
If you’re looking to make glass fully shatterproof and unbreakable, we recommend DefenseLite™ and BulletShield™ as reliable solutions for glass protection. These security window glazing solutions are optimal for schools, educational institutions, government facilities, and other buildings that may be vulnerable to armed intrusion, bomb blasts, and other outsider attacks.
What Situations Does Security Window Film Protect Against?
Although DefenseLite™ and BulletShield™ are the most dependable options to fully prevent breakage and shatters, security window film still has a place for many different applications. Here are a few situations where security window film can help protect your windows, your possessions, and your family from harm.
Vandalism, Break-ins, and Forced Entry Attempts
Burglars are always on the lookout for easy targets to rob. Windows provide easy access to the average home or business premises with a burglar just needing to smash the window and climb right in. By installing security window film, you make your windows a lot harder to break to provide an easy entry point for a robbery. This makes your home or business a much higher risk for the average burglar which means they will likely give it a miss and try to find a more viable target.
While riots and other forms of civil unrest aren’t a common occurrence, they do still happen. Vandalism is a far more common threat, particularly for businesses with large window fronts. In both cases, regardless of the intent of the person who caused the damage, your window has now become an open access point for anyone to enter your property and steal your possessions or business inventory. By installing security window film you limit the chance of your windows shattering entirely and leaving your property unprotected as a result.
Severe Weather and Accidents
The weather can get unpredictably intense at times, with abrupt windstorms and hail being a threat to the integrity of glass windows and doors. A tree branch blown against your window by a strong gust of wind can easily shatter it and send shards flying inside. This leaves the window open to the elements until you can get it repaired.
Accidents around your home can also be a threat to your windows. A backyard game of baseball or a similar sport can quickly get expensive if the ball goes through your window.
In addition to holding your window in place if it gets accidentally broken, safety and security window film can also provide added protection to potentially stop your window from breaking to begin with. A bit of extra strength and resistance can sometimes make the difference between temporary deformation and breakage.
If you live or operate a business in an area that’s prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, and other catastrophic events, then one of your fears might be that such occurrences can result in window breakage in a severe way. This also includes mitigating blasts from human causes, such as riots or terrorist threats. Safety and security window film can help alleviate this concern as reinforced glass is less likely to turn into flying shards if your home is susceptible to violent catastrophic events.
Regardless of any other measures you may take to protect your windows, an extra layer of protection in the form of security window film is a smart investment to make. In addition to providing more protection against damage and theft, adding an advanced form of window protection film will likely help reduce your insurance premiums. Your windows will always be the weakest link in your building’s security chain, so every extra bit of protection you add helps keep you and your building safe and secure.