workplace safety healthy environment

Safety in the Workplace: 5 Tips for Creating a Healthy Environment

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workplace safety healthy environmentThe safety and health of a workplace has a major effect on employee morale and productivity, and as the leader of your business or office, the responsibility of ensuring the health and safety of your employees falls on your shoulders. Especially now, during a pandemic, there is increased focus on healthy workplace initiatives. Fortunately, there are many ways to approach creating and improving a healthy work environment. 

A healthy workplace can include several aspects of the environment, from physical to mental wellbeing. We will be focusing on the physical workplace environment and the occupational health and safety of your employees. 

Work-related injury and illness can be costly, so remove yourself from liability and protect your employees from the start by investing in these simple yet effective ways to create a safe and healthy work environment:

1. Safe-Proof the Building

To avoid injury, the entire building should be inspected, and dangerous areas should be addressed. While this may seem overwhelming, this task can come down to a number of simple upgrades and adjustments to make the environment safer. This can include improvements like adding rubber padding along the ends of stairs, designating emergency exits, installing rubber mats at entryways to prevent slips and falls, and ensuring that railings are secure. 

Additionally, this can include making sure that all tools and equipment are installed properly and safely. For example, wires and electric cables should be covered or taped down to prevent employees from tripping over them. 

There are also areas that may require continued maintenance, like interior and exterior infrastructure. Walkways can become dangerous when icy, so make sure you have someone available to come and salt those walkways in the winter months. Additionally, for buildings that get a lot of sunlight exposure, UV-protected windows can improve occupant comfort while minimizing energy drain on heating and cooling systems.  

2. Use Signs and Graphics

Signage is an affordable yet effective way to remind employees of potential hazards and convey appropriate procedures to prevent injury and illness. Even for the most seasoned employees, this sort of information can be useful and preventative. 

These days, social distancing graphics and other visual reminders to maintain disease prevention protocols are necessary to creating a healthy work environment. This type of signage can help employees and customers maintain a safe distance from each other and also remind those entering the building to follow safety measures like wearing masks and sanitizing or washing hands. Once social distancing guidelines are lifted, they can easily be removed from windows, floors, and walls. 

3. Keep Things Clean

One of the key steps to maintaining healthy work environment standards is to ensure that your office or retail store stays clean. To prevent the spread of germs and disease, high-touch surfaces should regularly be sanitized, and frequent hand washing should be encouraged for employees.  

Businesses can further ensure the cleanliness of their space with technologies like NanoSeptic® self-cleaning surface films and PURE ZONE® antimicrobial films. Ideal for schools, airports, hotels, retailers, and restaurants, these films are applied on surfaces (i.e., door handles) and effectively reduce the transfer of bacteria and germs. These technologies are important investments in spaces where cleanliness is vital. 

A messy work environment can also lead to unnecessary injury. Make sure that all spills are cleaned up quickly and that tools and boxes stay organized and out of the right of way. Establish appropriate waste classifications, so employees and customers know where and how to dispose of food and other waste. 

4. Install Safety Shields 

Protect your employees by installing personal protective shields between desks or at registers and other areas where employees may interact with the public. Retail sneeze guards can prevent the spread of germs and disease, which is especially important now with the spread of COVID-19. These protective shields can be custom designed for your business and manufactured from a variety of materials, but polycarbonate shields are the most durable. 

Also, these shields can be installed between desks to keep employees safe from each other in office settings. They can be customized with additional benefits like cloaking privacy or switchable privacy to give employees privacy along with safety from the spread of germs. 

5. Apply Safety Films to Window & Door Glass

When glass windows and doors shatter, it can be a safety hazard, especially in the case of extreme weather and catastrophic events. One step you can take to improve the safety of your work environment is to install safety and security films on your building’s windows and doors. These transparent films are designed to hold broken glass together to prevent dangerous, sharp shards from forming when the glass is broken and, in turn, protect those inside. 

While these 5 steps are great ways to improve the safety of your workplace, one of the best things you can do to ensure a safe and healthy workplace environment is to encourage open communication with your employees. When they feel comfortable approaching you with an issue that makes them feel unsafe, or if they feel like safety standards are not being met, everyone benefits from the improvements made. 

What is Tempered Glass used for?

What is Tempered Glass and What It’s Used For?

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What is Tempered Glass used for?Much of the glass that’s used for residential and commercial applications is tempered safety glass. In short, tempered glass is heat-treated, making it about 4x stronger than regular, annealed glass. By design, when broken, tempered glass disintegrates into small pieces and is much less likely to do harm.  

When shattered, tempered glass windows can help protect a building’s occupants and equipment from the hazards of large shards of fragmented glass debris. 

Below, we discuss what makes tempered glass different from standard glass and its key benefits and potential downfalls.

What is Tempered Glass?

Manufactured through a process of extreme heating and rapid cooling, tempered glass is much harder than standard glass. Regular, annealed glass undergoes a thermal tempering process that increases its strength and changes its composition to shatters differently. 

The glass is heated in a furnace to over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and then quickly cooled using high-pressure air blasts. This cools the outer layers of the glass much more quickly than the internal layers, so when the inside cools, it pulls away from the outer layers. As a result, the inside remains in a state of tension, while the outside goes into a state of compression. These competing forces are what make tempered glass so much stronger than annealed glass.

Due to the tempering process, when this type of glass is broken, it breaks into small, rounded chunks instead of sharp, jagged shards.  Regular, untreated glass is known to shatter into sharp pieces called spall, which are a significant cause of injury in the cases of extreme weather or attacks like bomb blasts. Tempered glass is often referred to as “safety glass” for its ability to prevent spall and keep building occupants safe. 

What is Tempered Glass Used for?

Also known as “safety glass”, tempered glass is often used in car windows, shower doors, glass tables, and other installations where increased safety standards are necessary. While the manufacturing process does make tempered glass more resistant to force, it is not shatterproof glass or unbreakable in any way. For this reason, it shouldn’t be used to prevent intruders, but it will stand up to more force than regular glass. 

The tempering process also makes tempered glass more resistant to damage from higher temperatures. That’s why you may see tempered glass used in situations where high temperatures are likely to cause glass to break like in fireplace doors or kitchen appliances. 

Disadvantages of Tempered Glass

One of the main advantages of tempered glass, its ability to shatter into tiny pebbles, can also be seen as a disadvantage. Since the glass is designed to shatter entirely upon impact, it can pose a security risk. Motivated intruders may find it easier to gain entry because a single force can cause the entire window to fall apart.

Additionally, it’s impossible to re-size, re-cut, or re-shape tempered glass once it has undergone the tempering process. All sizing must occur before the annealed glass is treated because once it is tempered, it is too susceptible to breakage to be cut or adjusted. Damage to any part of it will cause the entire glass sheet to shatter, so precision and custom installments are key to using tempered glass.  

If these disadvantages sound like they may be a deal-breaker for you, know that there are other window treatments that provide a sound alternative to tempered glass.

Tempered Glass vs Film

One of the main alternatives to tempered glass is window film. In the tempered glass window film debate, window film tends to win out for a number of reasons. These multi-layer films significantly improve glass windows and doors’ protective capabilities, making them harder to penetrate, whether by forced entry or flying debris. They’re an unobtrusive and affordable way to hold glass shards together when the window is damaged, preventing the glass from harming those inside and slowing entry.

Safety & Security Window Films allow you to upgrade your glass to code for a fraction of the cost of a full glass replacement. Building codes may specify that glass near certain hazardous locations, such as wet surfaces, doors, floors, ramps, and stairs, meet certain safety glazing requirements. 3M Safety Window Films can help you quickly and easily meet safety glazing impact requirements for far less than the cost of replacement windows.

Window Film Depot is a certified installer of 3M Safety & Security Window Films. When you contact us, we’ll get a better understanding of your needs, schedule an onsite consultation, recommend the best products for you and discuss installation logistics.

There are many options to enhance window and door safety in both residential and commercial installations, so the decision comes down to what will best suit your needs. If you’re unsure, contact Window Film Depot and our representatives will do everything we can to guide you to the right product for you. 

RealShield Protective Plastic Face Shield Covering Masks

COVID-19 Face Shields vs Masks: Which is More Effective?

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RealShield Protective Plastic Face Covering MasksAfter nearly a year of wearing masks, many people are starting to get fatigued by them and looking for an alternative, but is there one? Clear face shields for COVID 19 are often brought up as substitutes, but are face shields as effective as masks?

If you’re exploring alternatives to face masks, make sure you do plenty of research on the benefits and risks of each form of protection so you know you’re doing everything you can to keep yourself and those around you safe.

There is plenty of competing information out there, so we have gathered information from reputable sources like the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization to answer the question, “are face shields as good as masks?”

Are Face Shields Better Than Masks?

To answer this question, we first need to look at how the coronavirus is spread. According to the CDC, “COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets. Respiratory droplets travel into the air when you cough, sneeze, talk, shout or sing. These droplets can then land in the mouths or noses of people who are near you, or they may breathe these droplets in.” 

For this reason, masks are the best form of protection. Over numerous studies, masks have proven to be the most effective at stopping the spread of these respiratory droplets. On the other hand, plastic face shields can protect the eyes from exposure where masks do not.  

Is Eye Protection Necessary?

One’s eyes are a vulnerable area of exposure to coronavirus-containing droplets. Plastic face shields provide an added layer of protection that most masks lack. For healthcare professionals, educators, restaurant works, care providers, or any individual exposed to people throughout the day, a plastic face mask is recommended reinforcement to minimize spread.  

RealShield Educational Schools Protective Plastic Face Covering MasksKeep in mind that plastic face shields provide an initial barrier of protection, but droplets in the environment can still be inhaled through the open areas around the plastic visor. Face shields are primarily used to protect the eyes but have large gaps below and alongside the face where your respiratory droplets may escape and reach others around you. 

The same goes for breathing in others’ droplets. While there isn’t as much research available on how well face shields protect you from those around you, it can be assumed that if droplets are escaping around the bottom of the shield, they can also be breathed in that way. That means that reusable face shields are best used in conjunction with masks, not in place of them. 

Benefits of Face Shields

The CDC may not recommend using face shields as a substitute to masks, but they are a great addition to them. One major weakness of masks is that they do not protect the eyes of the wearer. When worn along with a mask, face shields provide the most protection, keeping droplets and spray away from the mouth, nose, and eyes. 

Face shields also provide the additional benefit of keeping the wearer from touching their face. One of the main ways viruses like coronavirus is spread through people touching their eyes, nose, or mouth, allowing the virus to enter the body. Face shields prevent the dangerous spread of germs by making it difficult to touch your face with potentially infected hands.

Best Face Shields 

When it comes to keeping employees safe, you don’t want to take any chances. If your employees work in high exposure settings, a face shield can be a very beneficial added layer of defense against contracting COVID 19. 

RealShield is a full-face, clear face shield that protects both employees and customers. It’s durable, lightweight, and comfortable to wear, attaching to most hats and visors. It is reusable and crafted from shatterproof polycarbonate to be washed with soap and water and worn again. This safety face shield for teachers, students, and other employees prevents face touching to mitigate the spread of germs and shields from respiratory droplets that may enter the mouth, nose, or eyes. Available in both adult and child sizes, RealShield is durable, long-lasting, and designed with comfort in mind.

Also available are 3N1 multi-use protective face shields for use in critical care environments. Three removable layers make it easy to dispose of harmful pathogens on the exposed shield, offering three shields in one. The adhesive stays with the discarded layer and eliminates residue on the remaining safety face shields. These face shields for medical workers protect the vision, face, and mouth of emergency, primary, and critical care personnel, all while offering convenience much needed in this fast-paced environment. 

Buy Face Shield Products 

Bulk face shields can be purchased through for use in schools, restaurants, hospitals, churches, or other organizations with many employees in need of face shields. If you’re looking for face shields to keep your employees safe, look no further than RealShield and 3N1 multi-use face shields.

Best Heat Reflective Window Film to Block UVs

Best Heat Reflective Window Film to Block UVs and Regulate Temperature

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Best Heat Reflective Window Film to Block UVs

Whether you need UV reflective window films for commercial or residential use, these window films provide a number of benefits. They are an excellent way to protect furniture and merchandise from fading as well as save you money on your energy bills by helping to regulate internal temperature.

When searching for the right sun reflective window film for your building, there are a few factors you should consider, like exterior appearance, affordability, and installation techniques.

Why You Need Window Film – Energy Efficiency

When it comes to windows, there are two qualities that define energy efficiency: solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) and thermal transmittance (U-factor). SHGC is a measure of how much of the sun’s heat is transmitted into a building through the windows while U-factor is a measure of how well the window insulates. For both measures, the lower the number, the better the window will be for energy efficiency in hot summer months. 

If your building doesn’t already have energy-efficient windows, heat rejection window films will help manage SHGC and U-factor to make the building more energy-efficient and provide greater indoor comfort. In this way, these window films will greatly affect your bottom line by reducing air conditioning usage when temperatures outside heat up. 

Why You Need Window Film – UV Blocking

An additional benefit of solar window films is their ability to block dangerous UV rays. Exposure to UV radiation from the sun can cause premature aging of the skin and damage to the DNA in skin cells which can lead to skin cancer. UV exposure can also break down the chemicals in furniture and fabric dyes, causing discoloration and fading.

The right type of reflective UV blocking window film can reject up to 99.9% of damaging UV rays which keep building occupants protected and helps to reduce distracting glare that may cause eye discomfort. This also means that furnishings and merchandise will be more resistant to fading, providing greater longevity to your investments.

What to Consider When Choosing Heat Reflective Window Film

Level of Protection

Sun reflective window films come in a variety of tint levels that provide varying degrees of protection from UV rays. Generally, if you want more protection from UV rays, the tint will be darker and more reflective, but there are also window films that provide very high UV defense while allowing plenty of light inside, like 3M’s Sun Control Prestige Exterior Series.

Exterior and Interior Appearance

Of course, aesthetics also play a role when choosing a window film. Solar reflective window films can be made from an array of materials that provide different effects for both the interior and exterior of a building. 

Some sun control films have darker tints while others are intended to provide the most visibility and highest transmission of visible light for those inside. As far as the exterior goes, some films have increased reflective capabilities to provide additional security and a variety of tones from silver to neutral that can be tailored to your aesthetic.

Installation Technique

Some heat reflective window films come with materials to install them yourself, while others are installed by professionals. There is generally less room for error when trained professionals are the ones installing the window films, so this is the recommended technique. Air bubbles and peeling films become an issue when these window films are applied by those without experience.

The Best Heat Reflective Window Film

If you’re searching for the best window films on the market, 3M’s UV protection films are affordable, non-metalized, multilayer optical films that reject up to 97% of the sun’s infrared light and up to 60% of the heat coming through your windows. 

What sets 3M’s films apart is the precision with which light waves are controlled as they pass through or reflect off of hundreds of layers of film. Compared to other films, 3M Window Films increase performance at a faster rate as the sun’s angle increases. That means greater protection and comfort when you need it the most.

These films are designed from the highest quality materials to be the best solution for your interiors. Whether you’re a homeowner or business owner, choosing 3M Sun Control Window Films gives you peace of mind, increasing your level of comfort while minimizing your utility bills and protecting your furnishings.

Professional Installation

Since 1992, Window Film Depot has built a reputation as the #1 3M Window Film installer in the nation. We help a number of customers, ranging from governmental offices to healthcare facilities, purchase and install UV protection window film. 

In addition to sun blocking window film to protect against UV rays, our company is able to combine additional window treatments to help improve the security, comfort, aesthetics, and overall efficiency of your indoor environment. We will help you realize the energy-saving benefits of UV protection film by pairing these features with safety and security window treatments as well as decorative glass films to achieve your desired aesthetic and benefits.

To get the highest quality window films, installed by America’s installation pros, contact Window Film Depot for more information or call (866) 933-3456 to learn more.

BulletShield Ballistic Window Protection Product

What is Ballistic Glass? Which Solutions Protect Windows Best?

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BulletShield Ballistic Window Protection Product

Often referred to as “bulletproof” glass, ballistic glass can refer to a range of glass products that are resistant to attacks by firearms. However, none of these products should really be marketed as “bulletproof” because this implies that bullets ricochet off the surface when in reality, most ballistic products are “bullet-resistant,” actually absorbing the impact of bullets.

The goal of ballistic glass products is to stop initial shots fired, slowing the attacker down and allowing those inside to escape to safety. Ballistic windows will often take numerous rounds of bullets before they become penetrable, but they do not stand up to a continual barrage of bullets.

There are plenty of products out there that claim to be bulletproof or bullet-resistant. Here, we’ll discuss which options are available and how to choose the ballistic product that’s right for you. 

Ballistic Glass Options

It’s essential to understand the difference between the various products on the market that can sometimes be described as having ballistic glass qualities.  

Laminated Glass

This type of glass is layered with a combination of PVB or resin interlayers to make it less susceptible to shattering. While it can enhance security and protect a building’s occupants from dangerous shards, it is generally not viewed as bullet-resistant. Like a car windshield, the lamination keeps the glass together after it has been penetrated, but it is unlikely to support a bullet from entering a building. 

Ballistic Window Film

Some security window films may market themselves as “bulletproof” or as “ballistic film for windows.” These thin films made of polyurethane layers can be applied to existing glazing, so they might be appealing to those looking for a quick fix, rather than replacing the entire glazing system. However, these films are unlikely to stop a bullet in the same way that ballistic glass would. 

Ballistic Glass

Though it is called glass, this ballistic product is more commonly manufactured from a plastic-like polycarbonate, which has the appearance of glass with 250 times the strength. The polycarbonate, which has often been enhanced with layers of polyurethane, is what provides the highest level of bullet resistance, absorbing the impact of the bullet and keeping it from entering the building. 

Ballistic Glass Ratings

When searching for a product to defend against ballistic attacks, you should search for something that has a ballistic rating. If a product does not list a ballistic rating, then it shouldn’t be considered bullet resistant. Ballistic glass products are rated based on how many and what kind of bullets it can resist from certain firearms. There are two industry standards commonly used to rate bullet resistance: Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Standard 752 or National Institute of Justice (NIJ) 018.01. 

Within these two rating standards are eight levels of bullet resistance. Level 1 has an average glass thickness of 13/16” and can withstand three shots from a 9mm handgun. The thickness of the glass and power of the firearms it’s meant to withstand increase as the levels go up. Level 8 has an average thickness of 2 ⅜” and can withstand up to five shots from a 7.62mm rifle. As you can see, the effectiveness varies greatly, so make sure you understand which level you are getting when you purchase any ballistic glass product. 

Best Ballistic Windows & Doors – BulletShield 

Dubbed “Body Armor for Windows,” BulletShield, DefenseLite’s ballistic glass product, offers impressive ballistic resistance at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions. Rated to UL 752 ballistic standards, these impressive polycarbonate shields mount onto existing window and door frames, creating a protective layer that mitigates ballistic attack to keep your building protected from active shooter threats.

bulletshield unbreakable glass windows security ballistic bullet-resistantThese bullet-resistant shields are engineered to flex under attack, so they stand up to multiple shots, stalling the shooter and allowing time for those inside to seek safety. BulletShield’s ballistic glass can be installed on both doors and windows in schools and campuses, hospitals, government buildings, or any business that is susceptible to ballistic attack.

Each system is custom fabricated based on perceived threat levels, budgets, and existing glazing conditions. Installed by certified dealers, these ballistic systems may utilize exotic plastics, polycarbonates, or glass-clad shields, depending on performance requirements. All-weather adhesives, high-performance films, VHB tapes, and mechanical security anchors may be used to install the system.

With active shooter situations on the rise, there is no better time than now to enhance security with ballistic-resistant glass. Keep your students, employees, and building occupants safe with BulletShield.

what is window glazing

What is Window Glazing? Why is it Important for Energy Efficiency, Security, and Privacy?

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what is window glazingWindow glazing, which is often referred to as just “glazing,” has evolved since the days when windows had just a single pane between you and the elements. 

Glazing is often confused with specific window film and adhesive treatments designed to reinforce glass windows and doors. However, the term window glazing refers to the glass itself that is installed within the frame.

So, What is Window Glazing?

When you hear the term “window glazing,” think of the actual glass panes within the entire window unit itself. Because single-pane windows are far less common due to energy inefficiencies, today’s windows typically come with “glazing systems,” which are designed to incorporate multiple panes of glass, gas fillings, and heat-sensitive coatings.

Below is a breakdown of the three most common types of glazed windows.

Single-Pane Windows

Windows with just one layer of glass are less common due to glazing advancements mentioned below. They are notorious for leaking energy from a house and offer little protection against the elements. Suppose you currently have single-pane windows but do not wish to upgrade or install an outer layer of storm windows. In that case, energy-saving window film can offer a cost-efficient alternative.

double pane window glazingDouble-Pane Insulated Glass

Most new windows sold today are made of double-pane glass, also known as double-glazed windows or simply “insulated glass.” Double-pain usually contains a layer of gas (either argon or krypton) sealed between the inner and outer panes. Because the gas is a poor thermal conductor, it helps prevent the passage of heat through the window. Double-pane windows also reduce the need for storm windows and provide greater durability for safety.

insulated triple pane window glazingTriple-Pane Insulated Glass 

A level-up from double-pane are triple-pane windows, which are more energy-efficient and resilient. Triple-pane windows lock two layers of gas within the entire unit. They’re a high-performance option for frigid climates and can also help buffer sound from high-traffic locations next to highways and airports. Although the extra glass pane can increase the size and cost of the window sash, this type also delivers greater security against threats.

As the case with certain window film treatments, building owners can take advantage of federal tax credits and rebates by investing in insulated windows that help support energy efficiency.

Low-E Film and Heat Mirror Glass

Adding panes and gas-filled spacers are one solution to increase the efficiency of windows. Another way is with low-emissivity (low-E) film, an invisible layer of metallic oxide that reduces the amount of heat that passes through the glass. Virtually all new window units sold today offer this feature. While low-E films can add 10 to 15 percent to a window’s cost, studies have shown that they cut energy expenditures by between 25-30 percent over conventional insulated glass.

Most Low-E films deliver the best of both worlds when it comes to regulating a building’s temperature in regions with dramatic seasonality. Both a window insulation film and heat block window film, Low-E films are designed to retain cool air during the summer and heat during the winter so you can save on energy costs all year round. And when you choose 3M Low-E Window Film, you can leverage advanced window insulation performance, much like upgrading to a double-pane or triple-pane window to help lock in heat.

Another high-tech glazing system, called Heat Mirror, can match and even exceed triple-pane windows’ energy efficiency but without the extra weight. It’s made by suspending a sheet of low-E film between panes of insulated glass. Superglass, the most expensive glazing system on the market and one of the best insulators, suspends two layers of Heat Mirror between glass panes with gas-filled spacers.

In addition to temperature regulation and energy savings, the window glazing can also be used for safety, security, and privacy with switchable technology.

Security Glazing

Unlike storm windows that protect against weather, security glazing is specifically designed to resist human-forced damage and forced entry attempts. 

Security glazing differs from conventional safety glazing in that security options are engineered to withstand large blasts and aggressive forced entry attempts with various blunt force objects. One of the best examples of this technology is DefenseLite, an adaptable security overglaze that anchors onto existing windows, doors and, curtainwall glazing frames. 

A patented technology that provides an invisible layer of unbreachable security glass, DefenseLite overglaze is 250 times stronger than traditional glass. DefenseLite flexes, absorbs, and deflects energy away, thereby neutralizing threats and keeping the bad guys out. 

With episodes of smash-and-grab attempts, forced entry, and vandalism crimes on the rise, DefenseLite is an affordable security glass solution that combines the best of materials science with an efficient retrofit installation.

Electrochromic Glass & Switchable Windows

Electrochromic glass carries many different names, such as smart glass, switchable glass, and dynamic glass. Despite its many names, electrochromic glass is a unique glazing solution that turns windows from transparent to tinted on command.

Gauzy Liquid Crystal Smart Glass FilmOffering similar features as the switchable films we offer, electrochromic glass is an electronically-tintable glass that can be used for various types of indoor and outdoor windows, curtain walls, skylights, and facades.

A building’s occupants can directly control switchable glass windows made with electrochromic technology, providing on-demand privacy, glare and sun control, and even energy savings. It’s a smart solution for commercial offices, healthcare facilities, government buildings, classroom settings, retail storefronts, and museums. 

Which Window Glazing Is Right for You?

As you can see, window glazing comes in many different types to accommodate specific needs. Each type of glazing has its advantages and disadvantages. The type of glazing that will best meet your needs depends on your priorities (i.e., energy, safety, security, etc.), as well as your budget and the degree of efficiency you expect from your investment. 

To better understand your options when upgrading window treatments, contact our team for expert knowledge and product support. Or call (866) 933-3456 and request a free estimate.

How to Burglar Proof Windows and Prevent Break Ins

Unbreakable Glass Windows: What Options Actually Work?

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riot glass unbreakable glass windows doorsUnbreakable glass windows are a confusing product type in the window industry. There’s a great deal of misbelief and misconception around unbreakable glass and whether certain products deliver on such promises.

This because there are many catch-all terms and labels that are tossed around as “unbreakable glass,” when in reality, most security products on the market can indeed be penetrated with enough force and willpower.

Despite its ambiguity, there are in fact unbreakable glass options on the market. Buyers must understand the various types of products and how they differ in terms of strength and un-breakability.

What Is Unbreakable Glass?

unbreakable glass windows glazingUnbreakable glass can be classified into two primary types:

  • Laminated glass windows: A specialized type of security window designed with a thin piece of transparent film that’s sandwiched between two panes of normal glass, also known as shatterproof glass.
  • Polycarbonate window panels: Flexible and high-strength panels that look just like regular window glass, but they are actually made of a combination of acrylics, polycarbonate, and other plastic.

Both of these widely-known types of “unbreakable glass” are far more durable and lightweight than normal glass windows, but they’re not created equally. Below we go into greater detail behind each of these solutions and which option might be best for you.

Laminated Glass (aka “Shatterproof Glass”)

In the window industry, unbreakable laminated glass is often tossed around as “shatterproof glass.” This has become a catch-all term that vaguely defines a certain variety of laminated security glass products. However, this term can be a bit misleading because most shatterproof laminated security glass is not 100% unbreakable

Rather, it’s designed to be very shatter-resistant. When this type of laminated security glass does break, it holds glass shards in place to prevent the glass from shattering dangerously inwards. So while this solution might help protect against natural disasters and storm threats, it might not be enough to protect against a bomb blast or a determined intruder.

unbreakable glass windows security glazingLaminated security glass can delay entry by a few minutes to total non-entry, depending on the thickness of the glass and the determination and tools of the individual trying to gain access. It can be a sufficient deterrent for vulnerable locations.

For instance, laminated glass can be a sound solution for retailers who wish to better protect their storefront and merchandise against smash-and-grab theft, burglary, rioting, and looting. It can also be installed on glass windows and doors of homes and residential complexes to help deter intruders and threats. 

As an alternative to laminated glass upgrades, safety and security window film can offer similar advantages and features. Security window film is often far less expensive to install and can also offer added benefits, like energy savings, sun control, and UV protection.

Polycarbonate Panels

If you’re interested in unbreakable glass that truly lives up to its name, polycarbonate panels are the type you want. Polycarbonate panels are significantly more difficult to break than both standard glass windows and laminated glass mentioned above. Compared to these latter options, polycarbonate panels deliver superior protection against forced entry attempts, burglaries, and weather-related disasters.

Although these panels look and function like glass windows, they are made of a combination of polycarbonate, acrylics, and other plastic resins. The combined strength and durability of its material composition makes polycarbonate panels a truly unbreakable and impenetrable solution.

While a laminated glass or shatterproof windows can effectively delay forced entry attempts, a polycarbonate window will always maintain its integrity against the most relentless and aggressive of attacks, including bomb blasts. Some polycarbonate panels have been engineered for ballistic protection, which provides protection against firearm threats. 

defenselite unbreakable security glass windowsOne of the best examples on the market is DefenseLite polycarbonate security panels. DefenseLite is 250 times stronger than glass and nearly invisible once installed. It’s been test across a wide range of blunt force objects and weapons and is proven effective as an unbreakable glass solution for the most demanding applications. It’s also easily mounted to existing glazing frames using a custom vented aluminum extrusion that creates a stand-off from the primary window and door glass.

DefenseLite also produces BulletShield, polycarbonate shields that offer UL 752 ballistic protection at a fraction of the cost of alternative products. RIghtfully acclaimed the body armor for windows, BulletShield is a bullet-resistant option that’s been tested with a wide range of firearms. You can learn more about this ballistic unbreakable glass solution here

bulletshield unbreakable glass windows security ballistic bullet-resistantAt Window Film Depot, we specialize in many different types of protective glass solutions. Whether you need a security deterrent to prevent burglaries and looting, or a full-on ballistic solution to stop armed intruders dead in their tracks, we can help you determine the optimal solution to fit your needs. Get in touch with one of our professionals by contacting us online or call 866-933-3456  for more information. 

Family Dollar Custom Storefront Graphics Film

FGIA’s Safety and Security Glazing Standards & Test Methodology

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Family Dollar Custom Storefront Graphics FilmNow more than ever, the demand for safety and security glazing for glass windows, doors, and storefronts is increasing throughout the U.S. With growing demand comes questions about which security glazing standards to use.

To answer some of these questions, Bill Lingnell of the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) hosted a webinar titled, “Security Glazing for Storefront and Fenestration.” In the webinar, Lingnell gave an overview of many safety and security glazing standards and the testing methodology behind those standards. He also discussed different types of glazing solutions used for security purposes, including burglary and forced entry resistance, bullet resistance, hurricane resistance, and blast resistance.

Safety and Security Glazing Test Methods

The current test method for safety glazing is ANSI Z97.1, which requires the use of a 100-pound soft body impactor. This test method is segmented into two classifications. Class A, which requires 400-foot pounds to be dropped from a height of 48 inches, and Class B which requires 50-foot pounds be dropped from a height of 18 inches.

For burglar resistance, UL 972 is the primary glazing standard which is measured by an impact test that uses a 5-pound steel ball dropped at a height of 10 feet onto the glass. UL 972 testing requires multiple drops, including a high energy drop from 40 feet. Additionally, the materials tested are conditioned at various temperatures to simulate an indoor and outdoor environment. For materials to pass the UL 972 standard of criteria, there must be no penetration of the glass.

For door and window system framing, there are three standards for forced entry frame attack: ASTM F476 – hinged doors, ASTM F588 – windows, and ASTM F842 – sliding doors. These stands require the use of various tools and no glazing impact.

For hurricane impact, ASTM E2395 (Standard Specification for Voluntary Security Performance of Window and Door Assemblies with Glazing Impact) is used. This standard requires a glazing test impact in accordance with ASTM E1886 and missile specifications per ASTM E1996.

Security Glazing Standard Test Methods

In addition to the standards mentioned above, there are several additional glazing standards that can be used for forced entry security. These include:

  • ASTM F1233, Standard Test Method for Security Glazing Materials and Systems – Impacts defined by various weapons, such as extinguishers, sledgehammers, chisels, and gasoline; ballistic assault and anthropomorphic assault. The pass criteria for body protection is no permissible opening of a block in dimensions of 9-inch by 8-inch by 5-inch. The pass criteria for contraband protection is no permissible opening of a 1/8-inch diameter rod. 
  • ASTM F3038, Standard Test Method for Time Evaluation of Forced Entry-Resistant Systems – This method, which is designed to simulate a spontaneous mob attack, requires a full system test with no substitutions. Based on a defined set of tools and a predetermined number of aggressors, this test uses established time levels of forced entry (5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and user-defined minutes).
  • ASTM F1915, Standard Test Methods for Glazing for Detention Facilities, – Impacts with forced egress, various types of weapons, and anthropomorphic assault.

Another interesting glass or fenestration test, ASTM F1642, requires shock tube or open arena testing. ASTM F1642 is designed to evaluate hazards of glazing against airblast loads, and such tests can be performed with or without a frame system. The rating and hazard level is contained in ASTM F2912.

In summary, blast glazing standard test methods include: 

  • ASTM F1642, Standard Test Method for Glazing and Glazing Systems subject to Airblast Loadings
  • ASTM F2248, Standard Practice for Specifying an Equivalent 3-Second Duration Design Loading for Blast Resistant Glazing Fabricated with Laminated Glass
  • ASTM F2912-17, Standard Specification for Glazing and Glazing Systems Subject to Airblast Loadings highlights additional standard test methods for safety and security glazing, as well as a webinar panel discussion that you find here.

Window Film Depot offers Forced Entry Glazing Solutions like DefenseLite™, as well as a retrofit ballistic panel system known as BulletShield™. For more information about these safety and security glazing solutions, contact us here or call (866) 933-3456.

retail theft prevention

Anti-Smash & Grab and Retail Theft Prevention: 3 Examples of Reinforced Storefronts

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retail theft preventionDuring times of pandemic and civil unrest, the prevalence of retail smash and grab events escalate at alarming rates. A vast majority of these crimes start at a storefront’s glass windows and doors where security is most vulnerable. Not only can these events result in stolen merchandise on display, but amid large riots and mass looting, the toll can be even more devastating. 

Fortunately, measures can be taken to better protect and reinforce glass windows and doors and effectively prevent unwarranted entry. At Window Film Depot, we’ve helped many different retailers install the protection needed to deter smash and grab attempts. Below are three examples of how our solutions have helped with retail theft prevention.

Mobile Communications Store

A popular mobile communications store based in Seattle, Washington required a way to prevent high-occurrence smash and grab events. Because solely safety and security film deemed inadequate based on sledgehammer attack methods of local perpetrators, the store needed a stronger solution that would work to keep assailants from breaching the storefront and stealing inventory. 

The requirement called for DefenseLite Pro Series, a custom made clear shield that was designed to fit the existing storefront window doors. Unlike most security window films that prevent glass shattering and delay entry, DefenseLite stopped intruders dead in their tracks by preventing breakage altogether. Not only did the custom-designed DefenseLite solution prevent forced entry attacks, but our professional installation maintained a clean storefront appearance.

See more information about the case study.

Outdoor Clothing Retailer

A vulnerably-located outdoor clothing retailer store based in Minneapolis, Minnesota needed an aesthetically pleasing anti-smash and grab solution that maintained the store’s open design while having as little impact on the storefront’s appearance as possible.

After determining the threat levels and budget for the necessary security upgrades, Window Film Depot recommended DefenseLite for an effective theft prevention solution. Because intruders were capable of using heavy blunt force objects and high-force projectiles to gain access, DefenseLite would level-up the outlet’s security to its new desired standards.

In just two days, Window Film Depot installed a custom, powder-coated DefenseLite trim package that ensured the new retrofit blended seamlessly into the storefront design. Not only was the finished product tastefully integrated, but it provided the necessary prevention against forced entry and retail theft.

See more information about the case study.

Retail Warehouse

A nationwide network of retail warehouse stores demanded a security solution for a number of reasons. Not only were smash and grab attacks on stores a retail theft problem, but they also presented a severe safety issue for store employees stocking shelves during the night shift. 

Security window film was initially tested and later approved to help mitigate unwarranted access into the stores after hours. Window Film Depot mobilized to all 905 stores and installed 3M 8 millimeter security film with Dow 995 anchoring caulk – all after hours in order to reduce any impact to store operations.

What’s the Best Retail Theft Prevention Solution?

When it comes to warding-off retail theft and vandalism, there are more solutions for retail theft prevention than window film. While anti-smash and grab film can prevent immediate shattering of glass doors and storefront windows, ultimately these window treatments will only buy you extra time if an intruder really wants to get in. For some retailers, window security film works just fine to accommodate their store’s location and potential threats. But for others that demand more effective solutions in preventing forced entry, products like DefenseLite are recommended.