When you think of bulletproof windows you might think of them as something reserved for protecting celebrities and high level government officials. However, many regular homeowners are interested in installing bullet resistant windows to provide their homes with a high level of security against everything from storm damage to forced entry.
Before we continue, it’s important to note that there is no such thing as glass that is truly bulletproof, but there are bullet resistant materials that can be used to fortify windows against ballistic attacks and other high-force impacts.
Depending on the exact composition of the bullet resistant window and its thickness, these materials are capable of stopping a certain number of bullets of specific calibers, fired from different firearms at different velocities.
Best Bullet Resistant Materials for Reinforcing Your Home’s Windows
When we talk about “bulletproof” home windows, what we are typically referring to is windows reinforced with glass-like panels composed of acrylic, polycarbonate, or a combination of the two. These materials can be used to build ballistic windows that satisfy various UL 752 requirements for bullet resistant materials.
Should You Use Bullet Resistant Acrylic, Polycarbonate, or Both?
Acrylic, more commonly known as plexiglass, is one of the most common materials used to create ballistic windows for homes. It weighs much less than glass and can obtain a UL 752 Level 2 rating at a thickness of about 1.25 inches.
Pros of Acrylic:
- Easy to cut and work with
- Crystal clear
- Highly resistant to UV rays, weathering, and marring
Cons of Acrylic:
- Must be very thick to achieve UL 752 ratings
Polycarbonate weighs even less than acrylic and is even more effective at diffusing impacts. The thermoplastic polymers are tough enough that a 1.25-inch polycarbonate sheet can receive a UL 752 Level 3 rating.
Pros of Polycarbonate:
- Easy to work with
- Very lightweight
- Can achieve UL 752 ratings at thicknesses under 1 inch
Cons of Polycarbonate:
- Requires ample frame clearances for expansion and contraction
- Prone to marring over time if not cleaned carefully
As you can see, both acrylic and polycarbonate have their pros and cons. Acrylic is a good choice for homes because it holds up very well to weathering and UV exposure, but in order for it to be bullet resistant it has to be much thicker than standard window glass.
On the other hand, polycarbonate can achieve bullet resistance at much lower thicknesses, but it’s appearance can degrade more easily than acrylic. This means that neither acrylic or polycarbonate on their own are the best choice for bullet-proofing home windows.
In fact, the best choice for making windows bullet resistant is to use a combination of the two materials in order to take advantage of both of their strengths and compensate for their respective weaknesses.
Spoiler alert: we have a solution for you.
ArmorPlast™: the Best Ballistic Grade Window Option on the Market
What Is ArmorPlast™?
ArmorPlast™ is our patented line of polycarbonate and acrylic sheets. We offer these sheets in a full range of options to meet different security needs; from 0.25-inch non-ballistic, containment grade acrylic panels (AP25™) to 1.25-inch ballistic grade polycarbonate and acrylic laminate sheets (AP125MS™) that satisfy the UL 752 Level 6 rating.
Our ballistic grade ArmorPlast™ products are composed of polycarbonate, acrylic, and other plastics layered together in sheets that resist spalling and white-out after repeated high force and ballistic impacts. The acrylic layer is further protected behind an outer layer of abrasion-resistant (AR) polycarbonate. The AR hard coat resists marring, yellowing, hazing, and is easy to clean.
Why Use ArmorPlast™ in Your Home?
If you’re here, you’re interested in improving your home’s security, specifically by reinforcing vulnerable window glass.
Well, ArmorPlast™ can satisfy and exceed all your residential glass security requirements. Regardless of whether you’re actually concerned about protecting your home against ballistic attacks, ballistic grade windows provide unsurpassable security against a full range of threats.
ArmorPlast™ panels are virtually unbreakable, so they can stop would-be intruders dead in their tracks, protect your home and belongings against storm damage, and even keep your windows intact during an earthquake.
All this protection comes without you having to compromise on appearance. ArmorPlast™ panels are crystal clear and won’t compromise your views or damage the curb appeal of your property.
Additionally, ArmorPlast™ can be retrofitted right on top of your existing glass, so it’s much more cost-effective than undergoing a complete window replacement project.
Top Reasons to Install Ballistic Grade Polycarbonate and Acrylic Panels:
- Provides the highest level of residential glass security
- Protects against storm damage, forced entry, and active shooters
- Virtually unbreakable, even after repeated high-force impacts
- Clear and resistant to yellowing, marring, and hazing
- Can be retrofitted into your existing windows
Are There Any Other Benefits of Bullet Resistant Windows?
We can apply additional coatings to all of our ballistic grade panels to change their appearance, add privacy, increase UV blocking, reduce glare, and more. For example, we can apply a reflective window film to create a two-way mirror effect for increased daytime privacy and block out the sun’s harmful UV rays that cause fading on your home’s furnishings.
How Do I Get Started?
If you’re interested in upgrading your home’s security with bullet resistant windows, the first step is to conduct a threat assessment. During this threat assessment, a security expert will thoroughly inspect your property, evaluate your current security measures, look for vulnerabilities, and make recommendations about upgrades, including ballistic glass materials and placements.
Though there is no way to create 100% bulletproof home windows, we hope that after reading this article you’ve gained a better understanding of the ways you can use certain materials like acrylic and polycarbonate to reinforce your home’s windows and improve its overall security.
Our team of fenestration security experts is always happy to discuss your security concerns, goals, and budget to help you come up with the best solution for your home, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions.
Contact Riot Glass™ today for more information about ArmorPlast™ or to schedule a threat assessment for you and your property.