Written By: Brittney Phillips | January 23, 2023
When you’re looking for ways to protect doors and windows against impacts, one option that’s available to you is using security window film to protect glass.
Security window film is a great product that provides many benefits, but it’s important to understand its limitations, too.
Security window film consists of hundreds of microscopically thin layers of polyester-based plastic, resulting in an abrasion and tear-resistant surface.
This window film is applied directly on top of your existing window and door glass, creating a protective layer over top of the glass that reinforces it and helps hold the glass in place if it breaks.
It’s important to note that security window film is not intended to prevent the glass behind from breaking, but it does add some impact resistance and helps mitigate the risks of glass hazards in the event of breakage.
For instance, if a window protected by security film is hit by a flying piece of debris and the glass shatters, there’s much less risk of sharp, jagged shards of glass flying dangerously inwards and injuring someone. It also won’t leave a big hole that exposes the property to further risks.
Security window film is recommended when you have a limited budget and other, more durable security glazing products are out of reach.
This type of window film can provide a base level of glass protection for many different types of commercial properties, including:
Security window film can be applied to standard annealed window glass to make it more durable and safer. It can also be applied to certain types of security glazing to add more abrasion resistance and help prevent spalling.
Another benefit of security window film is that it comes with pre-integrated UV resistance, which blocks approximately 99.9% of the sun’s harmful UV rays that cause furnishings to fade and that can cause skin damage.
Window film is also available in many finishes, including crystal-clear and various reflective, colored, and tinted varieties, which can be used to add privacy and change the appearance of your property, if desired.
As we mentioned above, security window film does not prevent glass from breaking. It is not strong enough to resist attacks from heavy hand tools, and therefore it does not prevent vandalism, forced entry, burglary, smash-and-grab theft, or rioting and looting.
That being said, having security window film is better than not having any commercial glass protection at all. It can help hold your glass in place long enough to delay and deter forced entry, causing the bad guys to give up or giving the police time to arrive and catch them in the act.
Additionally, there’s no type of security window film that’s strong enough to stop bullets, and it does not deny access to a violent attacker in the unfortunate event of an active threat scenario.
But, again, security film can help delay entry, giving those inside time to react by running, hiding, and calling 911.
By now you should have a better understanding of whether or not security film can provide the level of safety and security you’re looking for.
If it turns out that you want something more robust to provide full access denial and prevent forced entry, another very cost-effective solution is a polycarbonate security glazing retrofit.
Polycarbonate security glazing is thin and light enough that it can be installed right into or onto most existing framing systems. So, like window film, you don’t need to replace the existing glass to install polycarbonate glazing shields.
However, polycarbonate is virtually unbreakable and polycarbonate glazing shields can withstand even the most determined, prolonged attacks using common burglary tools, such as hammers, pry bars, and bats.
For active threat protection, polycarbonate security glazing is available in ballistic-grade varieties, with different UL 752 ballistic resistance ratings.
Depending on the thickness of the polycarbonate and the UL 752 rating it has, the glazing can stop one or more bullets from many types of common firearms, from 9mm handguns up to AK-47 assault rifles using military-style rounds.
But, even containment-grade (non-ballistic) polycarbonate doesn’t significantly diminish in strength or give way if it gets riddled with bullets. So, you can achieve a very high level of forced entry and active threat protection with just a 1/4” sheet of polycarbonate security glazing.
This type of security glazing is the best choice when you want to protect against any or all of the following threats:
Polycarbonate glazing panels are the perfect alternative to traditional board ups, and can even be used as hurricane and storm damage mitigation barriers, instead of traditional hurricane shutters and storm panels.
The best part is that, unlike these traditional solutions, polycarbonate just requires a one-time installation to protect your property 24/7 against all the threats mentioned above.
And, it does all this without blocking out natural light, reducing visibility, or hurting the curb appeal of your property. This is especially ideal for certain types of businesses, like retail stores, for which looking open and inviting to customers is of the utmost importance.
Yes! We offer our RG Series, 12mm-thick clear security film as a very budget-friendly option, and we recommend our ArmorPlast® AP25, containment-grade polycarbonate glazing shields when you want maximum protection that’s still very cost-effective.
We can also apply our RG Series 6mm anti-graffiti window film to any ArmorPlast® security glazing for added surface protection.
Don’t wait any longer to protect your vulnerable windows and doors. Contact Riot Glass, LLC today for a free consultation! We’ll help you pick the best solution for your goals and budget.