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Ballistic Glazing - UL 752 Level 2

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Ballistic Glazing - UL 752 Level 6

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AR Polycarbonate Sheets

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Containment and Safety Glazing

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Ballistic Glazing - HPW Level A

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Ballistic Glazing - UL 752 Level 1

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ArmorPlast® Gen I Series

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ArmorPlast® Gen II Series

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ArmorPlast® IGU Series

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J Series

Ballistic & Forced Entry Grade Sub-framing

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Ballistic Glazing UL 752 Level 2

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Ballistic Glazing - UL 752 Level 3

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Ballistic Glazing - UL 752 Level 4

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Ballistic Glazing - UL 752 Level 5

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Ballistic Glazing - UL 752 Level 7

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Our Solutions

Riot Glass® retrofit systems consist of custom-made security glass and framing designs that provide maximum protection against forced entry and ballistic threats.

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Forced Entry

Virtually unbreakable retrofit solutions

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Bulletproof Protection

Ideal protection against active threats

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Hurricane & Windstorm

Great protection against storm damage

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Energy Efficiency

Sustainable, reliable and affordable Low-E solutions

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Blast Mitigation

Security window film to a complete retrofit

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Sound Attenuation

Window glazing ideal for blocking external noise

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Our Clientele

Riot Glass® can be used to secure any building. Virtually invisible yet nearly indestructible, it blends seamlessly in almost any existing window, door, or

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Riot Glass® vs Polycarbonate Windows: What You Need To Know

Written By: Brad CampbellJuly 12, 2023

When it comes to protecting commercial buildings and ensuring the safety of their occupants, the choice of windows plays a critical role. 

Riot Glass® and polycarbonate windows are two popular solutions for protecting commercial windows and doors against impacts and mitigating security threats. 

But, although both these solutions offer enhanced security and impact resistance, they differ in terms of specific composition, functionality, and potential use cases. 

By understanding the differences between these two options, architects, building owners, business proprietors, and security professionals can make informed decisions when it comes to fortifying their properties against potential threats.

What Are Polycarbonate Windows?

Polycarbonate windows are transparent or translucent window systems manufactured from polycarbonate, a thermoplastic polymer known for its outstanding strength and impact resistance. 

Windows made from polycarbonate look and feel quite similar to standard glass windows, but they are 100% polycarbonate, containing no glass at all.

bullet resistant glass door

Polycarbonate is favored for windows in areas where security, safety, or accidental damage are a concern, as it is highly resistant to chipping, cracking, and breakage.

However, despite how hard it is to break standard polycarbonate windows, they are not indestructible. 

For instance, when left without a protective surface coating, polycarbonate is very prone to scratching and scuffing, and therefore may need to be replaced more frequently than regular windows.

Benefits of Polycarbonate Windows:

  • Impact Resistance: Polycarbonate windows possess up to 250 times the impact resistance of glass, making them highly resistant to breakage and shattering.
  • Lightweight: Polycarbonate windows are significantly lighter than traditional glass windows.
  • Transparency and Optical Clarity: Polycarbonate windows offer excellent optical clarity, allowing ample natural light transmission into interior spaces.
  • Energy Efficiency: Polycarbonate windows inherently have insulation properties, helping to reduce heat transfer and improve energy efficiency.
  • UV Protection: Polycarbonate windows can provide excellent UV protection and can block out a significant portion of the harmful UV rays that can cause fading of furniture, carpets, and artworks.

Polycarbonate Window Applications:

The versatility of polycarbonate windows allows them to be utilized in various architectural and construction applications, especially for commercial buildings.

For example, their high level of impact resistance makes polycarbonate windows an ideal choice for properties in areas prone to extreme weather conditions and potentially impacts from flying storm debris, such as in coastal regions and the southeastern states.

The lightweight nature of polycarbonate makes these windows easier to handle during installation and reduces the load on the overall structure, which also enables the creation of larger window panels without compromising structural integrity.

The ultraviolet light-blocking capabilities of polycarbonate make it an ideal choice for shielding areas in commercial properties, such as glass office buildings, where there is intense sun exposure throughout the day.

commercial building

And, since polycarbonate provides comparable transparency to glass, it maintains a clear view of the surroundings while still allowing plenty of light transmission. 

Installing polycarbonate glazing panels over existing glass windows essentially adds a pane of glass, which can help prevent heat loss during colder months and minimize solar heat gain in warmer climates. 

These insulating properties aid in maintaining a comfortable indoor environment and reducing reliance on artificial heating and cooling systems, leading to potentially significant energy savings for commercial properties.

Here are some specific examples of where polycarbonate glazing is used in the real world:

  • Commercial Buildings: Polycarbonate windows are extensively used in various large-scale commercial structures, such as offices, shopping malls, hospitals, and hotels.
  • Industrial Applications: The impact resistance and toughness of polycarbonate windows make them suitable for various industrial settings, including factories, warehouses, and agricultural facilities.
  • Retail Businesses: Polycarbonate windows are commonly used in security applications for high-risk retail businesses, such as banks, jewelry stores, and luxury retail establishments, as their resistance to forced entry makes them an effective deterrent against break-ins.

What Is Riot Glass®?

Riot Glass is the ultimate line of fenestration security glazing products. 

Although Riot Glass looks similar to other types of safety and security glazing, including standard polycarbonate glazing, it uses specific formulations of polycarbonates, acrylics, and other plastics to achieve an unmatched level of impact resistance and durability.

While generic polycarbonate window glazing can provide many benefits, it’s not designed specifically for high-security applications, like forced entry prevention and active threat protection.

Riot Glass IS designed 100% to harden the security of buildings, and it’s built to outlast and outperform comparable products on the market.

Different Types of Riot Glass Available

Riot Glass offers a range of different security glazing solutions, including containment-grade (non-ballistic) polycarbonate security glazing, ballistic-grade (bullet-resistant) glass-clad polycarbonate (GCP), and other types of laminated security glass and polycarbonate glazing.

Many Riot Glass security glazing solutions are designed to be retrofitted over existing glass surfaces using retrofittable security framing adapters that fit into or onto the existing window or door framing system. This makes Riot Glass a very cost-effective choice for upgrading the physical security of buildings.

commercial security

In addition to various security framing options, Riot Glass glazing is treated with a scratch-resistant surface coating, preventing marring and ensuring a long service life in high-stress security applications.

Examples of security threats that Riot Glass is engineered to withstand and mitigate include:

  • Forced Entry and Burglary: Riot Glass is ideal for storefront window and door protection, as it easily resists forced entry attempts using hammers, crowbars, and other common burglary tools.
  • Smash-and-Grab Theft: Riot Glass can also be used to build virtually unbreakable display cases that, when combined with storefront security glazing, prevent smash-and-grabs.
  • Rioting and Looting: Riot Glass acts as an effective alternative to plywood board ups to protect businesses against rioting and looting during incidences of civil unrest.
  • Storm Damage: Some Riot Glass products are tested and certified to Miami-Dade hurricane missile impact testing standards, and can be used instead of board ups, storm panels, and hurricane shutters as storm damage mitigation barriers.
  • Blast Damage/Injury: Riot Glass reduced the risks of property damage and glass-related injuries to people inside properties due to nearby explosions.
  • Active Threats: Riot Glass creates effective access denial barriers to keep violent attackers out of facilities where they can do more harm.

The Takeaway

Polycarbonate is a wonderful glazing material that can provide a lot of benefits, not least of which in the area of improving safety and security.

However, not all polycarbonate window glazing is designed specifically with security in mind, and it’s not manufactured to last in demanding high-security applications — Riot Glass is.

Riot Glass provides all the benefits of standard polycarbonate glazing, with even more added security benefits for commercial properties.

Contact us today for a free consultation!

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Looking for residential protection? At Riot Glass, we specialize in protecting your property with our patented bullet-resistant system, designed specifically for aluminium framed windows. Not sure if Riot Glass is right for your home? Explore our FAQs.
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