Written By: Brad Campbell | August 11, 2023
When it comes to reinforcing windows to improve safety and security, choosing the right type of glazing is of the utmost importance.
With so many different types of glass and glass-like glazing out there, it can be a little overwhelming for people outside of the industry to choose exactly the right type of glazing for their desired application.
One of the biggest misconceptions people unfamiliar with the different types of safety and security glazing products on the market often have is that safety glass can be used to improve security and prevent things like forced entry and burglary.
If you’re among the people who think this, let us stop you right there — safety glass is ONLY intended to improve human safety wherever glass hazards are a risk.
For security applications, what you really want is Riot Glass, and below we’ll explain exactly why.
There are a few different types of safety glass, but by far the most common is tempered safety glass.
Tempered safety glass, or just tempered glass, goes through a special heating and cooling process called tempering that changes some of the key characteristics of the glass, mainly those having to do with how it breaks.
Tempering glass puts the inside of the glass into tension, while the outside surfaces go into compression.
This does make tempered glass windows about four or five times stronger than standard annealed glass, but tempered safety glass is not a type of impact-resistant glass.
In reality, the main purpose of putting the outside of the glass into compression and putting the inside into tension is that it fundamentally changes how the glass breaks upon impact.
When a window or other glass surface made of tempered safety glass breaks, it crumbles apart into countless granular pieces, which are relatively harmless and extremely unlikely to cause any type of serious injury to humans who come into contact with them.
For comparison, standard glass windows shatter unpredictably into large, sharp, jagged shards when they break. These shards can fly inwards at high speeds after an impact, potentially causing critical injuries to anyone nearby.
This is why tempered glass is one of the preferred types of glazing used in commercial architecture where people are constantly in close proximity to glass doors and windows that could potentially break because of some type of impact.
As we touched on earlier, many building and business owners make the mistake of thinking that, because it is stronger than standard glass, they can use tempered glass to boost their properties’ security.
However, tempered glass storefront windows and doors do little to nothing to stop an intruder from forcing entry, and they don’t stand up to other types of impacts, like those from flying storm debris.
In fact, if we’re talking about forced entry and burglary, criminals are happy when met by tempered glass doors and windows because they’re less likely to get injured by broken glass during their break-ins.
So, if your goal is to do more than just mitigate risks of glass hazards, and you want to protect your business or facility against a full range of security threats, it’s important to reinforce vulnerable glass doors and windows with impact-resistant security glazing, such as Riot Glass.
Riot Glass is retrofittable security glazing that uses specific formulations of polycarbonates, acrylics, and other plastics to provide virtually unbreakable protection for your windows and doors.
There are different types of Riot Glass glazing available, from containment-grade (forced entry-resistant) to ballistic-grade (bullet-resistant) varieties, making Riot Glass the ideal solution for any level of security requirements.
Using retrofittable security framing adapters, Riot Glass can fit into or onto most existing window framing systems, creating a protective access denial barrier in front of the existing glass. This makes it an extremely cost-effective solution. Riot Glass can also be used to replace existing glazing when conditions require it.
Since Riot Glass doesn’t break or crumble apart due to impacts, it enhances human safety even more than tempered safety glass, plus you get protection against all of the security threats listed above.
For example, forced entry attempts using sledgehammers, bats, crowbars, and other common burglary tools will bounce right off Riot Glass, encouraging would-be intruders to move on and look for an easier target.
This makes Riot Glass the perfect solution for preventing burglary and smash-and-grab theft in retail stores and other commercial applications, especially since it doesn’t detract from curb appeal or window functionality like traditional burglary prevention solutions do.
For active threat protection, Riot Glass helps ensure that violent attackers looking to force entry through a window or door can’t easily gain access to the building by shooting or smashing out a pane of glass. In fact, even non-ballistic Riot Glass won’t significantly diminish in strength or give way to an attacker if it gets penetrated by bullets.
The access denial provided by Riot Glass buys valuable time for people inside to react and get to safety, as well as gives the authorities time to arrive and neutralize the active threat.
For businesses in hurricane zones, Riot Glass can even act as an alternative to boarding up windows and other traditional storm damage mitigation barriers, like hurricane shutters and storm panels.
Many of our impact-resistant security glazing products have been tested and certified to Miami-Dade hurricane missile impact testing standards, meaning they can be used in the country’s most strict hurricane zone.
No matter what your safety and security glazing needs are, there’s a Riot Glass solution that will provide the protection you’re looking for, while outperforming and outlasting other similar glazing products you may come across.
Contact us today for a free consultation — we’ll help you choose the perfect retrofit security glazing solution for your goals and budget!