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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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Security window film to a complete retrofit

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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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The Comprehensive Guide To Security Window Film

Written By: Brad CampbellJanuary 26, 2024

Security window film is a versatile and cost-effective security glazing solution that can be used to boost the safety and security of buildings. 

This transparent layer of film, when applied to windows and other commercial glass surfaces, offers protection against various security threats while providing additional benefits. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what security window film is, the threats it mitigates, and other advantages it brings. Additionally, we will compare security window film to Riot Glass®, another security enhancement option for increased threat protection.

What Is Security Window Film?

Security window film is a specialized type of poly-based film applied to glass surfaces, transforming ordinary commercial windows and glass doors into reinforced barriers

Composed of multiple, microscopically thin layers of polyester and adhesive, this film is designed to hold shattered glass together upon impact, preventing it from scattering and reducing the risk of injuries and property damage. The film is also optically clear, allowing natural light to pass through and maintaining full visibility.

Security window film comes in various thicknesses, and its installation is an affordable way to upgrade existing windows without the need for any renovations and without the higher costs associated with other security glazing solutions. 

Security film is commonly used in various commercial settings to bolster security measures and, most of all, improve human safety inside buildings with lots of glass doors and windows.

security window film1

What Threats Does Security Window Film Mitigate?

  1. Forced Entry
  2. Storm Debris Impacts
  3. Blast Damage
  4. Vandalism

1. Forced Entry

Security window film acts as a deterrent against forced entry attempts. When applied to windows, it makes it more difficult for intruders to break through, providing an additional layer of protection for businesses and facilities.

It’s important to note that security film does not prevent commercial windows and doors from breaking, but it does hold shattered glass in place, making it harder for a would-be intruder to pass their hand through and open a door from the inside or climb through a broken window.

In many cases, the mere presence of security window film on commercial windows and doors is enough to deter criminals, causing them to move on and look for an easier, less secure target.

2. Storm Debris Impacts

In the event of a strong windstorm, hurricane, or other natural disaster that sends debris flying into buildings, security window film helps prevent glass fragmentation. 

By holding shattered glass together, the window film reduces the risk of injuries caused by flying debris and broken glass, as well as mitigates the risk of further storm damage to the interiors of buildings.

3. Blast Damage

A nearby blast or explosion of any type can send shockwaves smashing into a facility’s windows and doors, causing them to break and sending sharp, jagged shards of glass flying dangerously inwards.

Security window film mitigates the risks of blast damage and broken glass-related injuries in such a scenario by holding the broken shards of glass in place.

4. Vandalism

Graffiti, scratches, and etching on glass surfaces can be costly to repair. Security window film acts as a sacrificial layer, protecting the underlying glass from vandalism. In case of an attack, only the film needs replacement, saving time and money on glass repairs.

Other Benefits of Security Window Film

  1. Energy Efficiency
  2. Privacy Enhancement
  3. Glare Reduction
  4. UV Protection
  5. Quick Installation

1. Energy Efficiency

Certain security window films are designed to improve energy efficiency by reducing heat transfer through windows. This can result in lower energy bills by minimizing the need for heating and cooling.

2. Privacy Enhancement

Tinted and reflective security window films provide an added layer of privacy, restricting the view from outside. This feature is particularly beneficial for spaces where confidentiality is essential. It also adds to security by making it harder for burglars and other would-be intruders to see what’s inside when casing a commercial building as a potential target.

3. Glare Reduction

Glare from sunlight can be a nuisance in many types of commercial buildings, particularly offices where many people are working on computers near windows. Some security films are engineered to reduce glare, creating a more comfortable working environment.

security window film2

4. UV Protection

Many security films offer protection from ultraviolet (UV) light, blocking harmful UV rays that can fade interior furnishings and pose health risks. This additional benefit enhances the overall comfort and safety of indoor spaces.

5. Quick Installation

Compared to other, more robust security measures, like security glass installation, security window film is incredibly quick and easy to install. Minimal disruption occurs during the application process, making it a convenient choice for retrofitting existing structures.

Security Window Film vs. Riot Glass

While security window film does slightly reinforce commercial glass surfaces and act as a forced entry deterrent, it’s important to remember that its primary purpose is to increase human safety, and it cannot provide full access denial.

If the primary goal is to deny unauthorized entry and protect a commercial property against forced entry, burglary, smash-and-grab theft, rioting and looting, and active threats, a better solution is Riot Glass.

Riot Glass is a comprehensive system involving the installation of advanced forced entry- and/or bullet-resistant security glazing and framing. 

The choice between security window film and Riot Glass depends on the specific security needs and preferences of the property owner, factoring in things like budget, level of protection required, aesthetics, and customization options.

Cost and Installation of Security Window Film vs Riot Glass

Security window film is cheaper than Riot Glass, both in terms of materials and installation. The installation process is quicker, as the film is simply applied directly on top of any existing glass surfaces.

However, that’s not to say that Riot Glass installation is drastically more complex or costly — Riot Glass can also be installed on top of existing glass surfaces using retrofittable framing adapters, making it a more cost-effective solution than other types of security glazing.

When factoring in the higher level of protection that Riot Glass offers, it can provide a bigger return on investment over time than security window film does.

Riot Glass Offers a Higher Level of Protection

Riot Glass provides a much higher level of protection compared to security window film. It is designed to withstand more significant impacts, making it suitable for high-security environments or areas with an increased risk of violent attacks.

All Riot Glass is forced entry resistant and can completely deny unauthorized entry attempts, with some types of Riot Glass being ballistic grade, meaning they can stop bullets from specific types of firearms.

Aesthetic Considerations

Security window film maintains the appearance of existing windows, as it is applied directly to the glass surface. Tinted, colored, or mirrored security window film can also be used to change the appearance of a building, if desired.

Riot Glass involves the installation of a framed system, which may alter the aesthetic of the windows to a certain extent. That being said, the framing is sleek and minimalistic and is available in a variety of styles and finishes, making it easy to customize and match to a building’s architectural style.

security window film3

Customization Options

Security window film is available in various thicknesses to suit different security needs. Riot Glass offers customization options as well, allowing property owners to choose the level of protection that aligns with their specific requirements.

Final Words

For those seeking to reinforce commercial doors and windows with a minimal budget, security window film remains a valuable and accessible option for fortifying their windows against various threats and improving the safety of building occupants.

The versatility of security window film, along with the added benefits it can provide, makes it a suitable choice for a wide range of commercial applications. 

If virtually unbreakable security is what’s needed, Riot Glass is another very cost-effective solution for enhancing commercial window and door security. 

The choice between Riot Glass and security window film depends on factors such as budget, the level of protection required, and aesthetic preferences.
Riot Glass, LLC offers both security laminate window films and a full range of forced entry-resistant and ballistic-grade security glazing options. 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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