Written By: Brad Campbell | July 11, 2023
One of the most underestimated aspects of securing commercial buildings against forced entry is the type of glass used in the building.
Most facilities are equipped with at least some components of a traditional commercial security system, like alarms and surveillance cameras, but these don’t do anything to physically prevent bad guys from breaking in — that’s where security glazing comes in.
But, what many people don’t understand is that there is a big difference between safety glass, specifically the tempered safety glass windows that are commonly used for commercial applications, and true security glazing, such as Riot Glass®.
Safety glass is a broad term that can be used to refer to a variety of different types of glass designed to improve human safety. However, when referring to commercial glass doors and windows, tempered safety glass is what we’re usually talking about.
Tempered safety glass windows and doors are made from sheets of annealed glass that undergo a special heat treating process (called tempering), which puts the glass into a compressed state.
This not only strengthens the glass, making it about four times stronger than the original annealed glass, it also changes the way it breaks.
When a tempered glass door or window breaks, it doesn’t shatter apart unpredictably into sharp, jagged shards that can easily cause serious injury. Instead, tempered glass crumbles apart into thousands of small, granular pieces of glass, which are relatively harmless and don’t fly inwards.
By code, all glass storefronts, glass entryway doors, and other architectural glass surfaces in high-traffic areas of commercial properties have to be made of tempered glass. This is because these glass surfaces are more prone to accidental breakage, and thus pose a greater risk of glass-related injuries. Tempered glass mitigates such glass hazard risks.
It’s a common misconception that tempered glass improves security, and it’s one we want to put to rest.
Although safety glass is technically stronger than standard annealed glass, it’s just as easy for intruders to break through — not to mention they’re less likely to get hurt while doing it.
It’s incredibly easy for criminals to make an entire safety glass window or door crumble to the ground with just a few blows from a hammer, a bat, a pry bar, or another common burglary tool. Then, they can reach in and open a door from the inside or simply step right in and proceed to help themselves to anything they want.
So, in short, tempered glass IS NOT a type of security glazing, and it should never be relied upon to prevent forced entry, burglary, smash-and-grab theft, or rioting and looting.
Safety Glass Takeaways:
When it comes to protecting commercial properties against forced entry, commercial property owners need a reliable solution that goes beyond traditional safety glass.
Riot Glass® is a revolutionary retrofit security glazing system that can be installed on top of existing annealed or tempered glass, protecting it from impacts of all types.
The unique compositions of Riot Glass® products, which use specific formulations of polycarbonates, acrylics, and other plastics, make it outperform and outlast comparable security glazing products on the market.
Fortifies the Existing Glass:
Riot Glass® is designed to enhance the security of existing glass surfaces, whether they are annealed or tempered.
By retrofitting Riot Glass® over these surfaces, commercial property owners can significantly upgrade their security without the need for expensive glass replacement.
This cost-effective solution saves both time and resources, while providing superior protection against forced entry attempts and other security threats.
Resists Various Types of Impacts:
Riot Glass® is engineered to withstand a wide range of impacts, whether they are forced entry attempts using heavy hand tools, impacts from flying storm debris, blast waves from nearby explosions, or even ballistic impacts (bullet-resistant Riot Glass®).
Even if non-ballistic Riot Glass® is penetrated by bullets, it doesn’t significantly diminish in strength or allow passage.
Mitigates Smash-and-Grab Theft:
Smash-and-grab thefts are a major concern for certain types of businesses, especially jewelry stores and other high-end retailers.
These types of businesses often rely on showing off expensive merchandise in storefront windows and display cases to attract customers and make sales, but this also exposes the goods to smash-and-grab theft.
Riot Glass® mitigates the risk of this type of theft by repelling attacks using hammers and other smash-and-grab tools, forcing the criminals to give up or delaying them enough for law enforcement or security personnel to respond.
Protects Against Rioting and Looting:
In the unfortunate event of civil unrest, Riot Glass® plays a crucial role in protecting commercial properties from vandalism, looting, and property damage. Its robust composition effectively resists attacks using rocks and other projectiles, as well as other objects commonly used during riots.
Reinforcing windows and doors with Riot Glass® is an effective alternative to boarding up doors and windows during civil unrest, giving commercial property owners peace of mind in knowing that their properties are protected 24/7.
Safety glass plays an important role in commercial properties. It improves human safety and reduces the likelihood of glass-related injuries to people near a building’s windows and doors.
But that’s not all that commercial property owners need to worry about. From forced entry and burglary to rioting and looting, there are many different security threats that these properties face day to day, and tempered glass simply isn’t strong enough to mitigate these threats.
By retrofitting tempered or annealed glass storefront doors and windows with Riot Glass®, property owners can create access denial barriers that actually keep criminals out, while providing even better safety to employees, customers, and other building occupants.
Don’t wait to fortify your commercial doors and windows, without making them look fortified — contact us today for a free consultation!
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?