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Security Film Offers Options For Windows

September 28, 2012 - Security

Today's tip is to consider security film for windows. Window security film is very different from solar film. Though some security film will block solar radiation, its primary purpose is to prevent shards of flying glass from injuring occupants if the window breaks. 

At 4 to 14 mil, security film is significantly thicker than solar control film, which is generally 1.5 to 2 mil thick. While solar control film is applied only to the part of the window that is visible, security film is installed into the window system itself by a process known as anchoring.

Two types of anchoring are available, known as wet-glazed and mechanical installations. A wet-glazed installation involves removing the rubber around the window from the gasket and replacing it with a structural silicon sealant that fills the space between the window and the frame. A mechanical attachment involves overlapping the film around the edges of the window and securing the film with bolts to an internal frame. Both methods are meant to ensure that the film will hold glass fragments together and to prevent the entire window unit from becoming dislodged and sent into a building’s interior.

Shattered glass can be a risk to buildings that may not be a target for a bomb blast, but are in the vicinity of a building that is. If a threat assessment shows high-profile targets nearby, applying security film to the windows might make sense to protect against residual blast effects.

The value of security film has been recognized by the federal government, especially after 9/11, says Daniel Leclair, a security consultant with SAKO Associates. "All government buildings have some type of window film or protective glazing on the windows," Leclair says. "The majority of federal buildings have wet-glazed film application as a requirement.”

Security film is also a recognized benefit in hurricane-prone areas like Florida. The Protecting People First Foundation studied the performance of window film during recent hurricanes. Among the findings: In one high-rise condominium, some windows were protected by 8 and 12 mil security film; others had no film. None of the windows that had film were damaged, while some unprotected windows did sustain damage.

Most manufacturers' warranties are for five to 10 years. Check not only the length of the warranty, but also whether it covers removal of any failed product and reinstallation.


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