Security Window Film or Bulletproof Glass, which should you choose?
When beginning any project, it’s important to choose the right tool for the job. Just like you shouldn’t use a screwdriver to hammer a nail – it doesn’t do a good job and damages the screwdriver – you want to choose the right security solution for your threat.
Security window film is a popular tool used by businesses, home and stores to protect themselves from intruders, break-ins and glass hazards. Bullet proof glass is another common glass protection measure, especially for high risk businesses like convenience stores, service stations and cash stores.
Bullet Resistant Glass (BRG) will directly protect you from gunfire. Security window film will not. Security window film is not bulletproof.
Each of these glass protection solutions have their strengths and weaknesses. Each, being a tool to achieve an objective, has its proper place. Security window film is far less expensive than BRG and used far more often. It’s critical to understand what it can do and how to use it.
When to use Security Window Film
Security window film is designed to hold glass together under impact. That impact can come from an explosion, a hammer or by something propelled by high winds. This makes security film well suited for protection against forced entry and glass hazards caused by windstorms, weather and explosions.
To keep out Active Shooters
Security window film is not bulletproof. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place in containing and preventing active shooter events. Security film can keep them out of a building, school or office for minutes, giving people time to get out of harm’s way, lockdown and react. It keeps them out even when shot full of holes.
Smash and grab burglaries
Windows and glass doors protected by security film is much harder to get through. You can shatter the glass, but the film will hold it in place, slowing down intruders for up to three minutes. (typical delay times are in the 1 – 2 minutes range). This buys precious time for people to react and respond.
Live in an area prone to hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes? How about an area with a lot of industry around? High crime area prone to vandalism and break-ins? Security window film can mitigate against the dangers of broken glass caused by all of these. Holding shattered glass together minimizes or eliminates flying shards of glass that can cut or kill. Glass held in place also prevents water intrusion during heavy weather, a major cause of internal building damage and business downtime.
Protection against sun damage
All window films eliminate up to 99.9% of ultraviolet light. This is the major cause of sun damage and fading.
When to Use Bulletproof Glass
Bulletproof glass (or more accurately “Bullet Resistant Glass) is perfect for those applications where coming under gunfire is a real possibility. If you’re on the front line of your business or school, you know the person with a high likelihood of getting shot at, you want to consider bullet resistant protection.
Bullet resistant glass comes in a range of thicknesses. In general, the thicker the glass the larger and more powerful the bullet it will stop. Bullet resistant ratings are contained in the UL 752 chart published by Underwriter’s Laboratories.
Choose the level of bullet resistance best suited to the anticipated threat and to your budget.
How much does Bulletproof Glass Cost?
Bullet resistant glass costs more than security window film. The higher the level of protection, the more of an investment you’ll need to make.
Typical cost for BRG, glass only, ranges between $45 – $85 per square foot for levels 1 thru 3. This doesn’t include the cost for ballistic framing, installation or any add-on’s like speakers or cash drawers. This is a lot more of an investment than the $12 – $18 per square foot you’ll pay for security window film.
But the two products serve different protection needs. Here at Metro Tint we typically recommend BRG for areas with a high probability of coming under gunfire and security window film, with attachment, for the less vulnerable areas.
Each situation is unique. If you are looking for ways to protect your property and people with a glazing security solution give us a call at 800-297-3862 or contact us.