Whether you live in hurricane alley, want to protect your business, or just want to keep your family safe… choosing a window that is hard to break and also practical can be a problem. There is no such thing as an unbreakable window. Even with the strongest glass there is a point at which it will shatter. So what are some of your options for windows that can take a beating?
Tempered glass is probably the most common choice people make when they want a piece of glass that can take some hits. Tempered glass is slightly more expensive than normal glass because it goes through a controlled treatment. This treatment is done with either heat or chemicals. Tempered, when it’s broken, falls into small pieces which prevent large dangerous shards. Most passenger vehicles use tempered glass. One of the pitfalls of tempered glass is that if the glass is cut it will shatter.
Because we are constantly making advances in technology, it’s only natural that the advancement would make it to windows too. Polycarbonates were first discovered in 1898 by Alfred Einhorn, but it wasn’t until the 1970’s that the process was refined enough to make it translucent. Polycarbonate windows are expensive, but are 200 times more resistant than normal safety glass. A major problem of polycarbonate windows is they are extremely susceptible to scratching.
High impact or hurricane windows are obviously very popular in Florida and the Gulf Coast. High-impact windows, which typically are made up of two panes of tempered glass separated by a plastic film, look like standard windows, so they don’t affect a home’s appearance. They are extremely tough, but are also very expensive. There are testing standards set forth by the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) that must be met before the window is certified as being impact-resistant. One of the most stringent of the requirements comes from the South Florida Building Code. The windows are marked and graded according to the South Florida Building Code to ensure that you are getting exactly what you’re paying for. You can rest assured when buying impact-resistant windows that the product will perform as advertised when installed according to manufacturer’s specifications.
Security film can range from a 2mil thick film designed to protect against theft and snatch and grab occurrences, to a 15mil thick film, which was created to provide maximum protection against the most serious disasters. The films are adhesive coated to bond them to the glass. The better safety films are smooth-coated, because they have far superior optical clarity. Safety and security film creates a layer of protection that strengthens your glass. In the event of breakage, safety film is designed to create a safe-shatter that bonds glass shards together, much like a car windshield.
If you’re interested in installing new, different types of glass to protect your property… never hesitate to ask a lot of questions. Finding the right fit for your needs without going over budget is easy, just ask your local professional!