Security Window Film: What is it?

These films are essentially polyester or PET films that are adhered to glass (such as doors) in order to hold the pieces together in the event that the glass is shattered. The main difference between these window films and plain old laminated glass is that these “shatter safe” films can be applied to your glass window or door AFTER they are installed in your house. Believe it or not, these security films are used all over the world. Some of the more common places of application are trains, trucks, cars, and of course, buildings.

The films are coated with a very sticky adhesive that helps to bond them to the glass. The more highly rated they provides more clarity to your window or door rather than it looking “foggy” from the film.

Are These Window Films Really Necessary?

Safety window films are made to withstand a huge variety of conditions ranging from weather disasters to intruders breaking into your house. Standard tests have been developed to help ensure that these films will perform how they are supposed to no matter what. They are just one more measure to help ensure your home safety. Before you decide to purchase your window film it is always smart to try and verify that the manufacturer you are buying from has the proper certifications.

What are Window Films Mostly Used for?

They are mostly used where there is a greater potential for injury from glass being broken. Window security films are often available in various thicknesses ranging from 100 micrometer (4 mils) to just over 500 micrometers (21 mils). The film thickness is determined by the level of protection desired and the size of the glass door or window you are applying to. Manufacturers recommend 100 micrometer film for glass up to 1/8 in thick and 175 micrometer film for glass over 1/4 of an inch.

What about home safety? These films are actually used for applications in many places. The main feature is that it will delay a forced entry into your house. Every second counts when it comes to your safety and contacting the proper authorities when a break-in has occurred. The performance is affected by the adhesive bond strength, the thickness of the polyester used, the quality of the application, and your window/door structure and frame.

3m window security film

Many retailer’s offer DIY security window film. The film can be found at hardware stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s. Better yet, it is online at Amazon, who has a few decent selections.

These films can also be applied in food processing factories where glass needs to be contained if it is accidentally broken. As a matter of fact, these window films are applied in many food and beverage facilities throughout the U.S.

They may also have certain components added for solar control and decorative designs.

Window films and personal home safety

As you know, when glass is broken it breaks into a million sharp shards that can be dangerous to anyone nearby. This is even more hazardous if the window is broken by human impact or forced entry. Tempered glass can also produce tiny glass pellets that can cause serious injury. The building codes of some countries actually require film to be applied in certain places. Certain films with the correct certifications can be used to upgrade existing glass to help meet the safety standards in the building codes.

Protection from earthquakes and the weather

In many parts of the world, earthquake’s and other serious weather storms can cause a lot of damage to your residence. This type of weather disaster can cause building movement which causes glass breakage endangering all the people below. This in turn exposes a building’s contents to theft during looting and riots. Safety and security window films have shown their benefit in protecting people and property during bad weather.

By helping to prevent your doors or windows from shattering these films also help maintain the “weather seal” of a home. This will help reduce damage from water and high winds if present. If the seal can be kept intact, it is more likely that a home can withstand a lot of damage.

Protection from forcible entries

Forcible home entries can cause widespread damage and the risk of injury is increased if your windows and doors in your residence are destroyed. Certain specially-designed films when applied correctly can contain these shards of glass. This obviously helps protect your home environment, and even retaining the glass in the window frame from being broken at all. People wanting these should choose a product from a trusted manufacturer that has positive results for General Services Administration (GSA) blast ratings. 3m security window film is among the most common.

window security film field test review

“Smash and grab” is the term used to describe the process of an intruder breaking through a window or glass door in your place or office and stealing your valuables such as electronics, cash, jewelry, and even valuable business or identity information.

Certain window films form a super strong bond with the glass which will hold the glass together even after many forceful impacts by a would be intruder. Even if the glass is broken, it remains stuck to the film and will usually still stay in place. As you can imagine this will deter a intruder if they were expecting an easy entry into your home.

As with any home safety system, security window films are not 100% impenetrable. They simply reduce the risk of break-ins and flying glass debris due to severe weather. When properly installed these will indeed deter a thief from trying to actually enter your property once they realize you have the film installed.

Window Security Film Basics and Reviews
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Kyle Wood
Kyle joins us at DIY Home Security Guide with multiple years of experience in the home alarm industry. He has been dealing with home safety products and equipment for as long as he can remember. He's installed, troubleshooted, and reviewed the best equipment and technology and is passionate about sharing his personal research.