Dear Glass Detective,
Will laminated glass composed of 2 panes (lites) of 4mm with a .76 mm sheet in between do anything to keep out burglars? If not, what is the minimum requirement that I need?
Thanks in advance for your help.
Thank you for contacting the Glass Detective. There are many options when it comes to making a home’s windows and doors burglar-resistant. Keep in mind that if someone wants entry bad enough, even the toughest windows or doors can be penetrated. However, we’ll offer up some easy suggestions for helping to keep out or slow down the average neighborhood thief.
Impact resistant windows and doors use laminated glass. Laminated glass is similar to what your car’s windshield is made of. These units use two sheets of glass bonded together by a polyvinyl interlayer. The glass and interlayer typically is thicker than on traditional laminated glass windows, which provides extra strength. This type of glass is typically used in areas prone to severe weather like hurricanes and tornadoes. It is designed to resist impact from flying debris. However, it can do a decent job of resisting impact from burglars just like it can from Mother Nature.
Security glass is basically a beefed up version of impact resistant glass. If two layers of glass and one layer of polyvinyl are enough to resist impact from hurricane-force storms, imagine, what could 3 or 4 layers of glass and extra layers of polyvinyl in between do? Stacked sandwiches of glass and polyvinyl create security glass which is more commonly known as bullet-proof glass. Keep in mind that “bullet-proof” glass is a misnomer. There is no such thing. It is really just bullet-resistant. Given enough round of ammunition or a large enough caliber, glass will succumb to firepower. However, security glass is strong enough to keep out most burglars.
Polycarbonate can be used in place of glass in most cases. The advantage is that polycarbonate is typically better at absorbing impact because it is a type of plastic. This material usually is used as a shield around ice rinks which take brutal impact from hockey pucks and body-checked players. It is also used by many prisons. In addition to being supremely impact resistant, it is much less likely to break into sharp shards (if it breaks at all), unlike glass.
The downside is that polycarbonate usually cannot replicate the optical clarity of glass. So, for most homeowners, this is not a viable replacement option if you enjoy the view through their windows. Polycarbonate can also mar more easily than glass, so you will want to be careful not to accidentally bump the window with anything.
Security window film is an option for those who already have modern, energy efficient windows. This is similar the window tint that is applied to the glass of a vehicle. There are major differences, however. First, security film is much thicker than solar control film. Also, whereas tint is applied only to the surface of the glass, security film is actually anchored to the window’s framing. The anchoring process increases the windows structural strength because it joins the glass with the framing. This helps prevent the glass from breaking out in the event of an impact. The idea is that although the glass itself may break, the film will hold it together and it will still provide structural security benefits.
Security doors usually metal frame doors that are mounted in front of an outside entrance door as another layer of protection. They look similar to a screen door but generally have metal rods running horizontally and vertically. The function of these doors is to keep intruders from ramming or lock-picking the main door.
Also be sure to consider the locks on the windows and doors. Burglars are likely to try entering through an unlocked opening before breaking down windows or doors. Most windows come with locks, but check yours to ensure there are existing locks. If there are, test them to make sure they work. If there are not currently any locks, there are a few different options which will depend on the type of window.
Door locks are a bit more complicated. Nearly all door handles lock on entrance doors. But these aren’t the only locks to consider. Deadbolts can significantly increase break-in resistance. Locking cylinders and chains like you would see in hotel rooms are options for added layers of protection.
If you’re not looking to upgrade your home’s doors or windows just yet, there are a few simple things you can do to deter burglars in the meantime.
On the other hand, if you are ready to replace your old doors and windows with something a bit more secure, we have affiliates that can help! Simply use the glass finder tool at the top of this page to find pros in your zip code.
The Glass Detective attempts to answer all questions accurately but cannot be held liable for any information provided or omitted. You should always work with a licensed, insured and reputable glass shop that can assess your specific needs and local building codes and offer professional services. Never attempt to cut, install, or otherwise work with glass yourself. The Glass Detective answers questions on an informational basis only.
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