Dear Glass Detective,
If security is my main goal, how does a security film (such as 3M brand) compare to tempered or laminated glass? After a recent burglary, we want to secure our child’s bedroom window which faces the porch.
Thank you for making contact with the Glass Detective with your concerns over how to choose the right glass product for a child’s bedroom window that faces the porch at your home. You also stated in your request that you had recently been the victim of burglary so I’m sure your concerns are even more heightened than they might otherwise be. Having three children of my own, I think I understand and I will certainly try to be of help to you.
You mentioned that you were possibly considering the use of a security film or perhaps a glass product such as tempered or laminated glass. There are substantial differences in these three products and we (Glass.com) have provided a fair amount of information regarding laminated and tempered glass, but not so much for other security film products such as window film. You might want to take a look at a previous submission of ours that we prepared, comparing laminated glass to tempered glass. This report provides both the pros and cons of both products and might be a good read for you. Both products have positive attributes but are significantly different in certain ways.
Security film is certainly a viable product also and as you may or may not know, it is even used in some bomb blast applications. If properly installed, it may have the ability to hold a piece of glass in place and keep hazardous shards of glass from becoming airborne and injuring people in the event of a blast. So without going into too much detail here, let me just state that while film is a consideration, I prefer a glass product in this situation.
You did not specifically mention the type of bedroom widow (wood, vinyl, aluminum) you are dealing with or its size. You also did not mention what type of glass is glazed into the bedroom window. Additionally, the manner in which the glass is installed (the depth and strength of the frame itself) also has an impact on our glass considerations. I have observed home and commercial building break-ins where the entire piece of glass was pushed out of the frame (under force) because the frame was weak or the glass had not been properly secured in the frame. The frame, locking hardware, and proper installation can be as important (or maybe even more important) than the glass itself. More to consider than just the glass, I think.
I know I have not directly answered your question as yet, but I do think the above issues are important. So, not knowing all of the facts, I am only going to tell you what I would most likely use if this were my own home, assuming an adequate frame is in place. I would use a piece of laminated glass (a piece as thick as the frame will accommodate) and I would have it installed by a qualified and experienced glazier. I would also have the framing checked out by the installer to make certain the glass cannot be pushed through the frame or the entire frame with the glass in it, pushed through the opening. Because you have already been burglarized once and this is a child’s bedroom, I would also suggest the use of an alarm system of some type and perhaps a security grill or bar also. Security glass will certainly help in the event of a burglary but it is only going to slow the intruder down in most cases. A determined intruder given enough time and effort will get through the glass. Unless you modify the window framing system greatly to allow for high-level security glass products (multi-layered laminated/tempered combinations or polycarbonate/glass combinations), you are not as protected as I would want to be with a child sleeping in the bedroom off of a porch in a home where a burglary has already happened. I believe you are still susceptible—better protected for sure—but still susceptible.
I hope this information has been of some help to you. In closing, I want to strongly recommend that you contact a reputable glass shop in your area that can inspect your situation first hand and then carefully and thoughtfully develop a plan to make your home and family as safe as possible. Thank you again for contacting the Glass.com Glass Detective.
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