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Tempered Glass and Window Film, a Perfect Combination?

Building with tempered glass windows and security window film

Window film Instead of Tempered glass?

This is a question we are often asked, but it is a misnomer. You need glass to use window film. Tempered glass windows are often used in conjunction with various types of protective window film.

It sounds weak, doesn’t it? The term ‘film’ conveys a sheer, almost flimsy substance that couldn’t possibly outperform tempered glass. Perhaps that is because it isn’t supposed to outperform it. It works with it.

The fact is, window film is not as weak as it may sound. It’s an incredible product that comes in a wide variety of options. Moreover, there is a multitude of reasons to use window film in conjunction with your existing tempered glass. Let’s take a look.

What is tempered glass?

It may help to know the difference between standard “annealed” glass and tempered glass. Standard glass originated in the mid-17th century. This method of production was comprised of heating the glass to a softening temperature before placing it in a water bath at a relatively low temperature. This immediate plunge and change in temperature increased the resilience of the glass from external influences such as winds and temperature. But it was still breakable and as such, dangerous.

Comparingly, tempered glass is an intensely heat-treated glass that is four times stronger than regular glass. During the manufacturing process, standard glass is cooled more quickly than tempered glass. This results in tempered glass being less fragile. Ultimately, when standard glass breaks, it does so more easily and in dangerous fragments.

In contrast, if tempered glass were to break, it would shatter into dull cubes instead of jagged shards. It’s designed to break on impact in a less physically harmful way. Thus, making it less likely to cause bodily harm or damage to interiors.

The tempered glass form that we know of today was created in 1970. Popular in cars and modern-day construction, this 20th-century window glass was considered superior and safer than standard “annealed” glass. It has and does save lives in automobile accidents.

Why tempered glass

Safety first! Tempered glass is generally recommended for areas in which standard glass could prove problematic. For example, windows in wet areas such as bathrooms, showers, or saunas. Windows larger than 9 square feet often require tempered glass depending on governing regulations. In addition, windows or glass partitions near or added to stairs, ramps, or landings are also required to be tempered glass. This standard was implemented to prevent bodily harm in the case of breakage.

Yet, even though tempered glass is stronger than standard annealed glass, in its own way, it is still lacking. As our current dangers are different than they were decades ago, so are our needs. Now we require preventative measures for break-ins, bomb blasts, or gunshots. These issues are not mitigated, much less alleviated by tempered glass.

Why window film betters tempered glass

Safety & Security Window Film is not a substitute for tempered glass. Instead, it is a superior solution, offering enhanced safety and security features lacked by tempered glass. When combined you receive a stronger, more durable glass. The film can be applied to existing glass windows and doors, whether tempered or regular, and act as an extra layer of protection.

Window film offers security in varying degrees. You can use a film that holds the glass together when victim of blunt force.  This prevents the glass from dispersing and causing bodily harm. Furthermore, criminals are either slowed down in their break-in attempt or prevented from it entirely.

Something tempered glass fails to do is add protection from storms intense winds or flying debris. Once the windows of a building are broken and strewn, the interiors of your buildings, including computers and other technological assets are often destroyed. Window film is much more resilient to inclement weather and damaging storms.

Window film makes tempered glass more energy efficient

As we move towards sustainability, having carbon-neutral buildings becomes more of a priority. The good news is that dual-function solar-security window film can provides up to 99% UV and 97% IR rays protection. Consequently, the interior of the building stays cooler during the day, particularly during warmer weather. Thus, your HVAC system will run much more efficiently if window film is applied to the tempered glass you already have in place.

Improve Energy Efficiency and Security with Sun Control Window Films
Hosted by  James Beale
Learn how sun control window films help improve building energy efficiency, reduce costs, improve occupant comfort, and increase security.

Furthermore, applying film to existing windows and glass doors rather than replacing the tempered glass both supports environmentalism and is much more cost-effective than replacing. If you already have tempered glass in your building and energy efficiency is important to you, then applying window film may be your best option.

The process

Changing out the glass in any building is time-consuming. It can often result in shutting down a business for days, if not weeks, and losing revenue.  Furthermore, tempered glass has a diamond design that does not hold up to blunt force. A crowbar will quickly shatter a tempered glass pane and easy entry into a building or property is inevitable.

However, it’s important to note that tempered glass is expensive. Part of the allure regarding window film is that it can be applied to your current glass for anywhere from 50% – 70% less than replacing glass windows and doors. Needless to say, the larger the building the more costly that project would be. Moreover, it is a more efficient process and can be completed in a third of time it would take to replace the windows.

Ultimately, tempered glass lacks the security features of tempered glass combined with window film. Simply stated, it was created for another place in time. It is still well utilized in automobiles. But when it comes to modern-day buildings, we need more. No worries though, if you already have tempered glass in place, security window film is an easy application.

If you have questions regarding what window film would be the best for your building or business, feel free contact us or check out our webinar to learn more.

Protect People and Property with Safety and Security Window Film
Hosted by  James Beale
Learn how 3M Safety and Security Window Film can help you increase building security, reduce loss from theft and property damage, protect and mitigate damage from human impact, glass breakage, intrusion, blast mitigation, seismic activity, windstorm, and graffiti.

Photo by Michael on Unsplash

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