safety and security

Security Window Film...What you need to know.

While Security Window Film may seem like a new invention, it's actually been around for a long time, over 40 years! Safety and Security Window Film may not be new, but it has come a long way, and new features like the Attachment System have been recommended to increase its performance.

If you've landed on this BLOG, you're probably a bit interested in the product, and you've probably watched footage of security window film being put to the test on YouTube, and other sites. While these videos do give us a good idea of how Security Window Film performs, they can also be a bit confusing.

Let's start with answering the question, just what it is Security Window Film?

  • Security Window Film is a thick piece of window film ranging from 4 mil - 18 mil's (a mil is a thousandth of an inch) in thickness. Some of these films are developed using a cross woven process of the polyester material (I'm sure that was confusing). Long story short, in a blast an 8 mil cross woven film may provide as much protection as a 14 mil security film that isn't cross woven. Check with the window film manufacturer or a reputable window film dealer to better understand what type of Security Window Film will work best for you, and be sure to ask for the testing data. Recommended installations, and test information should always be provided by the manufacturer, and this information is readily available.

Regardless of the mil, security film is designed to hold the glass in place should it break. Holding the glass fragments together can reduce injury, as well as deter potential intruders by making the glass more resistant.

Another important component of any Security Window Film system is the addition or lack thereof, of the Attachment System. Any video you've watched online most likely has an Attachment System applied along with the Security Window Film.

So just what is this attachment system?

  • The Attachment System is typically a silicone bead, much like you see on the frame of commercial glass, applied after the installation of the Security Window Film, the Attachment System bonds the Security Window Film to the frame of the glass, giving you the highest level of security. In some instances Security Window Film, and an Attachment System are strong enough to withstand a bomb blast! With that said, the attachment system will not work with all window frames, it’s important that the frames of your glass can accommodate at a minimum 3/8 to 1/2 inch bead of silicone attachment to the film and frame of the glazing system in order to achieve optimal results.

So what if you're not concerned with a bomb, why do YOU need to consider the Attachment System? Think of it this way, many times the most trouble free windows for an intruder are typically ones like your sliding glass door, or the front entrance to a store. That is because tempered glass (safety glass) is used on these areas. Tempered glass is designed to shatter into thousands of pieces once broken to prevent large shards of glass from injuring someone. Making these windows pretty easy to break out.

Let's say you put Security Window Film on tempered glass without an Attachment System. The Security Window Film will hold the glass together, leaving the intruder to push the glass out in one piece. You may have just help the intruder not get cut while he’s breaking in. If the attachment were to be added, that film is anchored to the frame, making it very difficult to penetrate.

If you add the Attachment System, does that mean your glass in impenetrable?

  • Well, no. Like most security products, security film is a deterrent. It is not 100% foolproof. However it can assist you with more time to respond.

  • Also, the attachment system simply won’t work on some window frames. Recommended silicone attachment is between a 3/8-1/2 inch thick bead, ideally being 1/2 inch. Some frames just can’t support this, allowing the Security Film System to give you some additional benefit, but not optimal performance. It’s important to consult with professional window film company to ensure your window frames are suitable for a Security Film System.

The most FAQ window film dealers get is: Is it bullet proof?

  • The answer is no. Our 3M Security Window Films are not bullet proof.

Another important question is cost. About how much does a Security Window Film install cost?

  • Price can vary depending on where you live, the brand of security film you are purchasing, and the company you are hiring for your film and installation. A professional Security Window Film installation will probably run you between $12-$20 per square foot installed. The Attachment System will be in addition, and is charged per linear foot. Many times the Attachment System can be as much as the film, this is due to the labor and skill required for the application. Be sure to work with a reputable experienced window film company when purchasing security film, you'll get what you pay for!

A professional estimate and site visit should be required for Security Window Film installations as they aren’t all the same. The application and type of security window film will be determined by your windows and frames. The Attachment System simply won't work in every scenario, and may have a high potential of turning out ugly, think Wood Framed French pane windows, not a good look with the Attachment System, and more importantly, not effective. Always work with a credible window film dealer that works alongside a credible window film manufacturer like 3M, to ensure you are having your film applied to the manufacturers recommendations by a Professional Window Film Installer.

Also, Window Film Dealers may be experts in our field of window film, however we are not “security” experts. Consult with a security expert if you need assistance deciding which windows in your home or building need Security Window Film the most.  

 In the above Safety and Security Film a 3 part Security Film system is used, starting with an exterior safety film 3M S70, the interior side of the glass has 3M S14 applied with 3M’s IPA.

 

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3 New 3M Films

3 new 3M films were announced at a webinar last Friday.  3M expects to introduce at least 10 new products over the next year. Two of the new products are value priced security films.  One has a matte finish.  It is priced for use on a large scale when prices need to be low.  It carries a 1 year warranty.  It is not as good as the Fasara film.  The Fasara is whiter and is easier to cut.  Also the Fasara leaves less residue when it is removed.  The new film is able to compete with the lower priced films though Fasara is always the more recommended product.  When pricing is an issue, this new film can meet a clients needs.  The other security film is a black-out film and again is value priced.  It is black on black and is glossy.  It is used on the interior of the glass. (solutions.3m.com)

The third new 3M film is a mirrored film for a one-way mirror effect.  No mirrored film that makes a one-way mirror is completely mirror on one-side and see through on the other. It is impossible to make this. The effect is achieved by a combination of light and film.  The room on the mirror side must be brighter than in the room of the non-reflective side of the film.  When I was teaching, we had a one-way mirrored glass from the teachers office to the classroom to be able to record student behavior.  It was not film, but a special made glass for that purpose.  It was not as effective as it could have been because of the lack of understanding of how the lighting affected the way it worked.  When it was first installed, that might have been explained to the school staff but as time went on the information was not passed on to new staff.

These 3 new 3M films announced will be available March 1.