As a homeowner, your loved ones naturally mean the world to you. When it comes to your family, you would give anything to protect them. As a business owner, you obviously want to protect your equipment, your goods and your livelihood. Let’s face it, in South Africa security for your home or business is a serious issue.
There are various security measures you can take, from burglar guards to beams, from security cameras to a pair of rottweilers! These are all good options worth considering, and as far as possible you should have such measures in place. However another security measure that you may not know about is using security glass as an extra layer of defence. Yes, you can double up on your security by fitting your windows and doors with performance glass that is more difficult to breach.
Burglar guards are effective, but they can be quite costly and it’s not always practical to install them on every window and door. In fact many property owners find them quite unattractive, a ‘necessary evil’ as it were. This is where we highlight the importance of using security glass as an added security measure. The right security glass type for your property can provide more peace of mind.
Security glass is manufactured in a special way which enables it to withstand a variety of deliberate attacks. Whether these attacks are physical, ballistic or even explosive in nature, certain types of glass can withstand a huge impact. This in effect means that the glass you choose can seriously slow down potential intruders. This delay can be crucial in thwarting a burglary or attack.
The most basic glass type which you’ve probably heard of is called float glass or annealed glass. Nowadays windows and doors are quite commonly fitted with other varieties – known generally as performance glass. Toughened and laminated safety glass are among the two most popular choices. They have different structural integrities depending on their thickness and configuration.
So let’s take a look at the security glass options you have when installing your aluminium windows or doors.
Toughened glass, also known as tempered glass, comes in two forms: heat-strengthened and fully tempered glass. This is very much like glass in your car doors – they don’t break into sharp shards but rather small harmless chunks.
Heat-strengthened glass is twice as strong as regular annealed glass. Fully tempered glass, on the other hand, is about four to six times as strong as annealed glass. Specialised tests are carried out on these types of glass to see exactly how strong they are and how much pressure they can withstand. Shock tube and arena testing prove that fully tempered glass can withstand a higher load impact than heat-strengthened glass.
Some ideal applications where toughened glass can serve your property best are for your sliding or patio doors, shower doors, balustrades, or pool fencing. In fact you should consider toughened glass anywhere you have large windows or frameless applications. Toughened glass is available in 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15 and 19 mm thickness.
Laminated Safety Glass
Laminated glass is another type of performance glass which offers both safety and security advantages. It comprises two or more sheets of glass with an interlayer of PVB (polyvinyl butyral) which is manufactured in between the glass layers. (the same kind of glass used in car windscreens) The dual-sheet construction adds resistance to forced entry.
This interlayer keeps the glass layers fused together, which makes it more difficult to break. If the glass is broken it will not shatter into loose pieces, but is held together by the film. In most cases the glass keeps intact within the frame even as it’s shattered. This prevents easy entry into your property. In other configurations, laminated glass can even resist bullets, heavy objects, or even minor explosions.
A typical application for laminated safety glass in your home or business would be in your larger windows, fixed pane windows and patio doors.
There are varying degrees of strengths that you can choose from. Primarily it is the overall thickness and amount of layers that determine the strength of the glass. Standard two-ply laminated safety glass comes in a 6.38 and an 8.38 mm thickness.
A thicker version, High Penetration Resistant (HPR) glass, comes in 6.76 and 8.76 mm. Thicker still is High Impact (HI) Glass, which comes in 7.14 and 9.14 mm. Bullet Resistant Glass (BRG) ranges from 28 to 54 mm.
Then there is also Armourlam (toughened glass with solar control and sound dampening features) and Wired glass (good fire retardant and doesn’t shatter when exposed to high stress and temperatures).
Double Glazed Windows
Double glazed windows and doors are steadily becoming more popular in South Africa. Most property owners choose them for their insulation and sound-dampening properties. But double glazing can also be considered an extra security measure.
Double glazing comprises two pieces of glass fitted into an aluminium frame with a sealed air space between the sheets of glass. The encapsulated space in-between is filled by a special argon gas so as to reduce heat and sound transfer across the space.
Naturally two panes of glass are more difficult to penetrate than one, but for extra strength the double glazed units can be made of toughened or laminated safety glass. This will make your windows and doors far more difficult to penetrate via forced entry.
Bullet Proof Glass
If you have more serious security considerations, you can even consider bullet proof glass. This is highly specialised glass that is usually used in banks and other high security applications.
Bullet-resistant glass (BRG) is also sometimes referred to as bullet proof glass. This high performance glass is constructed of a laminated glass layer, built from glass sheets bonded together with more PVB or polyurethane. BRG is typically about 28 to 54 mm thick and is usually extremely heavy.
Technically speaking, bulletproof glass would be glass that is incapable of being pierced into by most manner of bullets fired at it. Such glass cannot currently be made in any usable thickness (if at all), so what is loosely called bulletproof glass is, within the industry, referred to as bullet-resistant glass.
If you have extreme security considerations in your business or in a property you’re developing, then you should consider bullet resistant glass.
Invest in your security
So, when building your new home or designing your next architectural masterpiece, keep in mind that you can use security glass as that extra measure of protection. As a home owner or business owner, it’s good to know that you can take simple yet effective measures to secure your property.
For the best results and peace of mind it’s also important to make sure that your security glass windows and doors are professionally installed. A good installation will ensure optimum structural integrity of the glass and frames. Speak to our friendly sales team for further advice about installing security glass. They will happily lead you through the best options. At the end of the day, you can make your property more secure and feel safer with that added layer of specialised glass.