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How To Protect Your Privacy and Safety

Many older homes may have single or dual pane windows in bathrooms, in stairwells and surrounding front entry ways or in doors. In other areas of the home some windows may be located only 18 inches above a floor. Unfortunately, in some instances these windows may not be in compliance with the most current building codes for safety.

For example, homeowners may be in for a surprise when they undertake a bathroom remodel requiring building code inspections. After making their fixtures and floors all new, they may find that they fail to pass because they have simple annealed glass windows, whether they are dual pane or single pane and shower enclosures that are made from plain glass. If located within a certain pathway of travel, they present a serious safety hazard.

In other instances, a homeowner may be in a for an unhappy surprise when their home has been burglarized and the thief simply smashed through a pane of glass surrounding the front door, reached inside and turned the door handle to gain entry.

A friend just shared a tragic instance where a homeowner had asked a neighbor to look after their dogs that acted up when they were left alone for too long. For whatever reason, while the friendly neighbor was away from the home with the dogs inside, the pair acted up and dove head first through a low-lying glass window. The end result was a terrible outcome with the dogs catastrophically harmed by the shards of broken glass.

In still another case shared with the IWFA, an unwanted spectator was able to see into a home through the windows from the outside at night and video the activity. Fortunately, the practice was stopped when an alert neighbor called police to check on a car parked nearby and this resulted in the police discovering what was going on and the spectator arrested, but not before videos had been reviewed by the authorities.

All of these instances may be addressed, and a home may be brought up to current local building code standards with the professional installation of safety window film, either clear or in a variety of colors and shades and even with decorative patterns.

Many windows in “hazardous” areas like bathrooms, balconies, around pools, around doors and at the end of stairways may need to have tempered glass, at a minimum, to meet the safety codes.  Replacing existing glass in windows with tempered glass or with newer windows can be expensive and time-consuming.  The use of safety/security films is a more economical and less disruptive method of achieving the same desired end goal of enhanced safety or privacy.

A viable and recognized building product is safety window film. It can be applied in a single day and costs significantly less than tempered glass, while bringing the window or door up to the local or national building code. The building code is there for safety. When glass is located near a bathtub, hot tub, pool or a staircase, the possibility of someone falling against the glass and causing the glass to break and potentially injure themselves is significant. 

With the installation of safety window film and a certification label, the glass may then meet ANSI Standard Z97.1, but always check with local or state authority about building code regulations before having this work performed. Glass that is located adjacent to a door within a 24-inch arc may need to be updated to meet building codes for both safety and security. While window films may not completely prevent a determined thief from gaining entry, they may at least deter them, or make it harder to get in and result in a delay, which thieves wish to avoid for fear of being seen

Privacy window film, or decorative window film may be manufactured to offer safety film standards as well. Privacy window films can be opaque, to limit the view outside the glass to the interior, while still allowing natural daylight to penetrate the interior. Privacy or decorative window films can come in a variety of patterns to look like etched or frosted glass, or even stained-glass arrangements. In a bathroom window for instance, safety and privacy window film can be installed, and with the correct rating for the window film’s safety performance, help to meet the local building code during a bathroom remodeling project.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to act, such as when a remodeling project is delayed by not meeting the building code, or when a home is easily broken into, or worse when serious injury takes place from the result of broken glass shards. The IWFA offers an easy to use dealer / installer locator on its website so homeowners and even industry professionals can speak with a window film professional and have their questions reliably answered. Remember, when you look for window film, look for the IWFA logo first.