Safety and Security Window Films

The performance characteristics of a safety/security film go well beyond the typical solar performance data that is associated with most flat glass architectural films. Effectively, the data that consumers and commercial accounts require relate primarily to the safety performance of the film in use.  Providing the correct performance data is extremely important as it deals with life/safety issues.

Installing dealers should be proactive as opposed to being reactive, when it comes to the providing of various items, upfront, for architectural applications, including safety/security film products. Please consider the following:

  • There are numerous tests that have been completed for safety/security film products. It is incumbent on the installing dealer to provide the proper performance-related data and/or test reports, usually generated and provided by the window film manufacturer, that are particular to a specific customer application. Where test reports are to be used, the installing dealer should use a report that is for the specific glazing system only [e.g., do not use a test report for ½” glass where the customer’s installation involves ¼” glass]. The specific glass type [annealed, heat strengthened or tempered] should also be shown for both the test results and the customer’s installation. Installing dealers should avoid creating any unrealistic performance expectations with the end user.
  • The IWFA is unaware of any product which should be labeled as “bulletproof film”. All test reports and demonstration videos of filmed windows reviewed by the IWFA, on which a safety or security film has been installed, and which claim or show some level of protection against firearms, have used glass which already has some level of ballistic protection on its own.  These reports and demonstrations may actually demonstrate that adding layers of certain safety/security films might reduce ballistic velocities further, but they do not show that those same films added to non-ballistic glass could give it ballistic protection characteristics.  Usually, the addition of any safety/security film to even ballistic glass would act only as a spall shield.
  • The installing dealer should present a copy of the complete warranty information for the product that is being recommended. Wherever applicable, the installing dealer should also provide a copy of the manufacturer’s film-to-glass application chart to confirm the suitability of a particular film for the application.
  • The installing dealer should also provide a suitably-sized sample of the product that is being recommended, along with the corresponding performance data for that product.
  • While hurricane season has officially ended for this year, it is important to remind installing dealers to only use safety/security film products for wind-borne debris protection or mitigation where a bona fide test report is available for the specific application and requirement. Unless a window film product has been tested and passed both (1) the impact and (2) the cycling requirements of either the small-missile or large-missile testing, it cannot be implied, advertised, labeled, or sold as “hurricane protection”.  The window system used in the testing must also be the same type on which film is being installed for the customer.
  • It is a known fact that consumers are doing more research now into products that they purchase and, where the installing dealer is proactive by providing product performance information and data, complete with test reports, where applicable, upfront, there is increased credibility for the installing dealer. Additionally, this can eliminate many typical questions or issues which might arise once the installation has been completed.