We just recertified ourselves with Madico’s Safetyshield program to be the only Safetyshield dealer in Austin. Madico’s Safetyshield is a program to educate, promote, and install safety and security window films for residential homes and commercial buildings. Our films help prevent intruders from entering a building through the glass. They also help retain the glass during a hurricane and provide glass fragmentation resistance against terrorist attacks. Did you know we carry anti-graffiti films? This type of film is designed to prevent etching and staining of windows when windows are tagged by graffiti artists. In addition to providing safety and security these films also provide solar control property options to help prevent fading, heat, and glare. There are many choices with window films including brands, thickness, color densities but the real difference is how they are installed to the window.
How are safety films constructed?
These films are constructed using PET (polyethylene terephthalate) a polyester which is the same as a plastic water bottle. This material is very thin and has a mounting adhesive with a scratch resistant coating on it. In the mounting adhesive a UV inhibitor is added to protect the polyester from discoloring over time. These films vary by how many layers, how thick the adhesive layer is and how thick the polyester layer. The idea is simple, keep the glass from shattering. The thicker the material the stronger the glass becomes and the harder to break through. Solar control films usually come in 1-2 mil thick and security films come in 2-15 mil thick.
The adhesive is the most critical component of the film. All safety films have more adhesive per sq ft than any traditional solar films. There are many brands of window film and some brands are very well-known names but have very poor construction and adhesive properties. Some adhesives are so bad that they advertise in a positive light “… our adhesives remove easily in case the film is damaged …” this is not a good thing. It is imperative that there is a sufficient high quality adhesive on the film so that the glass will stick to the film upon a high impact situation. The difference may seem subtle, but it is one of the key reasons why safety films work well.
Different forms of glass
There are three main types of glass readily used in houses and commercial buildings, annealed, tempered, and laminated glass. Annealed glass is the most common and most dangerous of the glass. Annealed glass is molten sand plus a variety of metals added and slowly cooled. This glass is very clear and distortion free but when it breaks it breaks into very large and sharp shards. Tempered glass starts with the same principle as annealed but undergoes an extra step of rapidly heating and cooling the glass. This glass becomes 4 times stronger and breaks into smaller and less sharp pieces. It is mandated that all entry doors and sidelights must be tempered. Laminated glass is two layers of glass laminated together by PVB (polyvinyl butyral). Car windshields are installed using this glass. This glass is much stronger and withstands a high amount of impact before shattering.
Security films are designed to work with all types of glass and make even the most basic form of glass stronger than laminated glass at a fraction of the cost. The beauty of the film is that it comes in many color densities including clear so that no one can see the film on the window but you have the security you need. Here are a couple of photos of the material installed on a commercial store front window and a short video of us attempting to break a window with our films installed.