Safety Glass and Security Glass – Including Laminated Glass, Tempered Glass, Bullet Resistant Glass and Fire Rated Glass

service-maintenance-security-glass-1Glass has an important role in protecting your property, employees and customers. Security glass or safety glass is used in applications where the potential for danger from broken glass is high. Not only should you consider the obvious, such as protecting people from cuts and lacerations from broken glass, but safeguarding employees and customers against acts of violence in the workplace is important too.

There are many applications that call for specific types of security glass, and at Toledo Mirror and Glass we have the experience and knowledge to make sure the proper glass is used for your application. Federal and state regulations and uniform building codes dictate requirements that need to be taken into consideration when you are planning your new construction or modifying and repairing existing structures. You can trust the expertise of Toledo Mirror and Glass to help you understand these requirements and provide you with quality products and services through every phase of your project.

What is Safety Glass?

Safety glass is a term used for several types of glass to differentiate it from standard plate glass. When plate glass breaks, it produces large, sharp shards that can cause serious cuts or even death if the shards become projectiles. When safety glass breaks, it does so in a way that reduces the potential risk of injury to people. Safety glass comes in different types and there is a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. The type you should use will depend upon the application and the building codes that apply. The most common types of safety glass are laminated glass and tempered glass.

Laminated Glass

Laminated glass, sometimes called shatterproof glass, is made by sandwiching a layer of thin plastic, usually polyvinyl butyral (PVB), between two or more outer layers of glass. When laminated glass breaks, the outer layers of glass will remain bonded to the PVB and prevent it from breaking up into large, sharp pieces. If the force of the impact isn’t strong enough to penetrate completely through, the glass will crack in a spider web pattern. Laminated glass is typically used in skylights, storefronts, curtain walls, and windows, especially in areas where high winds are a risk. Because of its composition, laminated glass can also be used for interior applications such as office partitions.

Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is created by using thermal or chemical processes to increase its strength. These processes create what is called balanced internal stresses. When broken, these stresses cause tempered glass to separate into gravel-sized pieces instead of dangerous, sharp shards that can cause lacerations. Tempered glass also withstands quick temperature changes. Common applications for tempered glass include glass doors, structurally-loaded applications and table tops.

Bullet Resistant Glass

It is important to distinguish between bullet resistant glass and bullet proof glass. No glass is bullet proof so the proper term is bullet resistant glass. Bullet resistant glass is made from multiple layers of polycarbonate, thermoplastic and laminated glass. Bullet resistant glass is graded to provide different levels of protection depending upon the thickness. Bullet resistant glass can be found in applications in banks, check cashing institutions, ticket windows, gas stations, convenience stores, store security entrances, embassies,
government buildings and any place where the risk of theft or violence is possible.

Fire Rated Glass

In recent years, glass manufacturers have made significant advances in fire rated glass and framing. Until recently, the only glazing material that offered any type of fire protection was polished wire glass. Three basic categories of fire rated glazing materials on the market today are: special tempered glass, glass ceramics and glass firewalls. Each of these types has their own advantages and limitations so it is important to consult our professionals at Toledo Mirror and Glass to learn about the glass that would best serve your needs.

Fire rated glass is rated in minute increments ranging from 20 minutes to 3 hours; the rating is the amount of time the glass is expected to hold in place in a fire situation. Fire rated glass has also been put through tests called hose stream tests to see if it can withstand thermal shock. Thermal shock is the stress placed on the glazing material due to different temperatures across its surface such as when water is applied during a fire. Wired glass was the first glass to pass the hose stream test but it has some other drawbacks. Wired glass does not pass impact tests and the unsightly wire impairs the view and creates an institutional feel to the architecture.

Today’s fire rated glazing products can offer many advantages that were not possible before including:

  • Impact safety
  • Heat transfer resistance
  • Energy code compliance
  • Sound reduction
  • Bullet resistance

In addition the new fire rated glazing products offer more design flexibility that allows for:

  • Large sizes
  • Field cuttable material
  • Sand blasting or etching
  • Beveled edges
  • Tinted or mirrored insulated glass units (IGUs)

When it comes to safety and security glass options, we invite you to consult our professionals at Toledo Mirror and Glass to learn more about the options and find the product that is right for your application.