One of the best security products for glass windows and doors is a tough, polyester window security film. It is crystal clear, four mils thick, and is applied from edge-to-edge on the inside of the glass with a super-strong, transparent adhesive. If the glass is broken—like with a brick or baseball bat—the shards won’t fall out. They stay in place because they are bonded to the film, which is too tough to cut or tear. By holding the glass shards in place, the film prevents a broken window from being used as an entry to the home. Very thick versions of security films are used on federal buildings to withstand bomb blasts.
Yes, the broken glass, and film, will need to be replaced, but the perpetrator got frustrated and went away looking for an easier target.
Old windows or doors with individual, small panes of glass set between thin wood crosspieces, or mullions, are not good candidates for security film, because the entire small pane can be pushed out and the thin wood mullions will break. But full-light or half-light doors are easily reinforced with security film even if they have the overlaid grid-simulating mullions, which can be removed for film installation then replaced.
Window security film costs $8.50 per square foot installed.
Another option is security screen, which resembles insect screens but is much stronger. It is made from thicker, stainless steel wire held in a steel or aluminum sub-frame, which is attached to the window opening, making the sub-frame appear to be part of the original window opening. The frame usually has a hinge for emergency exit or cleaning, with a latch operable only from the inside.
Although typically used in medical facilities, colleges, public schools and public housing developments, they can be used for a residence. They are typically custom-made to window dimensions and are about $250 each, installed. Security screens are not to be confused with screen products from alarm companies, which have alarm sensors woven into regular nylon insect screen.
Duncan Cottrell, The Entry Enforcer, is a home improvement technician specializing in Home Intrusion Prevention. He offers door and window reinforcing, free home security assessments, and answers questions at Duncan@EntryEnforcer.com or (404)289-6960.