Security Films and Attachment Systems: How They Work

Professional Window Tinting Safety & Security Window Film

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Security Films

Glass is typically the weakest point of a building’s envelope. For a long time, security film has been the answer to strengthening this weak point. Films as thick as 14 mils (a mil = one-thousandth of an inch) with extremely high tear resistances bind to the glass and hold it intact so that if the glass breaks or shatters, the film holds all the pieces together. However, impact protection attachment systems are crucial to further improve the safety of windows.

Benefits of Security Film

Security films have many benefits. They can prevent the glass from falling to the floor into a million pieces. If a bomb goes off on the exterior of the building, the glass won’t fly into pieces at hundreds of miles per hour, causing mass injury and destruction. Someone attempting a break-in won’t be easily able to break through the thick layer of film holding the glass together.

The Need for an Impact Protection Attachment System

These benefits are helpful when the goal is to protect valuables and occupants inside of a building. However, the film by itself isn’t quite enough. Window film can only be installed on the glass surface to within 1/16 of an inch of the window frame. Although this is a relatively small gap, it is still a weak point. By itself, it is safety glass. Furthermore, with enough force, the glass, even with the film, can go through the frame. This is where the attachment system is critical.

Impact Protection Attachment Systems

An attachment system binds the film and the frame together, creating one piece with no weak points. They come in two forms and are chosen depending on the type of frame on the window.

Impact Protection Profile (IPP)

The first type of attachment is an Impact Protection Profile or IPP, a hard system which comes pre-formed from the manufacturer. It has an adhesive-backed tape that sticks to the frame and film at a 45-degree angle. It is applied with a tool made specifically for this type of system to ensure it is installed properly and sticks thoroughly. This type of system is the preferred type of installation for appearances and installers because it looks the neatest, and it is the easiest to apply. However, the downside to this system is that it requires the window to have a perpendicular metal/aluminum frame which is greater than or equal to 1 and 1/2 inches for the application to work properly. But don’t worry, if your window frame has less than 1 and 1/2 inches, there is a solution.

Wet Glaze Attachment System

Impact Protection Adhesive

The second type of system, an Impact Protection Adhesive, is a wet glaze, caulk-like material. It requires a minimum of 1/2 inch metal frame surface. This particular attachment is typically for applications where the frame may not be exactly perpendicular to the glass. For instance, a 45-degree angle away from the glass would be appropriate. It is also able to be worked into tight spots where the IPP cannot easily be installed. This caulk-like substance should be applied as such.


The installer must take extreme caution to ensure cleanliness and accurate molding of the substance. This material comes in two colors, either white or black. The downside is that it is messy and needs to be molded by the installer. Additionally, any imperfections are noticeable, typically resulting in a wavy look to the material. Although there are precautions to prevent this, it is often unavoidable. Typically, it takes 4 hours for the surface to dry, and 48 hours to dry completely throughout.

Uses of an Impact Protection Attachment System

The application of the security attachment system is critical if you are concerned about protection from intruders, bomb blasts, etc. Without it, your glass will stay together, but the glass and film may fall through the frame easily.

It is very important to know that these security films and attachment systems ARE NOT BULLETPROOF! The design is specifically used to deter entry. There is potential of a break-in, although it may take an intruder minutes to gain entry. The idea is that these minutes are crucial, giving occupants an opportunity to seek cover, allowing the building to lock down, and giving authorities time to respond to the situation. We are currently working on offering an application which is bulletproof, so stay tuned!

Recently, we have installed security films and attachment systems in the Indian River School District, the New Castle County Government Building, and we will soon be installing security film on the Baltimore Police Department building in Pikesville, MD.

Any questions, concerns, remarks, or requests for free quotes are always welcome. contact Corey, our Sales manager here at Professional Window Tinting at [email protected].