How Safe Is Your Safety Glass?

May 26, 2020

In talking with consumers, partners, and contractors, we are sometimes told that their safety glass is secure.

It’s not true.

Safety glass is a bit stronger than annealed glass but designed to minimize the risk of potential injuries when broken. On the other hand, safety glass offers no security benefits and can leave a building totally exposed.

How will your glass perform under pressure?

Annealed, safety, and security glass

Across thousands of homes and businesses, we see annealed and safety glass most often.

Annealed glass, also known as float glass, is common in homes and older businesses. This glass breaks easily into random, jagged, dangerous shards.

Safety glass, also known as tempered or heat-strengthened glass, is common in businesses and certain residential applications. Safety glass is a little stronger and breaks into dulled cubes to reduce the risk of injury.

What’s in your home or business? Windows are expensive, so you might simply remember the details of your window installation. Alternatively, look at the bottom right-hand corner of your glass for a stamp or mark.

In this blog, we’ll focus on safety glass since it’s more common.

How Does Safety Glass Perform Under Pressure?

Today we’re talking about safety glass, which is chemically-tempered and strengthened to ~10,000 pounds per square inch of tensile strength. In the home, you’ll find safety glass in sliding glass doors or windows within 18 inches of the ground. In the store or office, most, if not all glass is “safe” to protect from potential liability. We’re generalizing, but these long-standing patterns have driven by architects and building codes.

Safety glass breaks “safely”, minimizing the potential risk of injury from broken glass. The bad news is that safety glass is easy to break, and once broken, intruders have easy access into a home or business. Here is a video showing how easily a whole sheet of safety glass falls apart:

Not good, and you’ll see right at the 40-second mark how Layr’s 3M security window film can secure your glass.  Our window film bonds with glass and attaches to frames using high-strength adhesive.  These products are used by Embassies and Federal Buildings to protect from explosions. 3M’s testing shows security window film delaying forced entry by up to two minutes.

In the real world, bad people may not want to risk repeatedly banging on shatter-resistant glass. Below is a real-life example of 3M security glass stopping a break-in.


Clients use Layr’s security window film to protect from burglaries, hurricanes, windstorms, flying objects, and in the worst case, active shooters. Layr is an aftermarket product, so the cost is often 50-70% less than comparable products like laminated or hurricane glass.  Our solutions are rigorously tested and warrantied by 3M.

Have questions on your glass, or how Layr can potentially upgrade your home or business?  Drop us a line or visit our showroom in Manhattan.