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Window Safety Film

Window Safety Film

Window Safety Film

Tempered Window Alternative – Code Compliance Safety Film

I recently remodeled a home and hired a reputable window company to measure and supply all the windows. One item that the window rep and I both missed was that both bathroom windows should have been specified with tempered glass.  We missed it and rightfully so, got called out by the building inspector. Replacement sashes would have cost at least $600-800 per window. There had to be a solution, it turned out there was; window safety film.

Building Code

In Massachusetts, the building code,  780 CMR 2401 [Chapter 24] covers glass and glazing requirements. For bathroom windows, safety glass is required in enclosures for or walls facing hot tubs, whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, bathtubs and showers where the bottom exposed edge of the glazing is less than 60 inches (1524 mm) measured vertically.  Glazing in any portion of a building wall enclosing these compartments where the bottom exposed edge of the glazing is less than 60 inches (1524 mm) above a standing surface.

There are 2 types of bathroom window safety glass than can be used as long as they meet 16 CFR 1201 Class II impact standard (400ft lb)

Other items in a bathroom also require tempered glass, such as: shower enclosures, and glass at hot tubs, showers, spas, whirlpools, saunas, and steam rooms.  [Note – reference building code for full and accurate details]

Safety Glass Standards

Safety glass standards ANSI Z97.1 and CPSC 16 CFR 1201 are all about reducing the risk of death and laceration in the event you fall through and break the glass. Accidents happen, many times, slip and falls result in people falling into glass.

Safety glazing standards have done a very really good job at reducing the severity of broken glass laceration injuries and deaths. But what happens if you have an older house or if you made a mistake like we did?

4-Mil Window Safety Film – A Safety Glass Alternative Solution

Many older homes in the prior to these code requirements have large windows of ordinary glass that are not safety glass. Instead of replacing these windows, it is possible to strengthen the glass with window safety film products such as Scotchshield™ window safety film from 3M. Applied properly, the material is durable, effective and does not change the look of the glass. Window safety film is a thin layer of clear flexible film plastic applied to the back of the glass, this 4-mil safety film holds the glass pieces together if broken, reducing the risk of injury.

An installer can apply a label self-certifying that the glass complies with the CPSC standard. According to ICC Evaluation Service legacy report 94-41, the product qualifies as safety glass when properly installed. Many jurisdictions accept this, and the label is not likely to be present with a homeowner-applied film.

Storm Protection

An additional benefit to 4-mil window safety film offers protection during earthquakes, and wind related storms with flying debris.  Flying debris can shatter window glass, sending shards of flying glass into a room. Window safety film holds the broken glass in place.

Home Security

While window safety glass will not stop an intruder, it will slow them down. slowing an intruder down while you home means buying you more time to call 911, escape, get to a safe room or defend yourself. Many security films are tear resistant and makes the window harder to penetrate and help hold glass fragments together after impact.

Solar Window Film

There are tinted, UV rated fiilms that reduce the amount of heat gained through transmission of sunlight. these window films can help you lower energy costs, eliminate hot spots, reduce glare and protect carpet and furniture from fading. Many of these films reduce up to 78% of the sun’s heat, evenly disperse natural light, reduce eye strain glare, and block up to 99% of harmful ultraviolet rays.

Window Safety Film Installation

Materials Needed

Note – The soapy water acts as a lubricant for the squeegee during glass cleaning, film application, and future cleaning. Do not use any household glass cleaner containing ammonia or vinegar to clean the glass or film; it can dissolve the film adhesive.

Window Safety Installation Steps

Measure the Window

Measure the window carefully before unrolling and cutting the film. Film may be applied from side to side, or top to bottom. Use the measurement that leaves the least waste. Many installers pretrim the film to 1/16″ less, all sides, than the window dimensions.

Clean the Window

Cut the Film

Wet the Window Thoroughly

Remove the Film Backing

Place the Film on the Wet Window

Spray the Outside Surface of the Film and Squeegee

Trim Edges of Film and Squeegee Dry

Window Safety Film
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