Doing some research on the security aspects of windows, I see that lots of manufacturers say their windows are superb for security purposes. You have to wonder how many of these claims are advertising fluff versus accurate statements that can be backed up. To say anything about a window being a strong product that's effective for security purposes, a manufacturer should have had the specific window tested to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Specification F588-97, which measures forced-entry resistance.
Some windows are made specifically for security, using laminated glass like the glass in automotive windshields. Laminated glass may "crack" when struck with a sharp or heavy object, but a heavy-duty plastic interlayer sandwiched between the glass planes helps keep intruders or their burglar tools from actually getting through the glass.
Other types of glass are less resistant to intrusion. Many people think tempered glass is ideal for security purposes. It's actually a glass made for safety reasons—so it's pretty easy to get through, but it breaks into small pieces (not shards) that are less likely to injure someone. I experienced this personally just recently. I was carrying a small TV cabinet with glass panels from our house to our car and tripped on our driveway. The cabinet broke into lots of pieces and all the glass panels shattered. I instinctively extended my arms and hands as I fell, and my hands landed right on the glass. I got just a few very small cuts, but it would have been much worse had that glass not been tempered!
The name for standard or regular glass is "annealed." It typically breaks into dangerous, jagged “shards” when broken. There is actually some play in annealed glass as well. It will "bend" a little before breaking. I heard from a co-worker a week ago that an attempt was made by an intruder to break into her sister's home through the windows. The guy used his foot—wearing a steel-toed boot—to try to break the glass to get in. The glass didn't break, and his shoe prints on the glass even led to his arrest!
I was sure the glass in the windows—which are Gorell windows by the way—was laminated security glass, or possibly tempered. Remarkably, it was regular annealed glass. Not that annealed glass should ever be recommended for security purposes (laminated glass is, of course), but it does go to show you that a well-made, tough window that meets tests for strength can be somewhat effective at least keeping the bad guys out. One last thing—please don’t try this at home (i.e., putting your foot through a window to see how strong it is!).
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