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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Polycarbonate plastic glazing is no substitute
for a well-made security screen

A common question asked by many public school facility managers is:


Some school systems are replacing the glass in their windows with polycarbonate plastic glazing to prevent glass breakage.  This may seem fine in the short run, but there are some serious drawbacks to using “plastic glass” in window openings. 

  • The plastic can be melted using an inexpensive lighter.
  • The plastic can be etched using the tip of a spark plug, razor blade, car keys, ballpoint pen, paper clips, pencils - even coins.  Some school districts have so much “graffiti” on the plastic, that they are replacing them on a regular basis.
  • The plastic can be scratched using a clean terry cloth rag.  Just the dust that has settled on the plastic glazing is enough to scratch the surface.
  • Plastic is easily painted, using spray cans.  But most commercial solvents will damage the glazing.  Specialized cleaners must be used to remove the paint, at additional expense and then polished with a mild automotive polish to remove the large scratches. Once scratched, forever scratched.
  • Your typical maintenance window squeegee is not recommended for cleaning the plastic glazing, as this will damage the plastic.  So how do you clean the plastic glazing?  Sponge, bucket, mild detergent, hose off, dry by hand.  Even washing produces fine scratches on the surface. 
  • Plastic glazing should not be cleaned in the hot sun or at elevated temperatures. 
  • Installing “Plastic Glazing” is NOT a substitute for installing security screens. 

To read this series from the beginning, please refer to previous posts Public School Safety Series (PART 1:  SECURITY LEVELS) and Public School Safety Series (PART 2:  VANDALISM & FORCED ENTRY).

To learn more about security screens for public schools, CLICK HERE.

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