Can Burglars Break Impact Windows?

So, we’ve been wondering about something lately: Can burglars actually break impact windows? You know, those strong, reinforced windows that are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions like hurricanes? Well, we decided to do a little research and find out the answer.

Turns out, it’s not as easy as you might think for burglars to break impact windows. These windows are constructed with multiple layers of glass and often have a strong interlayer, usually made of polyvinyl butyral (PVB), between the glass panes. This construction makes them highly resistant to break-ins and forced entry attempts. Even if a burglar manages to crack or shatter one layer of glass, the interlayer holds the broken pieces together, making it difficult for them to gain access. So, in short, it’s pretty challenging for burglars to break impact windows. That’s definitely a reassuring thought when it comes to the security of our homes.

Can Burglars Break Impact Windows?

Understanding Impact Windows

Impact windows, also known as hurricane windows, are specially designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, including hurricanes and strong winds. These windows are made of multiple layers of glass and a strong interlayer, typically made of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). Unlike regular windows, impact windows have the ability to absorb the force of impact and remain intact.

How Do Impact Windows Work?

Impact windows are constructed with two layers of glass and a layer of interlayer materials between them. These layers are bonded together using a high-strength adhesive. The interlayer acts as a shield, ensuring that even if the glass shatters, it stays in place, preventing shards from injuring occupants or causing further damage.

When a strong force, such as high winds or flying debris, strikes an impact window, the outer layer of glass may crack or break, but the inner layer remains intact due to the interlayer. This design allows impact windows to withstand significant force without completely collapsing, enhancing the safety and security of a property.

Can Burglars Break Impact Windows?

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Common Misconceptions

There are some misconceptions regarding the strength of impact windows that need to be addressed. One common misconception is that impact windows are unbreakable. While impact windows are designed to withstand impact, they can still be broken with sufficient force. However, it is much more difficult for burglars to break into a property protected by impact windows compared to traditional windows.

Another misconception is that impact windows are only useful during hurricanes. While impact windows are indeed highly effective in protecting against hurricane-force winds and flying debris, they also provide added security against break-ins, as they are more difficult to penetrate than regular windows.

Testing and Certification

Impact windows must undergo rigorous testing to ensure their strength and performance. In the United States, these windows are tested and certified by organizations such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the Miami-Dade County Building Code Compliance Office.

During testing, impact windows are subjected to simulated hurricane conditions, including the impact of large debris at high velocities. The windows must withstand these tests without compromising the strength and integrity of the structure.

Can Burglars Break Impact Windows?

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Types of Impact Windows

There are two main types of impact windows: laminated glass and filmed glass. Laminated glass windows consist of two or more layers of glass, bonded together with an interlayer. Filmed glass windows, on the other hand, have one layer of glass with a film applied to it.

Both types of impact windows provide excellent protection against hurricanes and burglaries. However, laminated glass is generally considered to be more secure due to its multi-layered construction, making it more resistant to forced entry.

Resistance to Physical Force

While impact windows are designed to withstand hurricanes and other extreme weather conditions, they also offer increased resistance to burglaries. The multiple layers of laminated glass and the interlayer material make it significantly more difficult for burglars to break through compared to regular windows.

The interlayer material in impact windows acts as a barrier, preventing burglars from gaining easy access to the property. Even if the outer layer of glass is damaged, the inner layer and the interlayer material remain intact, maintaining the window’s structural integrity.

Can Burglars Break Impact Windows?

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Additional Security Measures

In addition to impact windows, there are various additional security measures that can be implemented to enhance the overall security of a property. These include:

  • Reinforced frames: Using reinforced window frames made of strong materials, such as aluminum or steel, can further strengthen the windows’ resistance to forced entry.
  • Security films: Applying a security film to the glass surface can provide an extra layer of protection against break-ins. These films adhere to the glass, making it more difficult for burglars to break through.
  • Window locks and sensors: Installing high-quality window locks and sensors can significantly improve the security of a property. These devices can detect any unusual activity and alert the occupants or security personnel.

Factors Affecting Burglary Resistance

While impact windows are highly effective in deterring burglars, several factors can affect their burglary resistance. These include:

  • Installation quality: Proper installation is crucial to ensure the windows are secure and provide maximum protection. Poor installation can weaken the overall strength of the windows and compromise their resistance to physical force.
  • Window framing: The type and quality of window framing can impact the overall security. Strong frames and secure mounting can complement the strength of impact windows.
  • Other entry points: Impact windows are just one aspect of a property’s security system. It is important to consider securing other entry points, such as doors and skylights, to prevent unauthorized access.

Can Burglars Break Impact Windows?

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Real-Life Case Studies

Numerous real-life case studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of impact windows in deterring burglaries. Many homeowners who have installed impact windows have reported a significant decrease in break-in attempts and successful burglaries.

In one case, a homeowner in a high-crime area installed impact windows throughout their property. Despite several attempted break-ins, the impact windows successfully prevented the burglars from gaining access, providing peace of mind and enhanced security.

In another case, a commercial building with impact windows experienced a break-in attempt during a severe storm. While the windows sustained damage, they prevented the burglars from entering the building, emphasizing the effectiveness of impact windows in resisting forced entry.


In conclusion, while impact windows are not completely indestructible, they offer a high level of protection against burglaries compared to regular windows. The multi-layered construction, interlayer materials, and rigorous testing and certification make them significantly more difficult to break through. By combining impact windows with additional security measures and ensuring proper installation, homeowners and property owners can enhance the security of their premises and deter potential burglars. Investing in impact windows is an effective way to safeguard against both extreme weather events and forced entry attempts.

Can Burglars Break Impact Windows?

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