FAQs

Architectural Solutions

I want to discuss a particular building project with ACE. What do you need to know?

For our first call and initial assessment, it will be very helpful if you send us the following:

  1. pictures of your building and the windows and doorways you wish to protect; If possible, also provide us with an interior view which shows the frames around the windows and doors and the gaskets.
  2. if you have elevation drawings, architectural drawings or plans, they can be helpful for our analysis,
  3. for our analysis ACE will need to know the thickness of the glass or the types of windows you are protecting. Most commercial buildings in North America have double pane windows known as IGUs (insulated glass units). These are generally comprised of ¼ inch thick glass panes which are then separated by a ½ inch air gap. Some offices may have single pane units or windows of different construction. For instance, hurricane rated windows (which are common in Florida) can be comprised of 9/16th inch glass. Shopping malls and commercial lobbies can have single pane glass that is ½ inch or ¾ inch in thickness. If you are unsure of your glass construction, send us the information you have available and we can help with the assessment further.
  4. the dimensions of the windows / doorways;
  5. the desired level of protection (for instance, if it is a ballistic application, the level of bullet resistance ideally to be attained). Further, you have undertaken a threat risk assessment, please let us know. Otherwise, we can provide input based on our experience.
  6. finally it can often be helpful to understand the approach to your building that a potential attacker might take. Pictures can also help inform this perspective.

Further, you have undertaken a threat risk assessment, please let us know. Otherwise, we can provide input based on our experience.

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How can ACE safety laminates help protect me in natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes?

During natural disasters, flying glass can be a significant contributor to human injury and/or fatalities. Although nothing can completely stop the destructive force of extremely violent natural disasters, ACE security laminates can potentially reduce the risk of injuries by helping to keep the glass inside its frame and the building envelope intact. The vibrations resulting from earth-quakes can also be highly damaging to glass. ACE safety laminate helps to dampen vibrations and therefore have the potential to reduce damage.

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My client is a school board looking to create a safe facility that can be secured against active-shooter type events. Can a non-ballistic application of ACE laminates help prevent breach into the school?

In short, YES. A non-ballistic application of ACE 200 Series or 300 Series laminates can help retain the structural integrity of a window or entranceway even if penetrated by gunfire and provide resistance against an intruder thereby giving occupants time to move to safety and buying time for law enforcement to arrive.

As always, ACE cautions that no window security laminate (and in fact, no building product) can be considered break-proof, bullet-proof or bomb-proof. A breach may ultimately occur depending on the method and violence of the attack. However, ACE 300 Series laminates have been tested to the UL-S332 standard test method for Burglary Resistant Glazing Material and shown to be effective at reinforcing glass.

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My clients include school boards and municipal agencies who are concerned about fire ratings. Are ACE laminates fire tested?

ACE security laminates have been tested to the ASTM E84 Standardized Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials which is the test methodology generally cited in American building codes. ASTM E84 is considered generally comparable to ULC-S012 which is the methodology cited by most Canadian building codes. Tested to the ASTM E84 protocol, ACE laminates have demonstrated a slow burn rate and smoke generation rate. Genuine copies of ACE testing reports are available upon client request.

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Can ACE laminates secure Wired Glass in my school?

In the United States, the 2006 International Building Code (IBC) effectively banned the use of Wired Glass. Across North America, thousands of schools have legacy doors and windows which have been grand-fathered despite these changes to the building code.

The wires embedded in wired glass act as a discontinuity which actually makes the glass weaker. Further, in events of breakage, it can create a mesh entrapping limbs and resulting in injury.

While the ideal solution lies in the full replacement of wired glass in schools, the prevalence of legacy windows and doors presents a logistical and financial challenge in doing so.

ACE’s 200 Series SL09 or 300 Series SL14 security laminates can be an effective means of reinforcing your currently installed legacy stock of wired glass.

ACE’s SL14 security laminates are tested to both the ANSI-Z97.1 and CPSC Title 16 CFR Part 1201 standard test methods for impact resistant glazing which are the test methods cited by the US Building Code for safety glazing systems.

Further, ACE security laminates are tested to the ASTM-E84 surface burn and smoke generation test standard.

Copies of these tests are available to school boards, consultants and architecture firms upon request.

Together, this body of testing will meet the needs of most school boards and municipalities when it comes to testing of building materials used in public spaces.

Call ACE for further details.

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How do I put ACE 300 Series laminates in a project specification? Part 1. Getting the real ACE.

There are primarily two things you will wish to know about specifying ACE security laminates. First, you will want to protect clients from the use of counterfeit products and un-authorized product substitution. Second, you will want to determine and document clearly the security level you wish to attain.

Counterfeiting of ACE security laminates and un-authorized product substitution are serious problems faced by ACE and its clients. Given the security implications involved, you will wish to ensure your clients are protected from these threats by unethical or merely confused contractors.

Document clearly on project specifications that general contractors will be required to contact ACE through its head office which can be found at USace.com. Require that the winning contractor be required to demonstrate proof of purchase which can be confirmed by ACE.

If the project is for a government facility where sole-sourcing is not permitted, document clearly the performance criteria specified and require that general contractors procure products from security laminate and/or film vendors who are able to supply verifiable true-copies of the performance test results as tested by an accredited laboratory. Advise clients that they will wish to contact the testing laboratory to confirm the authenticity of the documentation provided.

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How do I put ACE 300 Series laminates in a project specification? Part 2. Documenting threat levels.

You will wish to document clearly the threat level your client wishes to meet and mitigate.

Essentially, there are three levels of threats clients seek to protect themselves with when using ACE security laminates. These are:

  • Burglary / aggressive forced entry
  • Bomb blast / IED protection
  • Ballistic threats

ACE 200 Series SL09 or 300 Series SL14 security laminates provide excellent protection from forced entry, burglary and bomb blast / IED threats. Both products have been used extensively for these threats by clients including embassies, major corporations, government agencies, retailers, schools and homeowners.

In terms of relative strength, ACE 300 Series SL14 is approximately 50% stronger than the 200 Series SL09. ACE can advise on strategies and approaches which will help clients meet their goals in the most cost-effective way. Call us during North American business hours at 888-607-000 or 613-237-0000 to discuss your needs with one of our engineers.

Regarding ballistic threats, ACE 300 Series laminates can be applied in a customized manner to mitigate a variety and range of threats. In specifying threat levels, you will ideally wish to cite a recognized standard such as the UL-752 or NIJ 0108.01 ballistic standard.

Also, you will wish to note that ACE security laminates work in conjunction with the base glass to form an overall ballistic-resistant glass-laminate assembly. As such, the composition of the base glass is an important factor in determining the level of ballistic resistance that can be attained.

Call us during North American business hours at 888-607-000 or 613-237-0000 to discuss your needs with one of our engineers.

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General Knowledge

What is the difference between regular window tint and ACE safety laminate?

ACE security laminates are up to seven times thicker than some window tints. In addition, our safety laminate uses a pressure sensitive adhesive that forms a physical bond with glass. The combination of increased thickness and an aggressive adhesive greatly increases the film’s ability to absorb the energy of an impact and keep glass intact.  Unlike ordinary window films, ACE security laminates are designed to resist impact related forces.

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What level of bullet resistance can you provide?

ACE laminates can attain almost any level of bullet resistance, up to and including protection from 7.62 x 51 NATO AP ammunition. It should be noted that ACE laminates work in conjunction with the glass substrate to create an overall ballistic assembly comprised of both glass and laminate. Subsequently, higher levels of bullet resistance will require a thicker glass base. On standard commercial grade ¼ inch glass, ACE is routinely providing protection to UL Level 1 which is a highly functional level of protection against handguns. As each project is evaluated by our in-house Technical, Ballistics and Threat Assessment team on a case-by-case basis, we encourage clients to contact us to discuss their specific needs.

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Why is there a small gap between the edge of the film and the frame edge of glass?

There has to be a small gap (1/16 – 1/8 inch) along the edge to allow for the removal of the ‘slip solution’ used when installing our ACE safety laminates. Also, in warm temperatures the film can expand. If there is no room for it to expand it will touch the edge of the frame and lift off the glass causing a “finger” to appear which means the film will have to be replaced. There is no compromise to the protection provided by leaving this gap as glass does not break in a straight line (in other words, it won’t break along the unprotected glass). Rather, the shatter lines in glass will direct the energy into the middle of the window pane which is protected.

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Will the installation be noticeable once installed?

ACE security laminates are optically clear. If installed to factory specifications, the installation should be perfectly, optically clear. There may be some minor reduction in optical clarity with some ballistic applications.

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Will ACE safety laminate make my windows hurricane proof? Earth-quake proof? Burglar-proof?

No.

Security or safety laminate is hurricane-proof, earthquake-proof or burglar-proof. ACE security laminates are designed to make the window glass more shatter-resistant. In the event of a wind storm, these films may have significant safety and security value. They can reduce the risk of injury from flying shards of broken glass, and possibly help prevent debris and water penetration through the window depending on the severity of the storm (and the type of glass, framing system, size and velocity of objects, and more).In an earthquake, these films can reduce the risk of serious injury from flying shards of broken glass, and possibly prevent glass from falling out of a home or building. Again, much may depend upon the severity of the quake (and the type of glass, framing system, and more).

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If a competitor’s film is just as thick, will it be just as strong as ACE?

Different grades of window security laminate and window film are often categorized by their thickness which is measured in an Imperial unit of measure called mils. One mil is one-one-thousandth (1/1,000) of an inch. Note: a mil (which is an Imperial unity of measure) is not the same as a millimetre (which is a metric unit). Practically speaking, a 14 mil film will be about half the thickness of a credit card.

Manufacturers and suppliers often refer to the grade of a window film by its thickness. The implied assumption is that thicker is better AND that all films and laminates of the same thickness work the same and are just as good as the next.

This is not necessarily the case.

Why? There are several factors that contribute to performance and strength once a film is applied to a window.

Factor #1: The quality of the adhesives used. Good quality adhesives will stick better and hold the window together longer when under attack. The best quality adhesives such as pressure sensitive adhesives bond best to the glass and actually absorb and distribute kinetic energy.

Factor #2: The quality of the polyester (PET) used in the film. Simply put, the best quality PET will combine all of the best aspects of clarity, flexibility and strength. Often, there is a trade-off between flexibility and strength. The trick is to find the best balance of these two performance factors.

Factor #3: The laminate is designed to absorb and disperse energy. A true window security laminate will be comprised of multiple plies of PET. Each of these plies will be aligned in a manner that best optimizes the absorption and disbursement of kinetic energy. While unseen to the naked eye, this alignment is a critical performance factor.

All of these factors work together to optimize performance. Just because a window film is thick does not mean it is architected and assembled with these other design considerations.

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If the product brochure says a competitor’s film has the same break strength as ACE security laminates, is it just as good as ACE?

Most window films sold for safety or security applications will have a break-strength quoted on their product specifications or brochure. Consumers reasonably assume that this figure is indicative of performance and security. The problem is, this is not the case.
The break strength quoted in product specs and brochures is the beak strength of the raw polyester substrate used in the construction of the window film or laminate. Because the polyester used in films and laminates is often highly similar, the break strengths of the raw substrate will be similar. But this does not mean all films and laminates will perform the same once applied to glass.

Why?
There are other factors that ultimately determine performance and the ability to protect glass once applied. The entire assembly of window film or laminate has to be taken into consideration. Ultimately, performance is a factor of: quality of the adhesives, quality of the polyester and, in a true laminate, the orientation of the individual plies of polyester.

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Can ACE laminates secure my patio doors?

ACE security laminates can secure patio doors.  However, homeowners will need to know that the panes in patio doors are made of tempered glass.  Tempered glass (like the glass in cars which, when broken, breaks into hundreds of pieces) is designed to break as a safety feature intended to reduce catastrophic injury (for instance when someone accidentally walks into a pane of glass with force).  Because tempered glass is designed to break, there is a risk that patio doors protected by ACE laminates can merely “cascade” down if attacked.  There’s two solutions to this.  First, the glass can be replaced with annealed plate glass and protected with ACE laminates.  Your local glazier can provide a quote for this.  If the tempered glass is replaced with annealed glass, you will wish to have the new pane covered with ACE laminates as soon as possible to protect people from possible injury.  Second, if tempered glass is being treated, removing the aluminum side stops (these are the brackets which hold the glass pane in place) and treating the entire window pane and then replacing the stops would help “anchor” the laminate in place.  This would create a greater amount of “bite” for the laminate if the doors were attacked.  Finally, as a third option, a structural sealant could be used to secure the laminate and glass to the stops.  The sealant would be applied after the laminate had adequate time to cure (a week or two).  A quality structural sealant can be bought at any hardware store.

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Installation

Which side of the window do you apply ACE security laminates on? Is it both sides?

ACE laminates are installed on what is referred to as “Surface 2” of the window. “Surface 2” is the side of the window / glass which is on the interior of the building.

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What happens if you don’t have an installer in my area?

ACE undertakes projects around the world. Upon discussing your scope of work, we can help you best assess how we will conduct your project.

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Can I hire a local window tint company to install ACE security laminates?

While ACE security laminates and window tints appear to be similar given that they are both films which are applied to glass, their underlying design and architecture are quite different. On those occasions when customers have hired window tint companies to install our product, the results have often been poor given that window tint installers have a tendency to install our product like tint. If an ACE installer is not available, ACE would recommend hiring a trusted contractor or maintenance person. ACE would be pleased to discuss with you the best way to undertake your project.

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Do I need to use caulking or a sealant with ACE security laminates?

While a high quality structural sealant can add significant reinforcement to a window protected with a film, most ACE projects are undertaken without the use of a sealant or caulking. Historically, sealant has been used to artificially enhance the performance of under-performing films during testing. Again, most commercial applications will not require the use of a structural sealant when using ACE security laminates. There are cases when it can be beneficial and ACE would be pleased to discuss this requirement with you.

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How long do ACE security laminates take to cure?

ACE laminates are generally at 70% strength when they are first applied. The remaining performance is gained as the installation cures and the adhesives bond to the glass. Depending on the window’s exposure to sunlight and the amount of moisture left behind after installation, the film can take between 30 – 90 days to fully cure. During this curing process, excess moisture (which can resemble small pockets of water or haziness) will disappear and the film should appear clear.

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Can I install ACE security laminates myself?

Yes.

There are a number of ways ACE can help you undertake your project successfully. If provided with accurate window measurements (measuring the glass edge-to-edge), ACE can pre-cut the material for you to size which will simplify the procedure for you. ACE has helped numerous clients undertake projects successfully in this manner.

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Can ACE security laminates be installed over existing tint, stickers or decals on my windows?

No.

Any material adhered to the inside surface of the glass must be removed in order to properly install our ACE laminates.

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Why is there a small gap between the edge of the film and the frame edge of glass?

There has to be a small gap (1/16 – 1/8 inch) along the edge to allow for the removal of the ‘slip solution’ used when installing our ACE safety laminates. Also, in warm temperatures the film can expand. If there is no room for it to expand it will touch the edge of the frame and lift off the glass causing a “finger” to appear which means the film will have to be replaced. There is no compromise to the protection provided by leaving this gap as glass does not break in a straight line (in other words, it won’t break along the unprotected glass). Rather, the shatter lines in glass will direct the energy into the middle of the window pane which is protected.

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How do I prepare the windows and room for installation?

You will want to leave approximately 3 feet of space in front of the window to install the safety laminate. In addition, all window treatments like blinds and shades should be removed prior to installation. Since you will be spraying the window with slip solution (mixture of distilled water and slip agent) it is recommended to use a drop cloth under the window to protect the furniture and floors. The window should be thoroughly cleaned according to the installation instructions, and any tint, decals, stickers, etc. removed. You may also wish to turn off any fans, air conditioners or, in winter, venting systems as the increased air flow may blow dust particles onto the windows which, if not removed, leave small blemishes in the installation. If you have pets, you may also wish to have them removed from the area. A quick vacuuming of the window area will also reduce the potential for dust contamination.

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Maintenance

How should I clean my windows after ace safety laminates are applied?

Do not wash windows treated for 30 days after installation to allow for curing of our film. After this period, common glass cleaning solutions such as water, water/ alcohol mixtures or ammonia based mixtures – which do not contain abrasive materials – may be used. Use a soft cloth, paper towel or squeegee. Do not use any material that is abrasive.

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