Will Huge Glass Panels Work in the Philippines?

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Image from 36inc.com

It’s so tempting to design a house with huge glass panels all around because of its aesthetic effect. Especially so if the location affords a good view of the outdoors, like a rest house in Tagaytay or Baguio overlooking a mountainous scenery. Or, a house right here in Metro Manila overlooking a grand cityscape.

But the problem always is security. It’s also so tempting for mischievous passersby or prowlers to throw a stone at your glass panels and ruin everything. How do you prevent this from happening? Putting a high fence around the house and setting it far back defeats the purpose of a glass paneled house. What’s the glass panels for? To see your high fence from inside your house? Well, probably, if you have a spacious property and the surroundings are nicely landscaped.

But what if you live in the suburbs with regular 200-square-meter lot cuts?

The solution is applying tempered glass panels.

Tempered or toughened glass is made through a thermal or chemical process to make the glass tougher. Thermal treatment involves extreme heating and rapid cooling. The process makes the glass 4 to 5 times stronger than ordinary glass. However, most tempered glass can still break.although they fracture into small harmless pieces for safety purposes.

If you want to use huge glass panels in exposed environments, then armored glass is what you need. An 24 mm thick armored glass panel certified Protection Class 3. An 8 mm thick Hammerglass pane is an example. A full-swing baseball bat strike or a stone thrown at full force on this glass pane supposedly has no effect.

However, as of this writing, there are no armored glass panels available in the Philippines on Google. Tempered glass is available however, but I think only in limited sizes. If you want to rest assured that your huge glass panels won’t be vandalized or broken into, you need armored glass panels.

I’ve seen several daring houses in Quezon City paneled with glasses and set far back from the street (but still within easy stone-throwing distance). The glasses are probably either ordinary thick glass panels or tempered ones. But I wonder how they’d fare should an idiot fire his gun and hit them.Or if a smart Aleck aims his loaded slingshot at it and fires away.

But worse than having your glass panels broken by vandals is being broken into by burglars. That’s what you don’t want to happen with your ordinary glass or even tempered glass panels.

A more apt glass material would be ballistic glass or transparent armor glass panels. These are  bulletproof glass panels typically used for jewelry stores, embassies or armored cars. With this type of glass, huge glass panels all over a house facade will definitely work in the Philippines, though entailing quite an expense.

A cheaper (though not really cheap alternative) is transparent fiberglass panels. You may even opt for 1.5 mm thick clear fiberglass roofing sheets 1 sq.m. in size (or have them tailored to a bigger size). At least, it would be cheaper than a bulletproof glass panel.

But for me, the best alternative is to use ordinary exterior glass panels but complement them with steel frames you can slide in and out. If you want to enjoy full and unhampered view of the outdoors with your huge glass panels, simply slide the steel frame protecting it out of sight. Then, when evening falls, simply slide the steel frame back to position. That protects you and your family from burglars, though not from bullets and slingshots.

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