Ballistic Fiberglass Installation
Of all the methods of armoring the walls of a room, ballistic fiberglass offers a combination of the most inexpensive and convenient options.
Unlike steel and other traditional ballistic materials, contractors can cut our panels on site with proper tools. These modular panels are placed inside newly built walls or placed on top of existing walls and painted or covered. We offer nine standard, convenient sizes.
Bullet resistant panels are simple to work with: almost any contractor familiar with installing drywall can install a fiberglass bullet resistant panel, as well.
Most commonly, clients install ballistic drywall to walls with screws driven into wall studs, whether metal or wood. Self-tapping drywall screws are sufficient. If drywall is to cover the ballistic panel, then a complete screw pattern can be driver through both materials into the studs.
We recommend first drilling pilot holes with a carbide tip drill when dealing with ballistic fiberglass panels greater than 1″ thick. This preparation allows for more effortless drilling of screws into the panel.
Another option for bullet-resistant fiberglass installation is adhesives. One product available is PL Premium Polyurethane Construction Adhesive. For stronger adhesion to non-porous substrates, such as aluminum, steel, and stainless steel, or bonding one panel to another, we recommend a 2-part Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) adhesive, such as Plexus MA 320. Adhesives are advantageous in applications where wall studs aren’t available, such as applying ballistic panels to furniture.
Installing Ballistic Fiberglass In Existing Walls (Retrofitting)
Contractors can easily armor existing walls by placing bulletproof fiberglass panels over them. Needing to install armoring to an existing wall is often the case for clients, ranging from homeowners to police stations to government buildings.
Contractors attach our ballistic panels to existing walls, similar to how they would for a new wall. Place the panels over the existing drywall. Self-tapping drywall screws are then drilled into the ballistic fiberglass and through the drywall into the stud behind them. In other cases, construction adhesives (as described above) are used.
Since these ballistic panels are exposed, we recommend painting them since touching fiberglass fibers can lead to minor skin irritation. One can also easily clad them with any facade of their choosing – such as an engineered wood grain – to provide an attractive look.
Installation onto an existing wall requires limited adjustment and provides the same high-level security, though it results in a slightly thicker wall.
A circular saw with a diamond grit blade is the typical way to make large cuts in a ballistic fiberglass panel. If making many cuts in thicker level material, you may need more than one blade for multiple panels. When cutting fiberglass, ensure you follow proper safety protection, as summarized above.
Small Cuts (e.g. electrical cut-outs)
For smaller size cuts, such as for electrical outlets or pass-through drawers, a diamond grit saw blade on a reciprocating saw is a suitable method.
Seams And Corners
The seam formed by two panels meet could be a vulnerability in protection, but it is a very improbable one. Therefore, using a batten strip is ideal. About 40% of clients do so.
A batten strip is merely a 4″ wide post of the same material. THe strip covers the seam, overlapping each panel by 2″. Strategically notching a spot in the bottom plate where the batten strips line up allows you to avoid creating an uneven wall surface. Also, make sure where your panels meet is offset from the location of vertical wall studs.
Where panels meet at a 90-degree angle, no extra protection is needed –so long that the panels overlap, as shown in the diagram to the right.
It is ideal to cover cut-outs, such as electrical boxes, with a small square of extra ballistic material that spans the length between two studs.
Contractors can cut bullet-resistant fiberglass to size, but – like all fiberglass – the material can irritate the skin.
When the ballistic material is sawed, drilled, or cut in any manner that creates dust, skin irritation can occur. Dust can irritate eyes, as well.
When creating dust from this product, wear a respirator mask, safety glasses or goggles, and protective clothing to avoid skin or respiratory irritation.
For general handling, such as moving panels, we recommended wearing leather gloves to avoid irritation of fibers on hands.