When we talk to our clients about creating fortified (and at times, bulletproof) homes, they typically ask about windows and doors. They want to know how they can ensure the absolute safety of their families in the unfortunate event of a home invasion.
We tell them about how our windows are made — how they’re triple-layered and bulletproof, but still beautiful. We show them galleries full of gorgeous fixed and casement windows that add elegance and grandeur to any space.
We discuss our high security doors at length because frankly, there’s a lot to talk about. While most of them are made from steel at their core, there is an endless combination of coverings our clients can choose from to create a look as unique as they are. We can do single, double, pivot, or French doors — with or without the same bulletproof security glass we use for our windows.
These discussions often lead to our Sanctuary system that turns your bedroom (or a wing of your home, or the entire home) into a safe room. Using a combination of doors and windows, we can ensure that no one is getting into your bedroom unless you specifically allow it. We often use keyless entry on our bedroom doors, which can include state-of-the-art biometric scans — a fingertip, a face, an iris — so the homeowner doesn’t have to carry around a key to their own bedroom.
Once you’re in the room, the windows will keep anyone from climbing a ladder and breaking in, or attempting to smash it with something heavy or blunt. There’s really no match for our bullet-resistant glass. Axes, sledgehammers, bullets, you name it — it’s not getting through. You can be sure that nobody will kick down those doors. It’s just not possible. If they try, they’re more likely to end up with broken legs.
For many homeowners, this is sufficient to feeling safe and sound at home. They’re not worried about someone shooting at them so much as they want to keep their bedrooms safe at night while they’re sleeping and less aware of their surroundings. However, others are worried about bullets.
What’s the point of high security doors and windows if someone can just shoot through the walls?
It’s a valid question. Typical construction materials like drywall, plastic, cinder blocks, and cement don’t necessarily stop bullets. In fact, depending on the weapon, some of the softer materials shred like paper.
If you want your home to be secure — but also bulletproof — we’ve got the perfect solution. We work closely with a company named GigaCrete to supply our customers with a product called BallistiCrete.
What is BallistiCrete?
BallistiCrete is a protective coating that can be plastered or sprayed onto interior walls. This coating looks completely natural and can be the final finish, although paint will adhere to it and can be applied after the product has completely cured. It can be applied in various thicknesses — and it probably goes without saying that the thicker the coating, the more protection it offers. BallistiCrete can be layered at 3/8″ at a time, building up to the desired thickness based on the level of protection required. BallistiCrete is designed like most other high security measures: to blend in and be discreet. The application looks much like any regular home or office building procedure. Installation experts arrive with equipment that looks like they’re there to paint or smooth mud over drywall. The product itself is mixed onsite, so there are no obviously marked boxes or products being hauled in to alert people to your security measures. They go inside, mix up the BallistiCrete, finish their installation, and they’re gone. They can even create a textured finish if you’d like. And just like that, your home, office, bedroom, or any other space you can think of, is bulletproof.
How Much Protection Can BallistiCrete Provide?
BallistiCrete meets the body armor performance standards set by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) for protection Levels 3 and 4. Between the two levels, this covers all handgun bullets, as well as most rifle bullets — including some rounds that are designed to pierce armor. The NIJ has only five (5) levels — 4 being the highest, offering the most protection from bullets.
Michael Johnson with GigaCrete says that there have been some large-scale trials recently involving blast testing. While they’re still in the testing phases, he was able to give us a hint as to what they’re working on: “We’ve tested three different types of explosives — up to 850 grams — and there has been no penetration into the structure.”
While we’d hope no one is too substantially worried about bombs going off outside their homes or offices, we recognize that isn’t always the case. In the U.S., we’ve been lucky thus far, but many parts of the world are used to bomb blasts outside their doors.
If you’re interested in creating a bulletproof home, BallistiCrete really is the best protection you can get for yourself and your family.
What Surfaces Can it Adhere to?
BallistiCrete can adhere to almost any surface, and pretty much all construction materials that walls are made of — cinder block, drywall, plaster, stucco, etc. The substance works by literally growing into the substrate, which is the underlying material of the wall, such as cement and cinders (cinder block), gypsum (drywall and plaster), and sand (stucco). Johnson says that the only surface it cannot bond to is metal. “[BallistiCrete] follows a crystalline growth pattern and literally grows into the substrate so it forms a permanent bond.”Most finished wall construction materials aren’t made of metal — walls often have metal in them, but in beams used to support the weight of the structure. The final material on the wall will cover that metal, so it’s unlikely that you’ll come across this issue, but it’s an important one to keep in mind — just in case.
Will it Affect My Interior Design Plans?
In short — no. Absolutely not. Johnson says that you can drill holes through BallistiCrete to hang photos or artwork, just like you would on any other wall. “It has all the attributes of a standard building product — it can be the final finish on a wall if that’s what you want.” But of course, you can always paint over it (the paint will adhere just fine). Again, keeping your security measures a closely guarded secret is of the utmost importance, and BallistiCrete fits that bill perfectly. No one looking at your walls or keeping an unwanted eye on your construction will have any idea that anything special is happening. For us, BallistiCrete is another product that can give you the home of your dreams without making compromises. After all, if you’re going to spend the money to build (or rehab) your dream home, you shouldn’t have to give up anything you want. Yes, you really can make your home bulletproof without sacrificing your design aesthetic or decor goals.
Where Has BallistiCrete Been Installed?
Johnson says BallistiCrete has been installed in obvious places, as well as some not-so-obvious. While they certainly install it in homes, the more common structures are actually places like judges chambers, places of worship, police departments, TSA, airport terminals, and businesses. He even said their clients have included Doomsday Preppers, as well as some international clients. Another (unfortunately) obvious place for BallistiCrete these days is in schools. Johnson said they’ve had discussions with some school systems about installing the product on their walls, but it’s a matter of where, when, how they’ll do it without alarming everyone, and of course, the idea of whether or not they want to keep it a secret.
The extremely sad fact of the matter is that it’s a necessary consideration at this point in the United States of America. While we can’t provide you with an exact estimate of cost (Johnson says the cost varies based on the substrate and the thickness desired,) what we can tell you is that it’s not as expensive as you might think. For more information, check out our BallistiCrete page.
BallistiCrete is something that could be installed over the summer when students aren’t around, and it wouldn’t look like anything special was being done — just regular, routine maintenance like painting or wall repairs.
The Sustainability of BallistiCrete
One of the coolest things about BallistiCrete (aside from you know… the fact that it makes your home bulletproof) is that it was invented with the environment in mind. The inventor, Andrew C. Dennis, is environmentally conscious at his core and simply didn’t want to develop a product that caused harm to the planet or to the people who would make it be around it on a daily basis. BallistiCrete (as well as GigaCrete’s other products: StuccoMax and PlasterMax, also developed by Dennis) produces zero VOC (volatile organic compound) and specifically doesn’t use any cement (it’s the third largest industrial pollutant, according to the Environmental Protection Agency) or plaster because it oftentimes includes silica sand, which has been reliably linked to cancer.While sustainability may not be your deciding factor when choosing to bulletproof your home, BallistiCrete is a product you can feel good about because it won’t do any harm to the people making it or living with it.
Serving the Miami-Dade Area
FBS serves a lot of people in Miami-Dade County and the surrounding areas by virtue of the fact that we’re headquartered there. We talk a lot about fortifying homes for hurricanes via our high security doors and windows (all of our doors are now hurricane certified!), but that won’t do you any good if your doors are left intact but your walls are ripped to shreds.GigaCrete offers a product called GigaHouse, which is their StuccoMax (exterior coating) and PlasterMax (interior coating) combined. This is the bulk of their business, and something we frequently talk to our coastal customers about.The exciting part about this is that the GigaHouse has officially passed the Miami-Dade County test for a Category 5 Hurricane, holding up through 245mph sustained winds. They can now build hurricane proof homes in south Florida, helping people feel safer as hurricanes grow stronger and less predictable.
Perfecting the Art of Security
We enjoy our partnership with GigaCrete for many reasons — of course, because they’re lovely people who are easy to work with, but also because the products they sell are such high quality. The pride they have in their work is unmatched — you can hear it in their voices when you talk to them. They’re like us, but for walls. GigaCrete has helped us create luxury homes for clients with an extra need to feel safe within their own walls. We can make all the doors and windows they want, but if someone approaches their home with a rifle, the walls are the weakest point. BallistiCrete solves that issue in under an hour, and we think it’s completely worth it. Just picture it: You come home after a long day at work, walk through your keyless entry motorized pivot door that automatically closes and locks behind you, pour a drink, and let the stress melt off of you. You’re home, where you can completely relax, not worrying about a single thing in the world besides that show on Netflix you’ve been binge-watching. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s not. We promise. All of this is not only within reach, but it will be fun to design and implement.If you’re looking to fortify your new luxury home or upgrade your current home, get in touch with us today to discuss your options. Feel free to give us a call, make an appointment to stop by one of our showrooms, or check out our common questions page to look for answers we may have already compiled.Our goal is to help you create your dream home, complete with security measures you require to feel completely safe and at peace when you’re there. Your home should be your sanctuary, but we believe that should include the knowledge that no one is getting in who you haven’t specifically allowed. And you deserve that peace of mind, don’t you?