Laminated glass is strong, but it’s not unbreakable. That was evident on Oct. 28, 2022, when an intruder broke into the San Francisco home of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul. The attacker gained entry through a laminated glass door at the back of the home, authorities claim. Speaker Pelosi was not home but Paul Pelosi was seriously injured during the attack.

How Did David DePape Break In?

The suspect, David DePape, told officers in a recorded interview that he broke through a glass door in the home using a hammer. The Los Angeles Times reports that body-camera footage from police showed a broken laminated glass door near the back porch of the home.

Laminated glass is a safety glass that is produced by pressing a plastic interlayer between two lites of glass. If the glass breaks, the interlayer holds the entire part together and provides residual load-bearing capacity. This prevents a hole from being created through which someone can penetrate.

However, if someone attempts to break through laminated security glass, any impact will damage the glass, says Patrisia Yanez, an architectural technical support specialist at Cristacurva.

“There is no doubt in that,” she adds. “Especially with a continuing effort to gain entry. With the rise in security concerns, we see many increasingly move away from standard safety monolithic glass. There are even different types of interlayers to add to the strengthening of the laminated glass, i.e., structural interlayers like SentryGlas from Kuraray. These sorts of interlayers are used for heavier impact resistance needs and requirements.”

Yanez says that laminated glass is good at delaying forced entries, but not stopping them.

“Comparing safety laminated glass to safety monolithic glass, there is no doubt it is highly effective at delaying forced entries,” says Yanez.

The exact type of glass used at the Pelosi home is unknown and will more than likely stay confidential for safety reasons. You can view the broken glass door here.

3 Comments

  1. What type of material was the door constructed:
    1) Wood?
    2) Aluminum
    3) Steel?
    How was the glass glazed into the door?
    1) Marine glazed?
    2) Sash?
    3) Snap-in glass stops.

  2. More curious is that all of the glass shards are outside the house. Suggesting that the breakage happened from inside. Especially if it was Laminated safety glass.

  3. Looks to me like there is broken glass on both sides, which is what I would expect with laminated glass. The broken glass from the outer lite (layer) that is hit directly by the hammer would fall to the outside because the plastic middle lamination would not allow it to fall to the inside until it is punched through, which takes great effort. After beating it hard and long enough, the inside lite (layer) will break and fall to the inside.

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