What is window film?
Window film is a polyester based film that is applied to flat glass or any type of glass surface. It is generally designed to reduce heat energy particularly, solar heat energy, as well as giving a building a certain type of aesthetic image. The materials used range from various components such as metals, ceramics, and different dyed materials. There are films designed for security protection from glass shattering, blast mitigation films to prevent collateral damage caused by flying glass debris, and decorative films designed to give glass a certain appeal or look in both commercial and residential applications.
How does it work?
Window films work by reflecting the solar energy away from the home or business. Some films have a reflective or shiny appearance and reflect visible light away. Other films work by reflecting Infrared light away. Infrared light is a non-visible light that causes the majority of solar heat gain. These infrared reducing films block little visible light and add very little reflection to the windows keeping visibility as clear as possible
Isn’t Window Film Expensive?
The average installation costs less than most other window treatments. Actually, your investment in window film will return dividends in the form of reduced air conditioning and heating costs, and protection against costly fading.
Will Window Tinting Stop The Sun From Fading Fabrics?
There are six factors affecting fabric fading:
- Ultraviolet Light
- Visible Light
- Heat and Humidity
- Chemical Vapors (including ozone)
- Age of Fabric
- Dye Fastness
Clear single pane glass (1/8″ to 1/4″) will reject 23–28% of the ultraviolet light from the sun. Insulated glass is slightly better, rejecting 36–41%. Our window films installed on glass reject at least 99% of solar ultraviolet light. Different types of clear glass and window systems will reject 13– 29% of the solar heat. With window films, 80% of solar heat can be rejected. No window film can completely eliminate fading. It can, however, offer maximum protection from fading due to solar ultraviolet light and solar heat.
How Long Will My New Window Film Last?
The effective life of window film will vary by the type of film, type of glass, window construction, compass orientation of glass, and in which part of the world the building is located. There are documented cases of film lasting 20 to 25 years or more in some instances.
All quality window films for residential and commercial use are warranted by the film manufacturers for a minimum of five years. Most commercial installations have a ten to fifteen year warranty. Most residential applications have a life-time warranty. The warranty includes an address to contact the manufacturer directly should any questions arise either before or after the installation of the window film.
Are There Any Special Cleaning Instructions?
Windows with film applied are easily cleaned without damage to their appearance as long as a few common-sense guidelines are followed:
- Use a soft clean cloth, soft paper towel, or clean synthetic sponge.
- Use a soft cloth or squeegee for drying the window.
- Use any normal glass cleaning solution which contains no abrasive materials.
The availability of scratch resistant coatings as a standard feature of quality films has virtually eliminated the need for extra special precautions in cleaning.
Will Window Film Kill My House Plants?
In most cases if a house plant is already receiving adequate light, the use of window film will not harm it. New growth or flowering may be retarded, and, for a few days, a plant may go into a state of shock while it adjusts to the light change. If a particular plant normally wilts by the end of a sunny day, it will actually thrive better with film installed. Although there are some obvious guidelines in determining what, if any, effect window film will have on a plant (for instance, dark green plants need less light than lighter colored ones), there is one sample test which can be done prior to film installation: merely move the plant to an area with less sunlight for a few days. In addition, most nurseries or local agriculture agencies can advise you whether a particular plant needs closer to maximal or minimal light.
Will the window film turn purple like it did on my car?
Automotive films are dyed, metal alloys or a combination of the two. All products with dye will turn purple after time. This is a natural process of fading of the dyes. We do not apply automotive films to homes or offices. Films that are used for residential and commercial applications consist of metal alloys and ceramics. Metal alloys and ceramics are more color stable and do not turn colors after time.
What is the difference between residential and commercial window films?
Most reasons for applying window film to office is for heat and glare. The glare is so intense that one is unable to see their computer monitors, and the heat is unbearable. Commercial films are usually dark and reflective. Residential films are lighter and less reflective. Our main goal is not to alter the appearance of the home. We want to enhance the appearance. Our most popular residential film, can reject up to 70% of the solar energy and is very light in shading.
My friend has solar screens. What is the difference?
Solar screens are screens mounted on the exterior of the home covering an entire window. There are various densities of screens, the darker the more heat absorbed. Unfortunately they are not optically clear to look through. They need cleaned periodically, which requires removing and then reinstalling them. They do break down due to the hot sun and inclement weather and will in time need to be replaced. Solar control window film is mounted on the interior panes of glass. Once installed, they are a part of the glass. They are optically clear and are much easier to clean. Since the films are mounted on the interior, they are not subject to inclement weather and will last much, much longer. Unlike solar screens, a wide array of window film choices are available.
Can Window Film Be Used On Low E Windows?
Whether window film should be used on low E windows and how much you will benefit depends on three factors:
- Type of low E surface used on glass.
- Location of low E surface in the window system.
- The desired amount of heat gain reduction, heat loss reduction, or other film benefits.
There are two basic types of low E surfaces on glass. One of these is a conductive coating put on glass as it is being made. It gives some heat loss reduction, but does little to reduce heat gain into a building. The second type is a more complex system of multiple layers of metals and conductive coatings deposited on glass after it has been made. This type of low E glass gives heat reductions of 30% to 50% in addition to reducing heat loss. Obviously there will be more heat gain reduction using film on the first type. If there is any question about the type you may have, ask your glass company or the window manufacturer to send you the specific information about your glass.
The location of the low E surface in your window system is also very important in deciding whether film should be used. If the low E coating is on the room-side surface of the innermost pane of glass, the use of window film may reduce or eliminate the heat loss reduction of the glass itself. This may be more than offset by the heat gain reduction/heat loss reduction properties of the films to be used. Most low E window systems, however, consist of double pane windows where the low E surface faces the air space between the panes. In this case, film can be installed without eliminating the heat loss reduction benefit of the low E glass. The type of window film you choose for low E glass depends entirely on your desired benefit –whether you want to reduce heat gain, control glare, prevent heat loss, reduce fading or enhance the safety of your windows and glass doors. Carefully consider all these benefits before making a final decision.
Will Window Films Cause Glass To Break?
Glass breaks when stressed. There are five types of stress which may cause glass breakage:
- Thermal Stress–from absorption of solar radiation.
- Tensile Stress–from the weight of the glass itself.
- Mechanical Flexing Stress–from wind.
- Impact Stress–from flying objects, hail, baseballs.
- Twisting Stress–from building or window frame sagging or settling.
The first type, thermal stress, is the only one which film may affect. The use of window films will increase the thermal stress on sunlit glass. However, there are also other factors which will increase thermal stress such as: partial shading of windows from overhangs, tightly fitting drapes or blinds, signs or decals on windows, heating and cooling vents directed at glass. In addition, different types of glass (annealed versus tempered, clear versus tinted) have different solar absorption rates and will withstand different degrees of thermal stress.
The window film manufacturers have recommended film-to-glass tables for use by factory-trained dealer installers. If a consumer is ever in doubt, he/she should request a copy of such guidelines. Listed are some glass types or conditions where the use of a solar control (not clear safety) type of window film is not recommended without extreme caution.
- Single pane glass larger than 100 square feet.
- Double pane glass larger than 40 square feet.
- Clear glass thicker than 3/8 inch.
- Tinted glass thicker than 1/4 inch.
- Window framing systems of concrete, solid aluminum, or solid steel.
- Glass where sealant or glazing compound has hardened.
- Visibly chipped, cracked or otherwise damaged glass.
- Reflective, wired, textured, or patterned glass.
- Triple pane glass.
- Laminated glass windows