Residential Window Film 101: All You Need To Know

Fundamental Window film information for businesses, homeowners, and property owners who want to increase the comfort & security of their building while saving energy

When was the last time you bought a window film? Bet it was a long time ago.

A window film is a long-term investment for homes and businesses. Hence it is basic to know all about it. While the cost is part of the decision, there’s more to window film than price. To ensure you get the best from your window film, the following details the pros, cons, and best material for a window film for the project. We will add a little bit on how it is made, installed, and its performance.

We will also add in a few FAQs just to cover anything we missed in the article. Window film is a versatile accessory with an extensive application for various purposes.

Window films will protect your windows from weather elements, reduce sun rays coming in, and increase privacy for residences and commercial buildings.

Carolina Premier Window Films is your number one provider of premium quality window film for various uses.

We are a family-owned business with extensive experience in delivering excellence.
In fact, we have installed over 1,000,000 sq. ft of window film. We have installed rolls of window films at small businesses, schools, corporate organizations, commercial centers, and residential premises. With every installation, we strive for more – to know more and deliver better service to our clients. Today, we are the best in the industry. We have the experience, team, professionalism, crafts, and confidence to tackle any project. Basically, we are the expert in the window film service industry.

Who or what does the word expert mean?

Here is a definition:
It is an individual who has a broad and reliable knowledge of skill/talent in a specific area.
After providing window film solutions for thousands of windows, we want to share our knowledge of window film installation.

This article is divided into six topics with an estimated reading time of 18 minutes. You can click on each section to go directly to a topic.
Part 1: Fundamentals of window films: definition, pros, type, and durability
Part 2: What window films cannot do
Part 3: Costs and pricing of window films
Part 4: How to select the right window film for the purpose
Part 5: Installing a window film: DIY vs. Pro
Part 6: FAQs

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PART 1: FUNDAMENTALS OF WINDOW FILMS

Part 1: Fundamentals of residential window films: definition, pros, type, and durability
There is a lot about window films, and in this section, we will discuss the following.
• What is a window film?
• Why you need a window film: Pros of window films
• Types of window films
• Are window films durable?
• How long do window films last?
• What windows are window films installed?

What is a window film?

This is a polyester coating applied to glass to reduce the amount of light passing through it. This is often referred to as tint.

Polyester is the base material for all window films and comes from a polymer called POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE or PET. PET is a combination of terephthalic acid and monoethylene glycol, both byproducts of petroleum processing.

Due to its optical properties and physical features, PET films have a broad/versatile use outside window film. As mentioned, it is a film (thin), but it is sturdy, tough, durable, stable, and adaptive to various manufacturing processes, including temperature, moisture, and solvents.

However, the main application of window film is to reduce light passing through glass and buildings. Aside from light reduction, window films also reduce heat and flare, prevent storm damage and vandalism.

Why you need a window film: Pros of window films
The notable pros of window film in homes, offices, and businesses are privacy, safety, protection, energy conservation, and health.

Window films are a life-changing product most people overlook, but once you read through the pros, give us a call and have yours installed by a professional team.

Pros – General
Window films enhance the appearance of your building as products are chosen to complement the exterior of your property. For commercial properties, the window film creates a modern and even look to the glass surface.

If you want to save energy and cut power expenses, window film can do that too at a reduced cost. Unlike most home improvement projects, you do not need to move out or disrupt your daily activities. Our installation team is professional, fast, and clean.

Security, safety, and privacy are pressing issues many homeowners and businesses battle with. First off, glass is fragile and will shatter, causing injuries.

However, with a security window film, shattered glass stays intact, reducing injuries and flying fragments.

Secondly, window films add a dark tinge or shadow effect to the glass, limiting light passage, increasing privacy and personal security from prying eyes. This also reduces theft, vandals, and burglars who are enticed by personal effects.

Increases external appearance and protection
If you are striving for a uniform and sleek appearance to your exterior while protecting your windows from the elements, a window film is the best option. It instantly improves the appeal of your home or business premises. Window films add a unique shade that darkens your interior space.

Additionally, window films will protect your home and interior décor from UV radiation by blocking up to 99% of dangerous rays. While vitamin D is triggered by sunlight on the skin and bright spaces are exciting, too many sun rays and midday sun are not healthy for your skin or home decors.

Window film offers the perfect sunscreen layer protecting you from skin cancer, excessive brightness, or visual impairment.

At Carolina Premier Window Films, we only do residential and commercial and not automobiles. This allows us to do an exceptional job for our residential and commercial property clients.

If you are looking for a product that will improve privacy, security, safety, and conserve energy, window films are your best ROI ever.

Reduce power cost & energy
Twice a year, during summer and winter, homeowners see a considerable increase in power bills. To conserve energy and reduce power charges, install residential window film now. While the window films will not stop the heat or cold, they will reduce excess heat and light entering the home.

It achieves this simple task by reflecting light rays during summer, reducing the quantity of heat leaving the building in winter.

Reduces fading & protects you from glare
The UV rays from the sun are helpful and harmful to people and furniture. While it causes health issues like skin cancer and dryness, it fades your colors and makes your house look old and drab. If left unattended, it will destroy your home and you. Window films are a great way to limit the light and protect your home and you.

Installation is swift and effortless.
Window film installation is a quick home improvement choice, especially if it is done by a professional. So instead of replacing the windows of your home to save energy, install window film.

The process will not leave your home open to the elements, unlike a window replacement, and no part of your building is exposed during the installation.

You can choose how and where you want to install the residential window film. It can be fixed externally or internally, or both. The installation method depends on the type of product, material, location, and orientation. The film is applied on any window glass type, including coated surface. Customers must remember not to touch the window until the curing process is over, usually 30 to 45 days after installation. Additionally, do not clean the windows during this period.

With a window film, you can feel a reduction in light and heat in your home. You also get a crystal clear view, a reduction in your power bills, and privacy.

Balances internal temperature
Do you always feel one area of your home is hotter than another? It could be because of the location and amount of light coming into space. To balance out unusually hot or cold zones, install a residential window film today.

A well-installed window film will reduce energy cost by providing up to 82% solar rejection than untreated glass. Today, windows play a crucial role in modern architecture, and open spaces create the perfect spots for entertaining and lounging. However, unwanted light and heat can make a beautiful space feel uncomfortable. Retain the visual appeal of your building and balance the internal temperature with a commercial window film.

Sunglasses for your windows.
Too much of a good thing is terrible, including sunlight and heat. While it is beneficial to stay warm and cozy, too much heat is dangerous and uncomfortable. Just like we shield our eyes from excess light, window film acts in the same manner as sunglasses. So why not get this affordable protection for all your windows? This is one investment that will serve your family and improve the ambiance.

Reduces scratches and damages to your window.
We have seen how cleaning and graffiti or a sudden impact can damage a window. Although the window film is not a shield to stop the glass from shattering, it will save it from scratches, graffiti, and hard impacts. Additionally, it is cheaper to replace window film than replace a window.

Increases the privacy and protection of property
Window tinting allows you to enjoy a great view during the day without the brightness or people seeing inside your home or office. This is privacy many people yearn to have, and a window film can help you achieve this.

Types of window films

As versatile as window films are, so are their uses. The installation depends on their application.

Reflective film: is commonly used in residential and commercial properties because of its high reflective capability at regulating light and heat passing through it.

Dual-reflective window film: this is like the reflective window film, but the window film can absorb light and heat both ways. Whether if the light/heat is traveling from out to in or inside to outside.

Neutral/plain window film: These are window films that look like glass, transparent and see-through. This is great for people that love natural light but do not want the heat and discomfort associated with it.

Spectrally selective window film: these are not your regular solar film. It has been specifically designed to allow maximum light healthy for you and reject maximum UV and infrared wavelength. It also improves the viewing screen, reduces glare that hits our eyes.

Insulating film: regular films offer protection to your home or office spaces. Window films function well during the summer months, but they fail to meet their potentials in winter, causing an increase in energy consumption. However, low emissivity window film has high solar absorbent action and low-E coating, taking full advantage of the sun.

The insulation feature, formerly available only on factory-produced units, is now available on most window films allowing it to perform adequately in all seasons.

Security and safety window film: keeps your glass from shattering to pieces on impact. Whether intentional or not, a security window film will protect the glass from becoming dangerous flying objects. Even during a natural disaster or break-in, you know your property is safe and secure.

Anti-graffiti film: if you live or operate your business in a rough neighborhood, window film offers excellent protection and saves the cost of repairs. The anti-graffiti film prevents damages to the glass, and it can be removed easily.

Decorative film: while privacy is the main reason for window films, they also act as decorative pieces and patterns on the window. Whether transparent, frosted, or colored glass windows, window films add an appealing touch.

How durable are window films?

Window film warranties are impressive. Manufacturers offer up to one and a half decades on commercial use and a lifetime on residential property. However, the durability depends on the film material, glass, window construction, location of the window on the building, and the installation method. If properly installed, a window film will outlive its warranty years.

Warranties covered include:
• Cracking or breakages
• Rippling
• Bubbling
• Peeling
• Adhesive failure

We have seen plenty of products and warranties since we’ve been in business. While some window film come with impressive warranties, other factors increase its lifespan and durability.

Not covered by window film warranty

Manufacturers offer an extensive warranty on window film, including premature damage but do not cover the following:
• Wear and tear from long-term use
• Scratches from abrasive cleaning agents or maintenance
• Direct or indirect damages caused by the users

Most window film manufacturers apply scratch-resistant coating on their products to protect the film from minor scrapping or chaffing. The better the coat, the longer the durability of the window film.

How long do window films last?

Window films are designed for different purposes and used differently, too. However, to answer the above question, a window film will last according to the materials used in manufacturing it.
How long a window film will last depends on the application. But below are some factors that affect the long-term or short-term of window film.
• Placement position – is it external or internal
• The direction of the installation
• Type of application – is it vertical or horizontal
• DIY or professional installed window film?

The following must be considered when choosing or installing a window film. Furthermore, the manufacturer-backed warranty is another indicator that determines how long it will last.

What type of windows are best for window film installation?

Glass is a barrier that protects your home from external elements while providing a safe view of the outside world. During summer days, untreated glass allows both harmful UV rays and heat to enter unhindered, causing temperature hikes.

However, when a window film is fitted, it cuts out 80% of the rays and heat from the sun. The film acts like a solar barrier that absorbs excess light and heat and reflects it back. This absorption-reflection process varies according to the thickness and making of the film. Dyed films are non-reflective but super absorbent, while metalized films are absorbent and reflective.

So depending on where you are living and the purpose, you can choose between Dyed and metalized window film. The above is a guide to help you choose the right film compatible with your window.

Do you want a window film installed? Call Carolina Premier Window Films at (803) 802-9062 today. We will choose the best window film solution for your property.

Window films can be fixed on the following window types:
• Single pane, dual pane windows
• Monolithic or insulated windows
• Tempered glass window
• Laminated windows
• Skylight windows
• Atrium window

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PART 2: WHAT CAN WINDOW FILMS NOT DO?

After that epistle on the benefits of window film, it is time to know what they cannot do. In this part, we will discuss the following.
• Window film will not make your windows private during the night
• It is not a solution for drafty windows
• It does not make your window bulletproof
• It will not prevent your window from damage
• Is a window film that durable?

Recall, window films are versatile and a solution for many glass-related issues. But—
There is a BUT, window films are not a fix for every window problem.

Window film will not make your windows private during the day or night
One of the challenging requests we get from customers is to have windows that give a great view in the day and provide ample privacy at night even with the lights on. Unfortunately, this transparent film that restricts excess sunlight during the day cannot stop people from seeing you when the lights are on at night.

While the reflective percentage determines the amount of light it reflects, it will create opaqueness (high-efficiency) during the day, offering the needed privacy. At night, the light indoors is greater than outside, making it a see-through window with little to protect you.

It is not a solution for drafty windows.
Drafty windows are windows with shabby insulation causing heat and cool air to escape. Most customers request window films as a replacement for window insulation, but it is not.

Drafty windows are the result of loose frames, rotting frames, and broken insulation, or others. Window films will not solve drafty windows dilemma. You will need a window technician to fix the problem and then call us to install the residential window film.

It does not make your window bulletproof.
Please, we have emphasized this point many times; window film will NOT make your windows bulletproof. DO NOT believe any marketing information claiming otherwise.

Even if a company shows you a test about a window film being bulletproof, the test glass is different from yours, so be careful. Do not believe in this fake testing and choose the best product and professional to install it.

It will not prevent your window from damage.
Window film is not a magical glue coating that shields your windows from damage during any impact. For clarity’s sake, it will not prevent an intruder from breaking in, it might be difficult forcing them to reconsider, but it will not stop them.

Furthermore, your glass will shatter on impact, but it will not scatter around as without a film. The film acts like a bond that holds the pieces together, preventing injuries.

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PART 3: COSTS AND PRICING OF WINDOW FILMS

In home improvement, price is a hot topic that must be discussed first. Clients have more questions on cost and pricing than any other aspect of window film installation.
When discussing price, we bring the following to the table.
• The project duration
• Scope & size
• Working circumstance
• Type of window film
• Installation location & market price at the time

Besides the above factors, window films range from functional to decorative, and the cost differs accordingly.

For more information, contact us for our comprehensive guide on window film pricing.


PART 4: HOW TO SELECT A WINDOW FILM FOR THE PURPOSE?

This is another broad topic, and we have divided it into 5 sections for easy comprehension.
Step 1: how to choose the appropriate film?
Step 2: Window film facts and cons
Step 3: How to buy a window film
Step 4: Which manufacturer is the best?
Step 5: Payment/funding options for window film

Step 1: how to choose the appropriate film?
If you are new to residential window film, you will get caught up and overwhelmed by the numerous specifications, performance, types, and lingo. To prevent this, read this section thoroughly before window film shopping.

Still stuck! Call our customer service at (803) 802-9062 for assistance.

So when choosing a window film, remember these four criteria.
• Evaluate the need
• Compare the performance features
• Determine the aesthetics
• Compare the in-home estimates

When evaluating, you must understand your needs and the goal for installing window film. You should also be aware of what window film can and cannot do.

Comparing the performance features of window film will pinpoint what you want, its purpose, and the impact you intend to achieve with a window film. Regardless of your reason, please read the first part of this article if in doubt.

Based on your need, compare different window films and determine how they fare against one another. This section ensures you know about your needs and how the window film fulfills them.
For example, customers who want energy-efficient films should take their time to read through the manufacturer’s manual.

For the sake of knowledge sharing, know this. A window film with high Visibility light transmission (VLT) has better energy efficiency. While low U-values help saves energy, especially in the winter months.

What is VLT?
It is used to define the percentage amount of light passing through the window film. A higher VLT creates a natural lighting situation, while a low VLT rating is better for glare control.

What is U-Value?
It is the measure of heat transmitted through a building part or material as the window or wall. Objects with low u-value have better-insulating properties and vice versa.

Determine the aesthetic- although this is the last thing on your mind when choosing a window film, aesthetics matter a lot. So pick out window films that compliment invisible film bronze, reflective, and shade that are functional but appealing.

The final step is to compare in-house estimates. This means talking to a professional installer to give you a thorough assessment of your home and an installation cost quote.

The installing company can make a comparison to ensure you pick what is suitable for your property.

Window film facts and cons
It is essential to get all your facts about window films right, including the benefits and cons before purchasing/installing one.

One fact worth noting is that not all glass is suitable for installing window film. In this case, the type of glass, thickness, size, and construction of the window plays a crucial role.

Secondly, get the appropriate film suitable for the glass to prevent thermal stress. Do, however, be aware that the glass may crack for several other reasons, including a damaged pane during glazing, movement within the building, and other physical stress during installation.

Glass cracks could be a sign of something wrong. For example, heavy draping hung close to a glass with damaged edges. However, it is vital to emphasize that signage, heavy drapes, and film application can cause slight damage. If the glass has never been checked or removed from the frame, it is advisable to do just that before installing the film.

How to buy a window film?
Window films are a great addition to any building – residential or commercial. They help reduce sunlight, harmful rays and save you money in the long run.

So if you are ready to fix a window film on your property, contact us now or seek proper resources to enable you to install one yourself.

Which manufacturer is the best?
By now you know window films are the best solution for maximizing your home’s energy efficiency and comfort but which brand and manufacturer make the best product?

At Carolina Premier Window Films we offer our preferred brand of Eastman window films to give you the right product at the right price to create the environment for your comfort and safety.

Eastman is the largest manufacturer of windows films in the U.S. With Eastman, you’re getting the highest quality product in the market. They are the trusted makers of Saflex® interlayer technology, the gold standard in automotive glass protection, as well as many other innovative window film products.

It is essential to always work with a professional like Carolina Premier Window Films to avoid being coerced into buying outside your needs or films that do not meet your needs and expectations.

When we talk about window film manufacturers, warranty is the next topic in line. While each manufacturer’s warranty and coverage are similar, they each have their unique signature in their products.

Warranties can extend from 5 years to a lifetime or as long as you own the home or space.
A manufacturer that offers a lifetime warranty is great. This means you are covered anytime the product develops a fault or is damaged.

Payment/funding option for window films
We accept cash, check or all major credit cards.


PART 5: INSTALLING A WINDOW FILM: DIY VS. PROFESSIONAL

Some projects are DIY-oriented, while others are best left for the professionals. Installing a residential or commercial window film is one of those projects based on skills, experience, and confidence. A window film is a visually appealing product. It enhances the appearance of your space, improves your viewing angle and aesthetic.

Look at it this way. Imagine wearing a gorgeous designer dress with a red wine stain in the middle of it. No matter how you try to appreciate the dress, you are drawn to the wine stain.

Yes, DIY window film kits are a great way to start learning about installation but leave the complicated work for the professional. It saves you the risk of mistakes, spending extra money, and damaging the film.

Remember: DIY window film kits are one chance to install. If you make a mistake, you have virtually wasted the materials and resources and need a new kit.

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PART 6: FAQS

There are plenty of questions that pass through our desk about window film, here are a few.

Will my house plant survive with window film installed on the window?
Yes, your house plant will continue to strive with a window film installed on the window. The window film does block harmful UV rays but allows the red and blue-ray essential for plant survival.

Are there any other benefits of window films to house plants?
Yes, there are a couple of advantages. Window films help regulate temperature and moisture within the home, making it a favorable environment for house plants. In fact, many indoor plants do amazingly well with the film.

If you are still in doubt, ask your local garden/nursery about the sunlight requirement of the plant before purchase. However, most plants do incredibly well, and we are sure yours will too.