What is window film?

Window film is a polyester film generally made of PET, Polyethylene Teraphthalate, the same polymer used to manufacture water bottles, for example. Most films are applied to the interior surface of a glass window in a home, commercial building, or car.  They have a scratch resistant coating on the outer surface to protect the film.

There are many types of window films. Some are clear and feature multiple layers of PET to offer protection from shattering glass; others are tinted with metals, dyes or pigments to reduce the visible light transmitted through the glass, and block heat coming through from the sun.  There are even decorative window films that can replicate the look of frosted glass or etched patterns.

What are the benefits of window film?

Window films have many benefits depending on your choice of film. 

Safety films can hold shattered glass in place to offer protection from threats like:

  • Burglary attempts
  • Graffiti
  • Wind-born debris
  • Natural disasters
  • Bomb blasts

Tinted window films, also called solar control films, can do the following:

  • Significantly reduce solar heat gain and temperature inside a building
  • Reduce air conditioning costs
  • Extend life of HVAC systems by reducing maintenance and strain on the system
  • Decrease a building’s environmental emissions
  • Increase occupant comfort
  • Reduce glare to improve visibility inside, especially for computer and TV screens
  • Provide daytime privacy
  • Block up to 99% of UV radiation
  • Offer significant fade protection for furniture, carpets, woodwork, and other interior furnishings
  • Improve building aesthetics and accent windows

How is window film installed?

Madico’s window films are installed professional window film dealers.  The installation process starts with the dealer thoroughly cleaning your windows to remove even the smallest pieces of dirt.  A piece of film is cut roughly to the size of your window, its release liner is removed, and an application solution is sprayed on the film’s adhesive to activate it.  The application solution is also sprayed on the window.  Then the film is installed on the glass, and the dealer squeegees all the application solution out from between the glass and film.  The dealer will also do some final edge trimming to ensure the film fits perfectly. 

How long does the film take to fully cure?

When the dealer squeegees out the application solution during installation, it is nearly impossible to get every drop of solution out.  Thus there is a drying time (cure time) for the film, during which the remaining application solution between the film and glass evaporates.  During this time, the film is still performing to its full solar control and safety capabilities.  However it is common to see bubbles, haze, streaks, and other visual defects in the film as it cures.  This is completely normal, and these will disappear as the film dries out. 

The amount of time for the film to fully cure can vary drastically.  If it is a dark solar control film on a south or west facing window in a hot climate in summer, the film can be completely cured within a few days.  However if it is a heavy gage safety film installed on a north facing window in wintertime, it’s not uncommon for the curing process to last over a month.  Remember though that the film will perform as designed during the drying time, the bubbles and streaks are purely cosmetic.

How do I clean my windows once film has been applied?

The cleaning process for a filmed window is very similar to unfilmed glass. Before cleaning though, make sure that the film has fully cured.  Generally, we recommend waiting 30 days before cleaning after the film is installed.  When cleaning, follow the following procedure:

  1. Use a soft clean cloth, soft paper towel, or clean synthetic sponge. Normal scrubbing with these materials is fine, but make sure not to scrub aggressively with anything abrasive.
  2. Use any normal glass cleaning solution which contains no abrasive materials.  Typical off-the-shelf glass cleaners are acceptable.
  3. Use a soft cloth or squeegee for drying the window.

How long will the film last?

This depends on the film type, glass type, window construction, orientation and geographical location of the building. All Madico films are covered by a warranty for some specified time.  Most residential and automotive applications are covered by a lifetime warranty as long as you own the house or car.  Most commercial installations receive either a 10 or 15 year warranty.  There are some specialty films that have different terms; for example exterior films are warranted for 5 years on vertical glass, 2 years on sloped glass; decorative films usually have 7 year coverage.

The warranty coverage is based on extensive internal testing and our years of experience in the field.  It is common that we see films last well beyond their warranties, sometimes as long as 15-20 years. 

Will window film really stop my furniture from fading?

Window film will significantly reduce the amount of fading on interior furnishings.  It’s nearly impossible to eliminate all risk of fading though. Click here for more details.

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 the plant may take a few days to adjust to the light change. If a particular plant normally wilts by the end of a sunny day, it can 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: simply 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.

Can window film be used on Low E windows?

In most cases, window film can be very beneficial when used in conjunction with Low E glass. Click here for more information.