Frequently Asked Questions...and Answers!

As we work with our customers, certain questions are brought up on a regular basis while they are deciding to apply film to their windows. At the same time, we know there is information that will help you more readily make an informed decision. When we encounter questions or come up with something that we believe will help you during this process, we place them here - with the answers, too! - to provide a resource for all of our clients, past, present, and future. Thus, in no particular order (everything is important), we offer the following:

1. How do Sun Control Films work?

2. How do Low-E Films work?

3. Can Window Film be used on Low-E Windows?

4. Will Window Film really stop fading of fabrics?

5. How long will film last? 

6. How should I clean my windows after film is applied? 

7. Will Window Film kill my house plants? 

8. Will Window Films cause glass to break? 

9. Is there any glass that should not have film applied to it?

10. Are Window Films better than tinted glass?

11. Are rebates and/or financial incentives available for applying Window Film? 

12. What are typical energy payback periods for Window Film applications?

13. How do Safety and Security Films work?

14. What rules or laws are there governing Car Window Tinting?

 

1. How do Sun Control Films work?

Sun Control Films are designed to reduce the amount of solar heat transmission through window glass by increasing the solar reflection (not necessarily visible reflection) and solar absorption through the glass. Typical colored or dyed films work primarily through increased absorption. The color absorbs the solar energy at the glass, thus reducing the direct transmission into the room. These films are not as effective as reflective films for reducing heat.

Reflective films are films that have been precision coated with metals. These metalized films are designed to increase the solar energy reflection of the glass. Reflective Films range from moderate to excellent in solar performance (heat gain reduction).

Sun Control Films are made to be transparent and optically clear. The ultraviolet protection in the adhesive system is there to protect the adhesive, the metals, the polyester film, and the abrasion resistant coating from UV degradation. This UV protection will also help protect home and office furnishings.

Window Films are protected with abrasion resistant coating that provides long-term durability and maintained appearance.

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2. How do Low-E Films work?

Low-E Films, work much in the same way as the Sun Control Films except that they offer an increased performance against cold weather heat loss. The patented construction of these films enables the metal coating to reflect more of the interior room heat back into the room where it is needed. This improves personal comfort by reducing drafts near windows, and can help save on fuel costs, especially in commercial buildings. Low-E films are also protected with an abrasion resistant coating for long-term durability and maintained appearance.

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3. 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.

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4. Will Window Film really stop fading of fabrics?

There are six factors affecting fabric fading:

  • Ultraviolet Light
  • Visible Light
  • Heat and Humidity
  • Chemical Vapors
  • Age of Fabric
  • Dye Fastness

Clear single pane glass will reject 23-28% of the ultraviolet light from the sun. Insulated glass is slightly better, rejecting 36-41%. Window films installed on glass reject 95-99% of solar ultraviolet light.

Different types of clear glass and window systems will reject 13-29% of the solar heat. With window films, 80% solar heat rejection can be obtained.

No window film can eliminate fading. It can, however, offer maximum protection from fading due to solar ultraviolet light and solar heat.

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5. How long will film last?

The effective life of window film will vary by:

  • the type of film
  • type of glass
  • window construction
  • compass orientation of glass
  • in which part of the world the building is located

There are documented cases of film lasting 12 to 22 years or more in some instances. This should not, however, be assumed to be the normal expected life.

Ultra violet (UV) protection that major window film companies use in their proprietary adhesive systems is indefinite. It does not loose its effectiveness over time.

All quality window films for residential and commercial use are warranted by the film manufacturers for a minimum of five years (certain products may have extended coverage). The warranty includes an address to contact the manufacturer directly should any questions arise either before or after the installation of the window film.

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6. How should I clean my windows after film is applied?

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.

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7. 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.

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.

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8. 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
  • 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.

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9. Is there any glass that should not have film applied to it?

Listed here 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 paned glass
  • Laminated glass windows

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10. Are Window Films better than tinted glass?

In a retrofit situation, tinting your windows is by far the less expensive solution

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11. Are rebates and/or financial incentives available for applying window film?

Yes, they are. Your local utility company and the Federal Government both may have programs to assist you in your window film projects. For further information, please see the specific window film applications section on this site where we outline the programs and provide additional links.

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12. What are typical energy payback periods for window film applications?

Simple paybacks will vary depending upon the amount of sunlit glass exposure, the type of film, the type of glass, cost of fuel, cost of application, and other variables. However, paybacks often range in the 2-5 year period, with some reported to be even less than 6 months.

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13. How do safety and security films work?

Safety and Security Window Films are designed to make glass shatter-resistant by holding the glass pieces together when broken. These films are made with thicker polyester and a much thicker, more aggressive adhesive, which increases the films' tear resistance significantly.

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14. What rules or laws are there governing car window tinting in Florida?

 

HOW DARK CAN WINDOW TINT BE IN FLORIDA?

Tint darkness levels are measured by Visible Light Transmission percentage (VLT%). In Florida, this percentage refers to percentage of visible light allowed in through the combination of film and the window.

Windshield Non-reflective tint is allowed along the top of the windshield above the manufacturer's AS-1 line.
Front Side Windows Must allow more than 28% of light in.
Back Side Windows Must allow more than 15% of light in.
Rear Window Must allow more than 15% of light in.
 

 

HOW REFLECTIVE CAN WINDOW TINT BE IN FLORIDA?

Some tinting film contain metallic elements that help in reflecting incoming light and reducing the glare and heat generated by visible light.

Front Side Windows Must not be more than 25% reflective.
Back Side Windows Must not be more than 25% reflective.
 

 

OTHER FLORIDA RULES AND REGULATIONS

Restricted Colors No colors of tint are banned.
Side Mirrors Dual side mirrors are required if back window is tinted.
Certificate Requirements Manufacturers of film do NOT need to certify the film they sell in the state.
Sticker Requirements The sticker to identify legal tinting is required on the inside of the driver’s side doorjamb.
Medical Exemption State allows medical exemptions for special tint. For more details about the specific terms of the exemption, consult Florida state law.

 

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