If your home has large windows and a fabulous view, covering those windows with blinds or shades may not be your first choice. However, protecting your investment from the harsh rays of the sun must also be a priority. Window film may be just what you’re looking for…
The unsung hero of the window treatment world is window film. Most folks think of blinds or shades when they need to control the sun or add privacy to their windows. However, in some cases, window film may be a better – and, often more affordable, choice.
Some homes are situated in the woods or in the middle of several acres of land. Often, these homes don’t require window coverings for privacy reasons; there is simply no one around to see into the home! While some folks still like to cover their reasons to have the option of closing up the house each evening, not everyone wants to add blinds or shades tor their windows. The sun can quickly damage the interior finishes in a home, however, so controlling the sun is still important – even if privacy isn’t a concern.
Enter, window film! Window film is a very thin layer of plastic that is applied to the interior surface of the window glass. Once installed, it is nearly undetectable. The window can still be cleaned with any non-abrasive cleaner.
The biggest advantage of window film is the reduction in the ultra-violet rays from the sun that enter the home. Reducing these rays will help stop the damage that will occur to your furniture, flooring and artwork. If left uncovered or untreated, UV rays will begin fading and discoloring your home’s interior finishes almost immediately. Stopping these UV rays will also reduce cooling costs in your home, since much of the heat that normally comes through the windows will be stopped. In warm climates, this can result in substantial utility savings each year.
Window film comes in a wide variety of tints, from absolutely clear (which still cuts out nearly 100% of damaging UV rays) to very dark. In residential applications, most homeowners prefer a light tint or clear film, which will preserve the view and cut the glare of the sun without being noticeable from the interior or exterior of the home. Metallic and colored films are also available. These options do offer some privacy at the window, since they make it more difficult to see into the home from outside. They are not 100% private, however.
In areas where you need privacy, you can select a film that looks like frosted glass. This can be great option in locations such as windows over a bathtub; privacy is required, but it can be hard to reach the shades to open and close them each day.
And, as an added bonus, some window films also offer added security at the window. The film holds the glass together, making it much more difficult for an intruder to break in through a window.
With all these positive features, what negatives could window film possibly have? Believe it or not, there are a few problems that window film cannot solve. If direct sunlight and glare is a problem in your home, blinds or shades will offer you much better coverage than window film can. For example, if the rising sun hits you between the eyes every morning at your dining room table, window film will not reduce that glare completely. Or, if the setting sun hits the TV every afternoon, making it difficult to watch the evening news, window film may not be your best option. In each of these cases, I would recommend a blind or a shade for better light control.
Another possible problem with window film is the lack of privacy that it offers. If privacy is a concern, shades and blinds will offer better coverage at the window that film can give you. However, as I mentioned, there are film options that can give you complete privacy. Unlike a shade, though, window film cannot be easily moved out of the way if you wish to see outside.
If you travel for long periods, such as leaving a cold location for the sunny beaches of Florida for 6 months each year, window film may not be your best choice, either. Covering your windows completely with blinds, shades or draperies, will hide the interior of your home from would-be burglars while you are away. Keeping your home closed up will leave them guessing whether anyone is home, and whether you even have anything worth stealing!
While window film cannot solve every problem at your window, it does a pretty great job at addressing many of them. The best films are professionally installed, so be sure to look for a local 3M or Llumar window film dealer near you to get a price quote on your next project.