Window film has been used in homes and commercial buildings for decades. It helps with insulation and can improve the window’s look. But what type of window film is most effective, and what should you consider before buying it?
Window film is made from polyester laminate. It’s applied on windows to improve their insulation, for privacy and security reasons, to protect the glass from UV rays, for scratch protection, and for decoration. With multiple window film types available, choosing the right type is essential.
Want to learn more about window film? If so, let’s look at how much window film costs, how long it lasts, and the types of film you can choose.
What is a Window Film?
Window film (example on Amazon) is a thin sheet of polyester that’s usually applied on windows to reduce the intensity of the sun’s rays. An additional layer of metal or ceramic coating is added to improve the film’s absorption and reflection properties, which helps with home insulation.
Window film has an adhesive part on one side that helps the film stick to the window glass and a scratch-resistant coating on the other side to protect it.
While window film is usually applied on the window interior, some are designed to be installed on the exterior for better insulation.
However, these tend to get damaged much sooner. Window film is available in a range of shades and can be used to match your interior home decor style.
What’s the Purpose of Window Film?
The primary purpose of a window film is to insulate the window glass to improve its durability. Most home and commercial owners also use window film for privacy. Window film can also protect your home from the sun’s UV rays.
Window film can also protect the glass from scratches and fade and can be used to brighten up your home decor.
Let’s discuss the benefits of window film in detail:
The primary use of window film, especially in hot and cold areas, is for insulation. Insulating your windows can considerably reduce your energy bills, as the film reflects the sun’s light and maintains a cool temperature inside your house in the summer.
Window film also acts as a good insulator in the winter by reducing heat loss through the windows.
Insulating your windows with the film will protect your furniture and furnishing against solar heat, dust, and debris. Window film can also reduce the glare effects of computers or TVs, which benefits your eyesight in the long run.
Privacy and Security
Many window films aren’t see-through and can help with home privacy. For example, some window films are dyed with pigments and let light through them, but they still aren’t transparent.
These added pigments in the window film also prevent the glass from shattering, which can improve the window’s durability and is ideal if you live in an area with rough storms.
Some window films are primarily designed to absorb, reflect or deflect UV rays that may cause damage to your floor, interior fabric, walls, and furniture. In addition, UV-resistant window films can protect you from various skin diseases.
Installing window film is an excellent solution if you notice carpets or furniture fading in the area closer to the windows.
Window film is also used to protect window glass from scratches. The film has one side coated with scratch-resistant material, which can enhance the durability of your windows.
You’ll probably need to install a window film if you have pets in your house or live in an area with severe storms. Depending on the type of window film you install, it may protect the windows against flying dirt and sharp objects in mild hurricanes.
If your windows already have mild scratches, you can apply window film on the affected area to cover it up and prevent the scratches from spreading.
Since window film comes in various color shades and designs, many people use them to transform their interior decoration. In addition, decorative window films may have historical or contemporary design patterns that can help you customize your home’s interior or exterior decor.
What are the Different Types of Window Film?
Not all types of window film are ideal for your building’s windows. Before choosing one, you’ll have to consider the type of window film and compatibility with your windows.
Here are some common types of window film to choose from:
Reflective Window Film
Reflective window film is one of the most common types used for window insulation. It’s coated with an additional metal or ceramic layer that helps trap and reflect sunlight and UV rays, maintaining a comfortable temperature inside the building.
Dual-Reflective Window Film
A dual-reflective window film is an advanced form of reflective film designed to control light passage from both sides of your window. This film has metal or ceramic coating from both sides of the sheet and is ideal for summer and winter.
In summer, the film prevents direct sunlight from entering, maintaining a cool temperature. The extra layer of coating is also effective in the winter and helps prevent warm air from escaping indoors.
Neutral Window Film
Neutral window films typically don’t contain any color tone. Instead, they provide uniform light transmission throughout the window surface, resulting in an excellent color balance indoors.
This film also prevents UV light from passing inside through the window glass, keeping your building cool and reducing your energy bills.
Spectrally Selective Window Films
Unlike most conventional window films, the spectrally selective film is designed to reflect solar light, including UV and infrared rays, without distorting visible light transmission.
A properly installed spectrally selective window film can also relax your eyes by reducing unwanted glare. So, this window film is ideal if you live in an area where the sunlight gives off a hard glare, or your home decor is predominantly white.
Graffiti Protective Window Film
Nothing is more frustrating than to have graffiti on your window glasses, walls, and furniture. Graffiti is usually made with almost irremovable paint, and cleaning a graffiti window can be difficult.
Graffiti-protective window films are usually used in industrial, commercial, and government buildings as they are easy to clean and protect windows from graffiti damage.
Insulating Window Film
Unlike more conventional films, insulating window films are used to provide you with a balanced temperature in all seasons. This film is insulated with a low-emissivity coating, cooling your home in the summer and compensating for low solar heat in cooler months.
Decorative Window Film
Decorative film is a new type of window film with added color pigments and patterns, resulting in impressive interior designs. In addition, these are cheaper than traditional decor styling and have excellent heat transmission.
Some companies offer customizable decorative window film options, which allow you to choose the perfect design and color shade for your interior or exterior decor.
How Much Does Window Film Cost?
The average buying cost for a typical window film for your home project is between $750-$5000. This cost can be as low as $500 or as much as $8000, depending on the window film material and the area you want to cover.
If you’re considering buying window film for a commercial project, the cost of covering a larger building will be much higher.
Window films made from vinyl are usually cheaper than polyester laminate ones, but they aren’t as durable. It’s best to choose the type of window film based on your needs rather than the cost. For example, if you live in an area with a lot of direct sunlight or rough storms, choose one with double coatings, even if it’s more expensive.
You’ll also have to consider the design factor when determining the window film cost. For example, decorative films contain extra color pigments used to form various decorative patterns and usually cost more than standard window film sheets.
Also, the cost will likely increase if the film is UV-resistant or contains additional insulation to improve your privacy and protection.
Other factors that may also affect the cost of installing window film include the project’s time frame, scope and size, and labor costs.
How Long Does it Last?
A typical window film can last for 20 years under the right conditions. However, high temperatures and moisture will reduce its lifespan, and how long your window film lasts depends on its durability. Many window films come with a 15-year warranty for commercial use and a lifetime warranty for homeowners.
How long the film lasts depends on the quality of the film material used, the type of window glass, and the frequency of its exposure to sunlight. If your window film is professionally installed, it’s likely to last longer than an incorrectly installed film.
The local climate can also significantly affect the film’s longevity, as some window film material is sensitive to temperature and moisture changes.