Apply Residential Window Film to Save Energy
Residential window film helps you control your home energy costs by controlling temperature, fade, UV rays, and glare. They do not impede your view and are a green product that is very cost efficient. Window film is safe for use with many types of standard, clear residential windows including single-pane, dual-pane, and removable storm panes.
On average, window film will last ten years depending on climate, film type, window coverage, and exposure. The application process is easy to do, practical, and energy friendly. An average window can be filmed in 30 minutes or less.
The application of window films gets easier as you cover more of your windows. You can hire someone to come in and do them for you, but to make the product more cost efficient, do them yourself or have a family member help you! It’s really not brain surgery! (If I can do this, anyone can!)
If you’ve ever decorated your windows with static cling window decorations, you already have some practice. The process is a bit more complicated than the application of static cling decorations, but not that much harder!
Benefits of Residential Window Film
There are many benefits to using this product. You can find them here AND watch the video on how to apply them.
What it Looks Like
This is what Gila Window Film looks like on my windows at home. You can clearly see how the bottom panes look tinted and should note there is no glare. The top windows haven't been done yet! What a dramatic difference it makes in my home! Somehow my home felt warmer instantly! I can't wait to film them all!|
Things to Know
Most residential window film should only be applied to the inside surface of standard 1/8" single and dual panes. This includes single, dual, removable storm panes, and all window shapes such as patio and French doors.
Apply film to the inside surface of exterior removable storm panes.
For best results, apply film when the OUTSIDE temperature is between 40°F and 90°F for at least three days. (If you're in a deep freeze right now, wait until the polar air recedes to apply it!)
Do not apply residential films to plastic or Plexiglas surfaces or to motor vehicle windows.
Do not apply any film to frosted, etched, leaded, cracked, holed, or deeply scratched glass, or any otherwise flawed or defective glass or glass that is over 40 years old.
Handle the film very carefully to prevent creasing.
Installation on larger windows (3-4’ wide) may require two people.
For easiest application and energy savings, use Gila window film.
Before you begin applying your residential window film, make sure you have the right tools for the job.
Many manufacturers recommend that you buy their own ‘solution’ for application. I found you don’t need it and can make your own by mixing a few drops of liquid dish detergent with a spray bottle filled with purified water.
A rubber squeegee is necessary to press the film onto the glass without creases and to remove the Solution and air bubbles from under the film. Use a rubber squeegee between 4" – 5" wide, with a flexible blade.
Pair of sharp scissors
Clean work surface, such as a kitchen table
If you don't already have many of these items on hand, buy the items you need from your local Lowes Store or other hardware stores.
Application of Residential Window Film
For best results, clean the outside of the window you want to cover before you begin to ensure total clarity.
Place a towel or sheet underneath the window to serve as a drop cloth and absorb any excess solution that may drip. Clean the inside of the window thoroughly. I like to use window cleaner first, then go back and clean it again using the soapy solution. Squeegee any excesses off your window. Be especially careful to clean the corners of your windows too! Any dirt that’s left behind will cause a bubble in the film, so it is important to ensure that the glass is very clean.
Unroll the residential window film on a clean, flat surface. Carefully measure your window before cutting. Using one of the factory edges, cut the film at least an inch larger than the glass on three sides or simply cut the residential window film to the exact size. If you cut them larger, excesses will be trimmed once film is applied.
The clear liner (backing) is on the outside surface of the film roll. Identify the liner by attaching two 3" – 4" pieces of transparent tape to the front and back surfaces of the same corner so that about 1" of the tape is on the film, the rest centered and hanging over the pointed corner. Fold the tape down so that the two pieces don’t stick together. Press the corner down, then pull the tape apart to separate the clear liner from the adhesive side of the film.
If you don’t get it on the first try, try again. Your clear liner should be on top and your sticky residential window film should be on the bottom facing up. If your liner is reversed, simply turn the liner over.
Don’t remove the clear liner at this time. Leave the tape strips in place for now.
Generously spray the soapy solution to the inside surface of the window and to the film on both sides. If the window becomes dry, rewet it completely before applying film. The wetter the surfaces are, the better. This helps reduce film curl and static electricity.
Peel the two strips of tape apart to release the liner from the corner again. As you begin to pull the liner away, spray the exposed adhesive side of the film with the solution until the clear liner is removed 3/4ths of the way. Try to keep the film from touching itself. If you are doing this by yourself, you can help hold the film down while you peel the film by simply adding a few pieces of 1" tape to the back of the window film. Then place another 1" piece of tape on top of the piece of tape that is not on the film to secure the window film to the work surface.
Re-wet the glass with the solution. Hold the window film by the top corners so that the adhesive side is facing the window and apply to the glass.
Align the factory edge to either a vertical or horizontal edge. The film should self adhere to the glass. If not, then use your hands to smooth the film out and position. If you cut the film larger than the window size, you will have excesses overlapping the window on the other three sides.
Spray the entire surface of the back of the residential window film with the solution to lubricate it.
Starting with the center of the glass, squeegee from the center to the right side and work outwards. Go back to the center and squeegee to the left. Leave a 2” perimeter around the edges.
If you find air pockets, re-wet the film and squeegee again. If the air bubbles do not disappear, simply pull back the film and spray the sticky side with solution and reapply the residential window film to the glass.
Use your sharp razor blade or utility knife to trim the film. Manufacturers advise leaving a 1/16" gap. This gap is essential for the proper thermal expansion of the glass and allows you to completely squeegee the water and air from under the film.
Re-wet the film and squeegee again if necessary. Press very firmly to remove all the water so that the adhesive can cure clearly. If air bubbles are present, you should squeegee them out at this time. Any remaining small water bubbles should evaporate as the film cures.
If creases appear as ‘fingers’ along any edge, wrap your squeegee with a low-lint cloth and carefully push the ‘fingers’ toward the edge of the film. Hold in place to absorb any excess water.
View the Window Film Application Video
For Larger Windows
To cover larger windows, you may need two pieces of residential window film that you seam together, much the same as you would for hanging wallpaper.
To obtain a perfect seam, vertically overlap two sides, then use a ruler as a straight edge to guide your razor as you cut through the center of both layers of film.
After cutting the seam line, peel the loose sheet of film from the top, then lift the edge and slide the other waste piece from underneath.
Re-wet the glass, lay down the film, re-wet the film, then squeegee from top to bottom or left to right, using firm pressure.
A week after installation, you should waterproof the seam with a coat of clear fingernail polish.
You may notice imperfections such as air bubbles or debris between the film and the glass. If you purchased Gila window film, the adhesive allows you to peel the film away from the glass, fix the problem, and re-apply for up to 24 hours.
Simply peel the affected area of the film away from the glass and use your squeegee to remove any debris or bubbles.
Respray the adhesive with the Solution and re-apply to the glass. Once applied, re-spray the outer surface of the film and re-squeegee.
Curing Time for Residential Window Film
The film fully "cures" over the next week to 10 days. Dry, sunny weather speeds curing but wet, cold weather prolongs it. During curing time, the film may initially look hazy or cloudy, but this effect will disappear with time and/or exposure to heat. (i.e. the sun or a hair dryer).
After Installation Care
The best way to clean the film is to use the soapy solution and a rubber squeegee. Thoroughly spray the area to be cleaned with the solution. Use lint free towels to wipe clean.
It is safe to use ammonia-based window cleaners if the cleaner doesn’t sit on the film for a prolonged period of time (no more than 1-2 minutes).
Removal of Residential Window Film
Gila window film has adhesive that makes removal easy. Simply peel the film away from the glass. Depending on when you purchased your film, it may not contain EZMount adhesive.
If your film has been installed for several years and/or it doesn’t peel off the glass easily, use GILA Film Remover Solution (which is sold at the GILA film display in most retail outlets) to help facilitate removal.
For the best economical savings, use the 'All Season' window film. You can be more energy independent and green friendly by applying these simple films to your windows. Technology has come a long way and you should take advantage of it!
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