All About Window Film It’s Benefits and Different Types of Glass
In this article, we will get into window film its construction and benefits. But first, let’s cover what we are attaching window film too. Glass is not just merely glass. With many different types and constructions of glass come limits of what kind of window film can be applied. If misused breakage is a real possibility.
Depending on the measure of heat used in the creation process will determine the type of glass. At the most basic end is annealed glass. Heat-treated is next followed by tempered.
Glass construction comes in several different configurations, depending on what specifications are required. Here are some examples. Monolithic, Laminated, Bullet resistant, (IG) Insulated Glass Unit, Low E Glass.
Window film is a thin polyester laminate applied to the interior or exterior of the glass. It comes in many different constructions. Dyed, metalized, ceramic, nano, to name a few.
Annealed glass is on the low end of glass construction. It is also referred to as float glass. This glass is made by pouring molten glass over a bed of molten tin. The poured glass levels itself out as it floats on the tin. Thickness is determined by how fast it is poured. When the glass has solidified, it is then run through an annealing furnace and cooled slowly.
Due to the small amount of compression, this glass is prone to breakage without much effort. This glass is also the most dangerous when it breaks. Usually breaking is large jagged shards. Injury potential is a serious consideration with this type of glass.
Heat Treated Glass
Like tempered glass, heat-treated is strengthened by a heating process. Heat-treated glass is essentially twice the strength of annealed glass. By this process, it is stronger in dealing with heat and wind loads. It can even deal with impacts better. However, we would not suggest testing it!
By the process of rapid heating and cooling tempered glass is strengthened. This glass is significantly stronger than annealed and heat treated. It is about four times stronger.
Two Main Benefits of Tempered Glass
- Strength! Tempered glass is very strong and is used extensively in residential, commercial, and automotive applications.
- Safety! When tempered glass breaks rather than large dangerous shards, it breaks into small pieces. This is a big step forward for safety.
Monolithic glass is the most basic construction. It is a single layer of tempered, annealed, or heat-treated glass.
Laminated glass consists of two monolithic glass sheets combined with a layer of vinyl between them. They are joined together to provide extra resistance to loads. This construction also reduces transmitted noise as well as providing an extra layer of security. Additionally, this is the type of glass used in many vehicles on the road today.
Bullet resistant glass is a speciality item. The intended purpose of this glass speaks for itself. It is produced to help stop impacts from various sources. This also includes projectiles from firearms.
(IG) Insulated Glass Unit
When we refer to insulated glass, it’s intended purpose is to describe how it put together as a unit. An (IG) unit is two sheets of glass with an airspace between them. The two layers are then sealed at the edges. A lot of units are filled with argon gas.
By constructing it this way, heat transfer by conduction is reduced. This creates a more efficient unit for today’s building standards.
Low E Glass
This type of glass substantially reduces heat loss. Low E glass works well for colder climates. The light shorter wavelength is passed to the interior. The light is also absorbed and used for heat retention.
Window Tinting, What is it?
Window film is a thin polyester film. It contains an adhesive system and multiple layers. Window tint comes in varying degrees of shades and types. Some are black; some are reflective, and others are clear. Window film comes in varying different constructions. Dyed, metalized, ceramic are just a few examples. The various types have different performance levels and intended uses.
So How Does Window Film Benefit me?
Good question! Here are some of the important benefits.
- Ultraviolet light protection.
- Heat control.
- Adds integrity to glass in case of breakage.
- Creates an attractive interior and exterior look.
Ultraviolet Light and It’s Effects
According to the World Health Organization, ultraviolet light is a cause for sunburn, skin cancer, eye damage, and many other damaging effects on people and interior furnishings. Professional window tinting incorporates ultraviolet absorbing material that helps to reduce the detrimental UV rays. This layer will stop the transmission of those rays to the interior of the vehicle or building.
Ultraviolet radiation, as well as heat transference, is the direct cause of the damage you see in this picture. These damaging rays will also affect carpets, draperies, art, and any interior furnishing that finds itself in the way.
More About Sun Fading
Here are a few cold hard facts about fading, according to IWFA. Ultraviolet light plays a significant role in this type of damage but is not the only cause. Other sources are airborne chemical vapors. Low quality dies in fabrics, humidity, and other light sources.
Window Film adds Integrity to Glass
The solar film service will add many benefits to your glass and interior. One of those benefits is to help hold glass together during breakage. Safety & security film, in particular, will enhance this integrity even further, offering even more protection.
Lower Glare and Excessive Light
Window film lowers the light passing through the glass. The amount of light is controlled by using lighter or darker products. Here are a few benefits of window film.
- It lowers light to a more comfortable level.
- Offers more privacy.
- It provides a more comfortable working area.
- Adds an attractive look to glass and protects interior furnishings and inventory.
In a Nutshell, This is How Window Film is Made
This might surprise you, but window film is made by converting existing products into a thin film. Some of the components are polyester that must be treated to accept adhesives and scratch-resistant coatings. At some point, before being made into window film, these materials will be processed. Some of these films may contain pressure-sensitive acrylic, ultraviolet coatings, dyed and metalized layers, as well as ceramic and nanomaterials.
This chart will further demonstrate how the various window films are constructed. We will go into more detail about these films below.
More About Polyester Window Film
Being created in the late 1920s, the polyester film has become a popular laminating material. This film resists moisture as well as hot and cold temperatures very well. It is also flexible and strong. The polyester film can also accept dyes, metalized layers, and nanoceramic materials. Poly can also be attached to other segments of polyester. These polyester films are the main workhorse of the window tinting industry.
Adhesives / Glue
Adhesives not only hold the different layers together but also keep the entire assembly to the glass. Window film manufacturers have refined this process over time to create a high-quality, long-lasting product. The quality of adhesive will determine how long that film will stick to the glass. All adhesives are not created equal. We will get into the different types in the next section.
These are the three main types of adhesives to mount the film to glass.
- PS Pressure Sensitive Adhesive.
- DPS Detackified PS Adhesive.
- Dry Water Activated Adhesive.
Regardless of what type of adhesive is used, the installation remains the same. Soapy water or proprietary solutions are sprayed on the film and glass before installation. A squeegee is then used to remove all excessive moisture.
The primary difference between dry adhesive and ps type of glue is the way they bond to the glass. Ps adhesive creates a mechanical bond between the film and glass. This bond is based on pressure between film and glass.
During removal, the adhesive will typically come off with the film. Alternatively, dry glue will create a strong chemical bond to the glass on a molecular level. The resulting chemical reaction creates a powerful bond. Because of this, increased life can be expected. Likewise, should removal become necessary, that will most assuredly be more difficult.
Solar & Safety Window Film Adhesives
Safety film adhesive is different from solar film in that safety film has a much thicker layer of pressure-sensitive adhesive. Safety film requires the attachment to be much stronger to hold the glass together in case of breakage. The solar film does not have the same substantial bonding requirements due to it only being a solar control product.
Ultraviolet absorbers are incorporated into the polyester film as well as the adhesives to make the final window film product more effective. This incorporation will not only help to preserve interior furnishing but will also serve to protect the film itself.
Scratch Resistant Coatings
Standard ware and teat is a common occurrence for automobiles and buildings alike. To help combat these scratch-resistant coatings are applied to the window film. This additional coating will further enhance the life of the product.
The adhesive side of all window films is protected by a coated or uncoated liner. This liner allows the film to be worked with and precut. Before installation, the liner is removed and discarded.
Basic Window Film Construction & Types
- Metalized or Sputtered
Clear Window Film
Clear window films generally offer protection from ultraviolet light and aid in improving the integrity of the glass. They do not contain any dyes or metals. These films are a good match for museums and art galleries when UV protection is a priority.
These films are non-reflective non-metal products. They mainly stop heat by absorption. They also help to control fading and prevent excessive glare. Due to not containing any metal, performance is limited.
Coated Window Films
Vacuum coated window film is a very effective solar energy reducing film. Through the metalizing or sputtering process, metals are deposited on the polyester. These are referred to as reflective films.
Metalized Window Films
Metalized window films or vacuum coated films are created by a layer of metal being deposited in vapor form on to the polyester. These products are so effective because they are capable of reflecting up to 80% of solar heat. Depending on the thickness of the metalized layer and dyes, the performance will vary. Generally, darker films will reject more heat and perform better. The addition of colors will also create different types of colors — Grey, bronze, charcoal, etc.
Sputtered Window Film
The process of creating a sputtered film involves Using a vacuum chamber and an inert gas combined with an electric current. An exchange process involving negatively charged atoms or gas molecules takes place. The resulting product is a film-coated with metal oxide, nickel-chromium, stainless steel, etc.
Sputtered film is another high-performance product available in a variety of unique colors and performance levels.
Ceramic Window Film
Ceramic window film is made by incorporating a chemical called titanium nitride into a polyester film. The result is exceptionally high heat blocking properties. This product is perfect for automotive applications where maximum heat rejection performance is required. However, the applications for these ceramic products may not be the most effective choice for commercial or residential window film projects.
The darker ceramic film is made, the higher the heat absorption rate will be. This film mainly blocks heat by absorption. This can be bad news for certain types of glass and glass units (insulated glass units). Generally speaking, metalized and sputtered films will outperform ceramics for lower heat absorption and offer very effective TSER (Total Solar Energy Rejection) rates.
Safety & Security Films
Safety and security films primary function is to hold the glass together in case of breakage. Thick polyester films (2 mil-15 mil) are combined with a thick layer of pressure sensitive adhesive. These products have proven effective in guarding against break-ins, vandalism, and inclement weather.
For windows mounted in solid metal square tubing and attachment system can also be added to enhance the effectiveness of the application further. We will refer to this as the Dow 995 attachment system. This picture demonstrates how this caulking bead should look.
For our intents and purposes, we have covered the most important aspects of the film to glass in this article. Stay tuned more is on the way!