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How Many Types of Window Film Are There?
If you are looking for an inexpensive and efficient way to improve your home or office, consider using window film, which can do everything from save on heating cooling costs to increasing privacy without blocking the light like curtains do. Read on to learn about the different types of window film and which ones are best suited to your needs.
1. Insulating Films
Films that have insulating functions can be helpful in any environment, whether it’s the sunshine of Southern California or the cold and snow of a Vermont winter. They can help cool a house and reduce heat from the sun when it’s too hot out. For example, residential window tinting in West Hollywood can cut down dramatically on air conditioning costs, while films that are meant to insulate against cold can reduce furnace costs in New York City during the winters.
2. Glare Reduction
Window films are available in a wide variety of glare reduction levels. You can find the right product to just take the edge off a window that is just a little too bright or you can choose a heavy glare reduction film to tame the intense blinding light to more tolerable levels. So whether it is just a little brighter than you would like or if you’re having a problem even being in the room during certain times of the day, window films have you covered. You can get these in a variety of light transmission percentages, depending on how much light you want coming through.
3. UV Blocking
Typical window films will be capable of blocking from 95 to 99.9% of the UV radiation. This can be virtually eliminated from penetrating your windows with window film installed. Typical glass is not capable of stopping UV Radiation from penetrating more than about 25%. UV blocking benefits you by providing health benefits and fading reduction.
4. Privacy Films
Both commercial and residential window tinting utilizes privacy film frequently. There are many types of privacy films available. Maybe you are considering a frost film to block the view but allow light in or perhaps you are considering something more like a textured glass look to completely distort the view but allow the light to come through. If you are not concerned with the light coming through and you want an even higher level of privacy then there are complete block out films available to make the glass white or black depending on your preference.
5. Decorative Films
Aside from privacy, you may choose to add your own style to a piece of glass to make a statement or add interest. Sometimes it maybe a company logo or saying, in your home maybe it is a scenery or pattern that changes ordinary glass into a work of art. The sky is the limit when it comes to decorative films. We have the ability to custom make and create anything you can dream up. So go ahead and let you imagination run wild.
6. Safety and Security
Safety and security films are available in a variety of thicknesses to meet various levels of need. Basic safety and security films typically start out at a thickness of 4 mil. These films will be capable of adding safety to help protect people from broken glass shards and to help hold the glass in the window frame in the event it gets broken. This will also make the glass harder to penetrate adding security to your home or office. In thicker levels the films can protect against bomb blasts. These heavier films are typically 8-15 mil thick and require anchoring the film to the window frame system. These films have a long proven track record of saving lives and property from extensive damage. They were developed in the early 1970’s to protect US Embassies abroad.
These films are 4-8 mil thick and provide a clear protective barrier to protect glass, stone, stainless steel and other smooth surfaces from damages caused from paint, acid etching, scratching and carving damages. Typically these films are used in commercial applications to help prevent and limit the exposure to vandals and graffiti taggers. Acid etching can be washed off the film without damage and paint can typically be removed without damaging the film. Scratching and carving damage is typically completely absorbed by the film and not allowed to pass on to the surface under the film, there by greatly reducing the cost of restoring your property to non-vandalized condition.
8. One Way Mirror
Window film can be used to create a one way mirror effect. This allows you to see through one side of the glass while people on the other side see only a mirror finish. This can be accomplished under the right lighting conditions. Typically most people see this on the police shows where they have someone in an interrogation room and others standing outside the room looking through a window that is a mirror from the interrogation room side.
9. Dyed Films
This type of film derives it color and solar blocking capabilities from a dye. This type of film was the first type of window film made. The films can have virtually any color you can imagine due to the ability to choose any color dye. They have a low reflective surface which is nice if you are not a fan of the reflective types of films available. The down side to this type of product is the dye is not as color stable as metals or ceramics used in other film types. As the dye discolors and fades it loses ability to perform the initial heat block that it had. Heat blocking on these films is primarily achieved through absorption.
10. Metal Films
These films use metals to achieve the heat blocking capabilities. Darkness and heat blocking are determined by the density of the metals used in these films. The heavier the coating of metal the darker the film and the more reflective it typically becomes. The heat blocking capabilities of these films are provided through absorption and reflection of the suns energy. These films are typically very stable and long lasting. Unlike the dyed window films, these metal films are not prone to color change or lose of heat blocking abilities. There are a variety of ways to metallize the films such as electron beam coating, vapor coating and sputter coating. Electron beam and vapor coating are older techniques used by most low price films. This technique can be prone to de-metallization where the metals will corrode away and leave clear areas or banding, which is lighter and heavier areas of metal deposition on the film leaving a striping pattern in the film which may become more noticeable over time. Sputter coating the metals into the film is the best process available and is what most premium films use. This allows for vary uniform layering of the metals in the film structure. With this method you do not de-metallization or banding issues.
11. Ceramic Films
Ceramic films are the newest technology used in window films. Ceramics have long been known for their heat blocking and insulating capabilities. In fact it was ceramic tiles on the space shuttle that kept it from burning up during re-entry into our atmosphere. Ceramics are extremely durable and resistant to degradation. They can be used in areas such as along the beach where you have a high concentration of salt in the air that can cause metals to corrode. Ceramics are impervious to the marine salt air environment and are 25 times more durable then a metal or dyed film. Another benefit to the ceramic film is the ability to provide heat blocking without the reflective finish of the metal films. The fact is that ceramic films can typically out-perform metal films in heat blocking in lighter shades. This allows you to enjoy more heat block with windows that are less tinted than previously available. The ceramics are typically applied to the films using sputter coating technology. This allows for very uniform deposition of ceramics into the structure.
12. Spectrally Selective Films
These films are made of multiple layers of either metal or ceramics. The sun’s rays are reflected internally between the layers of either metals or ceramics in the film structure and cause the infrared wavelengths to collide together and cancel them out virtually eliminating the infrared heat from passing through the film. These are very advanced film types and typically use a combination of metals or ceramics to achieve the cancellation of the infrared wavelengths. If they use metals then it is usually Gold, Silver and Indian Tin Oxide or Iridium combinations. The Ceramic versions of this type of film are less expensive typically however not quite as effective. You may choose a ceramic variety of this film to get this technology at a more affordable price. These are very effective films with little downside other than price.