Window film serves many purposes. Different types of window film will prevent heat loss or heat gain (depending on the time of year), provide privacy, reduce glare from the sun, prevent UV color fade on your furniture and add a decorative value to your home. Window film has to be applied to the window in a very specific manner to avoid air bubbles or lint or dirt contamination. The window has to be very clean to begin with, and a film application solution must be used.
Things You'll Need
- Window-cleaning solution
- Towel or drop cloth
- Razor blade
- Rubber squeegee
- Tape measure
- Large, flat surface
- Clear tape
- Window film application solution
- Low-lint cloth
- Razor knife
- Edging tool
Clean the exterior side of the window with window-cleaning solution so dirt and grime will not affect the clarity of the window.
Place a drop cloth or towel under the window. Clean the interior side of the window. Any dirt or lint left in the interior side of the window will cause an air bubble to form in the film, so it is imperative that the window is clean. Remove any paint, sticker residue, or any other contaminants by scraping the window with a razor blade. Clean the window gasket and the corners of the windows well. Spray the window with water and squeegee the window downward to remove the water. The drop cloth will act to catch the water as it falls.
Measure the window with a tape measure and unroll the window film onto a large, clean, flat surface. Trim the film so it is an inch larger than the width of the window and two inches larger than the height of the window. Measure and cut from at least one factory-cut edge. Excess film will be trimmed later.
Remove the clear film liner by adhering one piece of clear tape to both sides of the window film near each other and pull them apart to separate the clear film. Do not remove the clear film entirely at this point.
Wet the interior side of the window completely with window film application solution. If the solution dries, re-wet the window. The wetter the window is, the better the film will adhere to the window. Spray both sides of the window film before removing the clear liner. This will help reduce static electricity issues and curling.
Remove the clear film liner and spray the adhesive side of the film (the side of the film that the liner was removed from) with window film application solution until the adhesive is completely saturated. Do not allow the film to touch itself.
Apply the adhesive side of the film to the glass. Align the vertical factory-cut edge with the vertical edge of the window. Slowly smooth the film onto the window with your hands. Allow the excess inch of film to hang over the opposite vertical side and the top and bottom sides. Spray the entire film surface with window film application solution. Run the squeegee over the film from the centerline of the window and stop two inches from the edge of the window. Do this one side at a time. Re-spray the film as needed for lubrication.
Use an edging tool or a credit card and a utility knife to trim the excess film from the edges of the window. Re-spray the film around the edges and finish squeegeeing the film working from the top downward. Remove any remaining air or water bubbles before the adhesive dries.
Tips & Warnings
- Have a helper ready to assist you when applying the film to the window. Window film application kits are available at The Home Depot.
- Window film should only be applied to the interior surface of the window. Window film should be applied when the temperature in between 40 and 90 degrees F for at least three days in a row. According to gilafilms.com, window film should not be applied to plastic or Plexiglass, "or 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."