Project Level: Intermediate
Window film can help you solve problems with heat, glare, fading and privacy without blocking your view. It is a simple, cost-effective way to increase your home's comfort, energy-efficiency and overall appearance. All you need are a few common tools, a helper for large windows and some free time in the morning or evening to make your home the coolest house in the block. Lowe's is happy to provide this information as a service to you.
Which Window Film Do I Use?
There are several types of window film from which to choose. Assess your home and your needs, then choose the film that best meets those needs:
- Insulating films add year round comfort to your home. They reflect the sun’s heat in summer. Reflecting the sun’s heat in summer helps reduce your home’s overall heat gain. As a result, your home feels cooler and your air conditioner runs less. Insulating films also retain up to 55 percent of your home's heat in winter. These films provide comfort you can feel and savings you can see in your utility bills. In addition to increased comfort and lower utility bills, insulating films reduce fade damage to your home's furnishings, floors and window treatments by blocking out up to 99% of UV rays. Insulating window films are affordable, energy-efficient improvements for all existing residential windows, including dual-panes and can pay for themselves in less than a year. They improve the comfort of your home and reduce your utility costs by reducing your top source of heat gain.
- Glare reducing or static cling films help reduce the glare and provide the flexibility of being removable and reusable. These films prevent television and computer screen washout and can improve the look of your home. Glare reducing static cling films also block 99% of UV rays. Glare reducing films should be applied to the inside of single-pane windows and to the outside of dual-pane windows.
- Privacy films help create privacy for you and your family. Frosted privacy films are translucent and allow light to pass through while providing 24-hour privacy. Mirrored privacy films provide daytime privacy. They allow you to see outside, but stop others from seeing in during the day. Black static cling films are also offered to provide daytime privacy and reduce the amount of light that comes into a room. Privacy films also block 99% of UV rays.
Tools and Materials
- Window film
- Rubber squeegee
- Utility knife
- Spray bottle
- Baby shampoo
- Bottled water
- Lint-free cloth (or coffee filters)
- Transparent tape
Measure and record the length and width of each piece of glass you plan to tint. You will need the measurements to determine which kits to purchase. Add 15 percent to your window film purchase to account for waste and scrap.
Apply the film in early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat of the day. Excessive heat will cause the solution used to coat the glass and film to dry prematurely and could cause streaks in your project.
- Clean your windows thoroughly with a mixture of one teaspoon baby shampoo to one gallon bottled water. It is important that you use a solution of no-tears baby shampoo and bottled water to provide the correct pH and final clarity to your project. Never use any cleaner containing vinegar or ammonia to clean the film. Do not clean the windows with any cleaner containing vinegar or ammonia immediately before applying the film, as this could damage the film.
- Cut a piece of film 1" wider and 1" longer than the window you plan to cover.
- Spray the window liberally with the same solution you used to clean the windows. Keep your hands moistened with the solution to prevent leaving fingerprints on the film.
- Use two pieces of transparent tape to remove the backing from the film. After you have exposed an inch or so of the film's adhesive backing, spray the film with the solution. On large pieces, you will need a helper to keep from contaminating the film when the backing is removed.
- Starting at the top, place the adhesive side of the film on the glass and work your way down the window. Position the film so it is centered on the glass and spray with the solution. Squeegee any bubbles to within 2" of the edge of the window. Keep the surface of the film wet with the solution so the squeegee will pull across it easily.
- Use a utility knife to trim the film. Leave a 1/16" border between the edge of the film and the window.
- Re-spray the surface of the film and squeegee out any bubbles. Bubbles will be able to escape through the space between the film and the edge of the window.
- The film should begin to stick within thirty minutes and normally cures fully in four to eight days.