Volume 16, Issue 3 - May/June 2012
Back to Basics:
There is so much more to window film than meets the eye. On the surface it appears to be a shaded piece of plastic that sticks to windows. Yet, beneath the surface lies layer upon layer of complex materials that work together to keep out harmful ultraviolet (UV) light, glare and heat.
Recap: Lesson in Light
The components that make up film help with this process of reflection which is why it’s important to understand the components and why they are a part of this product.
The adhesive layer will affix the film to the window and keep it in place. Different films will have different “stick-ability.” Some may have low adhesion, in order to be removed and place in a different spot. Others will have a high adhesion to allow the film to stay in place longer. The adhesive is very important to the effectiveness of the film and if it were to be faulty the installed film would fail.
Next in the layers of film is polyester. This is the “meat and potatoes” of film. Some films will have multiple layers of polyester with adhesive on top of the initial polyester layer. The polyester layer is where you see a lot of additional add-ons like metals and dyes that can give film different properties.
Many films will also have a scratch resistant acrylic coating that is placed over the polyester to protect the film from scratches or tearing. These have grown a lot over the years and new technology is consistently released to ensure less scratches. These are important to maintain a distortion-free viewing area and allowing the glass to look at natural as possible from the inside.
Combined together, these layers create the base for most window film products. As the industry grows and trends change the different types of available window film become more complex and more powerful.
Dyeing film is another popular process for manufacturing. This varies between different manufacturers and most keep their process of dyeing film fairly secretive.
As we continue to see products changing and technology growing, consumers will need to stay educated on what products can give them what they need. Understanding the basics, like the recipe for film, can help dealers better present and sell the product to consumers, designers and architects. Not only can it make a company appear professional, but it can also bring in that extra sale.
Katie O’Mara is the editor of Window Film magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Twitter at @windowfilmmag or on Facebook by searching for Window Film Magazine.