Window Film FAQs - Dickson Graphics


Window Film FAQs

We’ve listed some of the most common window film FAQs here. But if you have a question that is not covered below please contact us here.

What is window film?

3M invented the first commercially viable window tinting film in 1966. That first film was originally intended simply to lower the overall amount of light coming through a window. Over the years, film technology improved and now modern window films can provide many more benefits. The can be spectrally tuned to keep out only undesirable wavelengths (UV rays). Film can reduce energy costs, protect against glare and fading, and provide physical security.

Why do you install only 3M window films?

As the original inventor of window film, 3M continues to maintain its lead in terms of window film technology. The prestige series line offers incredibly high heat reduction with a film that is neither highly reflective nor incredibly dark. It offers the best in benefits at an affordable cost in an attractive package. 

Is there a warranty on window films?

Yes. 3M films come with significant warranties up to and including lifetime of the treated building. Ask your Dickson sales professional for details. Note: To make a claim against the 3M warranty, your window film must be installed by a 3M certified installer, like Dickson Graphics.  

What are the different types of window film?

There are a number of different families of commercial window film:

General: Films that offer heat rejection, UV protection, and glare prevention.

Security: Security films are significantly heavier, and in many cases rely on 3M‘s patented ultra film technology. Ultra film technology uses multiple micro-layers to make the film highly resistant to breaking an entering. Additionally, security films can have the properties of general films, as described above.

Decorative Film: Films that are frosted or contain printed patterns or lines. These films also offer a degree of  privacy.

Why do I need window films?

Based on customer requests, the two most common reasons to apply window films are 1) controlling heating and cooling costs and 2) protection from fading. Another important benefit that our clients request is protection from break-ins. There is actually a statewide program in the state of Texas where every single school building in the entire state will have anti-intrusion film.

Does film stop fading?

The simple answer is yes, but…it’s complex. There is no way to stop fading entirely. Some delicate things, like silk fibers, will fade purely because of time and/or exposure to any light source. By the way, this is the reason that most museums are very dark. Light from the light fixtures themselves can fade artifacts over time. Also, some fibers and fabrics fade because they are sensitive to chemicals in the air, such as ozone from electric motors, solvents, and propellants from spray cans.

Having said that, all of our films offer a minimum of 99% ultraviolet reduction (the primary cause of fading). It also offers reduction in the infrared heat penetration and overall light penetration, which are both additional causes of fading. 

Does window film provide complete privacy?

Window films can provide significant privacy in certain lighting conditions. Even the strongest and most private window film isn’t going to be highly effective at night. When there are lights on inside the structure and it’s dark outside, people will be able to see inside. However, during daylight hours, the privacy attained is almost total,  depending on the film chosen. Speak to one of our highly trained estimating professionals for more information on privacy applications.

How is window film installed?

During the application process, our professional installers will protect the area around the glass to protect from any over-spray from the application spray we use. We also clean the windows incredibly well – literally much better than a professional window cleaner would. Becausethe film is effectively permanent, we don’t want any contamination left behind before installation. After installation, our professionals clean the windows and clean up the installation area.

How long does window film last?

We can’t really say for other brands of window film, but 3M films generally last more than 40 years. 3M’s advanced weather and aging testing shows this to be the lifespan of the majority of their films. Literally, your residential windows will likely fail long before the window film does.

My windows are already tinted. Do I need film?

The question of whether you will need additional film on factory tinted glass is going to depend on two factors: 1) the type of class actually involved, and 2) the performance you desire as a homeowner or commercial space manager. Most “tinted glass“ simply means that the glass has some pigment. It’s darkened purely for aesthetics. That tinted glass doesn’t do anything to reduce the infrared or the ultraviolet penetration through the glass. The reason for applying 3M film on top of factory tinted glass would be to gain those additional benefits.

I have Low-E windows already. Why add film?

Low-E windows are designed to provide significant insulation during the winter. It performs well in cold weather,  helping you save money on heating costs. But Low-E windows do not provide the same savings in hot weather. 3M provides window films designed to provide a significant summertime benefit by rejecting excess heat and making your home more efficient to cool. So applying this film to Low-E windows gives you the savings in both hot and cold weather. Also, for those of you who don’t have Low-E glass already, 3M does have a highly respected Low-E window film.

How do I care for window film?

Modern window films are highly durable and easy to care for. In the case of 3M films, you care for the film just as you would any normal glass. Obviously, do not use anything to clean your windows that would scratch glass itself, especially things like razor blades. Otherwise, you will clean as normal. We recommend a mild detergent solution applied with a sprayer and wiped dry with a dish cloth or paper towels.