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Working Area Finish

The finish is as good as the working area

Much discussion has taken place over the years when it comes to the finish of window film applied to glass. The reality is that film applied to glass will never have the same finish as laminated or reflective glass. The reason for this is that laminated or reflective glass is made under special laminating “clean room” conditions. Special equipment is utilised to purify the air as well as the working environment to ensure no movement of dust particles within the atmosphere.

Consumers must realise that when window film is applied to existing glass, numerous factors have to be taken into account. First of all in most cases, the glass that film companies apply their product to is used glass or retro fit. This glass is in place already within frames, which makes it very difficult to offer a perfect finish.

The first problem an installer needs to deal with is the wear and tear on the glass which usually has scratches, chips and contamination which has been embedded in that glass and in some cases, for decades. Glass in frames creates problems with contamination coming out of the putty on the sides or the rubber beading when squeegeed. Unfortunately, with the application of window film, one needs to use water and this water seeps into the frames and draws contamination back under the film. One cannot clean the frame out perfectly as the dirt is hidden and not visible to the eye. Whatever fixing system is used, it is virtually impossible to flush out the contamination which has accumulated in the frame over the years.

Certain cleaning solutions and silicone is sometimes utilised by building owners to clean the glass. These chemicals in some cases, are almost impossible to remove and once the film is applied to the window, it creates a reaction with the adhesive on the film.

Numerous consumers fail to understand why their windows have certain imperfections once the film is applied. Darker films applied to glass enhance scratches and imperfections due to the darker layer. Pollution in the atmosphere is also a grave concern when applying film, however difficult to get away from. If one sits in one’s home and looks at an area where the sun is shining into a room, thousands of little specks can easily be seen that are naturally visible within the spaces. It is impossible to remove those dust particles and therefore when one peels the silicone lining off the film and applies it to the window, some contamination naturally becomes attached to the adhesive system.

Another problem window film installers have to deal with, is that the adhesive systems on window films are never perfect and manufacturers allow for approximately 5% leverage when viewing the final product.
Curtains and blinds in retrofit applications are another problem, as window film installers cannot remove all curtains and blinds when installing film. The removal is a risky business as anything can go wrong, as well as it being time consuming. Window film installers need to deal with dust collected within these shading devices and curtains. Most home owners never wash or dry clean their curtains and the amount of dust collected over the years is enormous. Consumers cannot expect the same visual quality out of a window film installation as they do from new laminated glass.

Every care is taken by installers to offer the best finish possible. However, as the saying goes “the finish is as good as the working area”. Some installations are better than others due to the circumstances.

Consumers need to view the window film from a distance and cannot expect to examine the application of a window film by standing right next to it and looking for imperfections. One needs to realise that window film is a protection product and not a decorative product. Window film is applied to either reduce the heat by creating a more comfortable environment or by turning ordinary glass into safety glass.

Window film also offers the advantage of protecting interior furnishings from ultra violet light. Therefore, window film is an inexpensive method of turning ordinary glass into high performance solar and safety glass, at a fraction of the price of replacing the glass with laminated or reflective laminated glass.

Smash & Grab window film applied to car windows usually has an excellent finish due to the fact that in most cases the glass is brand new with no wear and tear, and as the car is brand new, there is very little contamination in the upholstery areas of the car. It must also be noted that smash and grab window film has thicker adhesion than regular window and a lot of the dust specks get buried within the adhesion and are not visible to the naked eye.

Another old saying is “you get what you pay for” and one cannot expect a new laminated glass finish from a window film application.