GIMME SHELTER- Not fade away: Film reduces glare, fading, heat
Co-Owner, Clear View Window Tinting, (434)996-8468, www.clearviewtint.com
Q: While cleaning my house the other day, I lifted a rug and noticed that my wood floors have significantly faded. And I have to run the air-conditioner a lot. Should I try window films?
A: Covering your windows and glass doors with window film would take care of both of these problems. Quality window films block 99 percent of UV radiation, the kind that fades your carpets, floors, furniture, and artwork. They also block 97 percent of infrared radiation, so they prevent heat build-up and can reduce energy costs 10-15 percent over a year. Film will also provide some degree of insulation against heat loss during the winter. In addition, window film cuts glare, which can significantly enhance views of computer or television screens, and can allow a warmer and clearer view of outside scenery.
Film may be especially beneficial in homes with skylights and large picture windows or doors, especially if they're east, west, or south facing. However, regular windows and doors are often worth covering as well, in order to thoroughly prevent fading and glare, and to achieve high energy efficiency.
Window film comes in various types and tints, so choose carefully based on your particular needs. Many homeowners prefer completely clear films, which are undetectable on glass. More darkly tinted films will reduce glare and infrared radiation more sharply, but all tints will cut out equal amounts of UV radiation.
Films that contain metal may interfere with cell phone reception and are susceptible to corrosion, but they maximize glare protection. Keep in mind that the apparent tint of the film will depend on how much light is actually coming through it. If you want to prevent people from seeing through the glass, consider installing decorative, translucent film that allows light to pass through. This kind is typically used on interior glass, like between cubicles in an office.
When Orzo, the new West Main Street restaurant, first opened, its owners had decorative films installed on their interior glass to visually shield the dining area from the building's other patrons. They liked the look of the films so much that they decided to cover their large street-front windows. They were thus able to create a pleasantly tranquil ambiance in a space that would otherwise have felt uncomfortably exposed, and too brightly lit.
We recommend having professionals install your film unless you intend to cover only a few small spaces, because a professional will leave windows sealed correctly, and without scratched glass. Additionally, the installation company will use a higher quality product than you can buy yourself, and they should guarantee the work.
Film is typically self-adhesive, applied to the interior of the glass. There should not be any noticeable seam around the perimeter. Although the films are scratch resistant, don't install them on glass at a low level if you have pets that scratch there constantly.
The films need about 30 days to dry, after which you can use any regular cleaning product on them. The UV and infrared protection will never wear off; in fact, high quality film comes with a lifetime manufacturer's warranty.
Many window film companies offer a free installation cost estimate, which will take into account the square footage and accessibility of the glass and the types of films best suited to the site. Film for an average size house might cost $1,000-$3,000 depending on those factors, and could be installed in a day. Homeowners with window film can also qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $300, and your utility savings will offset the price of the film within a few years.
Photo by Lucie Stone