DIY Window Film Security
DIY Window Film Security

The windows in your house let in light and air, but they can also let in ultraviolet rays and unwanted intruders. One good way to protect your home from the latter without compromising on the former is by installing window film.

Window film is a protective coating made of polyester and metal alloys and held together with adhesive to make a film. Less expensive than double- or triple-pane windows and easy to install, window film increases the durability of your windows and makes them more shatter-resistant, so they can stand up to break-in attempts, gale-force winds-even explosions!

Not only that, but window film blocks out almost 100% of harmful ultraviolet rays, protecting both you and your furniture from long-term sun damage. It also reduces solar gain in the summer and insulates in the winter, which can significantly lower your cooling and heating bills. Window film is available in various strengths and shades, so assess your home needs and decide which kind of film works for you.

Installation of Home Window Film

Once you've chosen a window film that suits your needs, you can begin installation. Here are a few things you'll need:

  • A spray bottle full of mounting solution (you can make a mounting solution by adding one bottle of film aid concentrate or ¼ tsp. conditioner-free no-tears baby shampoo to 1 qt. of bottled water-not hard tap water, since it can leave spots on the film);
  • A squeegee;
  • A break-away utility knife and replacement blades;
  • A lint-free cloth;
  • A ruler or tape measure;
  • Razor blades for cleaning the glass;
  • A partner, for larger windows;
  • A clear, dust-free work area.

Step by Step Guide to Security Window Film Installation:

  1. STEP 1: Measure the window and cut the film accordingly (1" extra on all sides is a safe bet).
  2. STEP 2: Clean the glass. Using an ammonia- and vinegar-free glass cleaner (any other kind will dissolve the adhesive) or your homemade mounting solution, spray the window thoroughly and squeegee it clean. If necessary, scrape the glass first with the razor blades to remove paint, stray caulking, etc.. Wipe the window dry with the cloth.
  3. STEP 3: Peel the liner off the film. Window film creases easily, so handle it carefully. For larger windows, get a partner to help you.
  4. STEP 4: Spray both the window and the adhesive side of the film with mounting solution so that both are dripping wet.
  5. STEP 5: Place the film on the glass by aligning it with the top of the window and letting it settle. If it's wet enough, you can slide it around to adjust it.
  6. STEP 6: Tack the film to the glass with the squeegee. First, spray the film with mounting solution to lubricate it. Then, starting about 2" from the top of the glass and stopping about 2" from the sides and bottom, squeegee the water and air bubbles out with straight, firm, overlapping strokes.
  7. STEP 7: Trim the film with the break-away knife to fit the window, leaving a 1/16" gap between the film and the window frame (to get all the water out and to let the glass expand). Change the blade after every cut, since a dull blade will tear the film.
  8. STEP 8: Rewet and re-squeegee the film, including the edges, to get out any excess water and air bubbles. Wipe the edges dry with the cloth or paper towels.
  9. STEP 9: Inspect, repeat Step 8 if necessary, and leave the film to dry.

For Best Results with Window Films...

  • Pre-trim the film for arched or irregularly-shaped windows. It makes it easier to install.
  • You might think it's a good idea to take the glass out of the frame and film it horizontally, but it's not. This traps air bubbles under the film. Only film windows vertically.
  • Choose an installation-friendly time of day and an equally amenable temperature. The best time to install window film is during early morning or late evening (no direct sunlight, and the glass is cooler), in temperatures of 45-90 degrees F.
  • Be patient. Installing window film-and particularly peeling off the lining-requires a great deal of care. Take your time. You'll be glad you did.