Instructions for Installing Window Film
The main purpose of this web page is to assist anyone wanting to physically secure some of the most vulnerable window glass in their home by installing their own security film.
If you want to install your own window security film, you will find clear, easy to follow instructions below that will take you through each & every step of the installation process.
If you have a limited knowledge of security film & have not already chosen or acquired the protective laminate you need, you may first want to visit my window security film web page.
It will provide you with a complete understanding of security film & outlines important information on measuring the laminate, choosing the right film thickness & determining how much film you need.
It also discusses which windows in your home are the most vulnerable & why you may want to consider protecting them with a security film.
You first want to acquire the security film you will need & the measurements of each piece of film you plan to install. Window film is installed on the inside of the glass & it is important to ensure that each piece of film overlaps the edge of the glass by up to 1” on all four sides.
Prior to carrying out these instructions for installing window film, you will first need to obtain the basic tools that are listed below. You will need these items for cleaning the window glass & for installing the protective film.
A spray bottle full of a cleaning/mounting solution is required for cleaning the glass surface & for mounting the film. This type of solution would also work well for cleaning the security film in the future.
You can purchase a film application solution that is specifically made for installing window film or you can make your own solution.
To make your own solution you can either mix a bottle of film aid concentrate or add a ¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) of baby shampoo without conditioner to 1qt. (32 ounces) of distilled or bottle water.
Caution: It is very important that you do not use hard tap water when mixing either of these solutions, as the minerals in the water can leave spots under the film.
A squeegee with a flexible rubber blade is required for cleaning the glass & for applying the laminate to the window pane. It can also be used in the future when cleaning the window film.
Glass scrapper that holds single-edge razor blades is required for cleaning the glass prior to installing the window film.
A small utility knife that uses breakaway blades is needed for cutting the film from the roll & trimming off excess film during the installation process.
Depending on how much of the security laminate you will need to cut & trim you may need some extra blades.
The film unfortunately can dull the edge of the blade very quickly & you can easily tear the film when using a dull blade.
To err on the side of caution you may want to consider changing the blade after every 8 to 10 feet of cutting or trimming the window film.
You will need a 4” to 6” squeegee that is commonly known as a “hard card”. This tool is mainly used in the final stages of squeegeeing or pushing out any remaining water or solution beneath the window film.
A tape measure is required for measuring the film you need to cut from the roll & to measure the glass surface in the windows you want to secure if you have not already done so.
You will want a lint-free cotton or microfiber cloth or lint-free paper towels for cleaning the glass surface, & soaking up squeegeed water.
With the exception of the tape measure most of the other items listed above are included in various installation kits that are available for installing window film.
The Best Time of Day for Installing the Film:
Once you have acquired everything you will need for installing the protective film, you will need to choose an appropriate time of day to begin. The best times for installing window film is either early in the morning or late in the evening when the windows glass is at its coolest temperature.
Although you do not want to install the window film too late in the evening, as it is better to have daylight during the installation process. The early morning hours is the best time to install film on windows that receive the afternoon sun, as you will want to give this glass several hours or more to cool down.
Preparing the Glass:
You should never install window film on a glass surface that has not been thoroughly cleaned. Clean glass not only helps ensure the success of the installation process, it is also essential for achieving total clarity in the finished appearance of the protected glass.
The mixed or premixed solution discussed above is needed throughout the entire process of installing the film including the cleaning of the glass.
Caution: At no time should you use a regular household glass cleaner for cleaning the glass surface. Ammonia & vinegar are found in almost all glass cleaners & these ingredients will break down the films adhesive over time.
Step: 1 Spray the glass surface generously with the solution & use a lint-free cloth or rubber squeegee to thoroughly clean the window pane.
Step: 2 Re-spray the glass & lightly scrape the entire surface with a new single edge razor blade in its holder.
You want to remove any dirt, calking, stickers, paint or anything else that may be caked on or stuck to the surface of the glass.
Step: 3 To ensure the glass is thoroughly clean, you will want to take a second pass with the razor blade. Make sure you re-spray the glass first as this helps prevent the glass from being scratched during the scrapping process.
Prior to scrapping the glass for the second time you may want to first check for any flaws in the razor blade & use a new one if any found. This will also reduce the chances of scratching the glass.
Once you have scrapped the glass surface for the second time you will want to use a lint-free cloth or paper towel to remove any dirt on the edge & corners of the glass.
Step: 4 Re-spray the glass once more with the spray solution & then squeegee the window from top to bottom making it completely dry. You will also want to remove any remaining solution & dirt in the corners & edges of the glass by wiping it once again with a lint-free cloth or paper towel.
Preparing to Install Window Film:
The area(s) where the protective film will be installed should be clean & free of dust. To help prevent any dirt or dust particles from coming in contact with the film or the glass after it has been cleaned, you will want ensure no fans are running in or around your work area.
You will need a flat clean surface for measuring & cutting the pieces of laminate you want to install. A ruler or a straight edge can work very well as a guide when cutting the film.
If you have chosen to install window film on any large windows in your home, you will need someone that can assist you. You should install the security film on your smallest windows first, as the experience you will receive from this will be very helpful when applying the laminate to a larger window(s).
Installing Window Film:
Once your glass has been thoroughly cleaned & the film for your windows has been measured & cut you are ready to install your security film.
Step: 1 Place the piece of film you are ready to install on a clean flat surface with the film’s release liner facing up.
If you do have someone that is able to assist you, they could hold the piece of film while you remove the liner. To begin separating the liner from the film you may need a couple of pieces of scotch tape.
In one corner of the laminate you will want to stick one piece of tape on the film & one on the liner directly opposite each other & pull the two pieces of tape apart so the liner starts to separate from the film.
You will want to remove the liner gradually while spraying the exposed adhesive on the film generously with the solution until the films liner is removed.
It is very important to soak the adhesive as soon as you expose it, as it will help prevent the film from rolling over & sticking to itself.
Step: 2 With the liner completely removed you will need to generously cover the glass with the spray solution & re-spray the adhesive side of the film if needed prior to placing it on the glass.
Before you start installing window film on the glass you will need to ensure both the laminate & the window pane are completely covered with the solution.
This will prevent the film from immediately sticking to the glass & this will provide you with a little time to position the film in place.
With the adhesive side of the film facing the window pane, you want to lay it over the glass & use your hands to slide it in place where the excess film overlaps the edge of the glass evenly on all four sides.
Step: 3 Smooth out the film with your hands once it is in place & then wet the entire film with the spray solution. It is important to always keep the film lubricated with the solution when squeegeeing the film with your hard card or flexible squeegee.
With the entire surface sprayed you want to start in the center at the top of the glass & squeegee the film to the right side of the window & continue down the glass & repeat this process down the left side.
For medium to large size windows you will want to use your flexible squeegee for the above procedure. When installing window film on smaller panes of glass you may find it more practical & easier to squeegee the film with your hard card.
When squeegeeing out the solution & air bubbles for the first time, you should only apply a moderate amount of pressure to the flexible squeegee or the hard card.
Step: 4 You now want to trim the excess film that overlaps the four edges of the glass using a straightedge as a guide & leaving a 1/16” gap between the laminate & the window frame.
Use a new blade to start this process & use another fresh blade after you trim 8 to 10 feet of film. The security film will dull the edge of the blade very quickly & a dull blade can easily tear the film.
Step: 5 You will now want to re-spray the film once more & firmly press your hard card to squeegee the film in the same manner as outlined above. You also want to wipe the edges & corner of the glass dry using a cloth or paper towel.
Step: 6 Wrap some paper towel or a dry absorbent cloth around the edge of your hard card & push out any remaining solution to the outer edges of the film.
You should continue this process until all the water has been pushed out or you feel satisfied you cannot remove any more water.
It may take a week to ten days for the film to dry & for the adhesive to fully cure & adhere to the surface of the glass.
A day or two after installing window film on the glass, you may see some water bubbles appear & the film may start to become hazy.
You should not be concerned by this as it will completely disappear over the next four or five days.
Wet damp weather may prolong the curing period a little, while dry hot days will speed up the drying & curing process.
I sincerely hope that the above instructions on installing window film was in some way helpful & beneficial for you. You may want to consider bookmarking this web site as new & updated content is uploaded weekly.
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