Remove window film immediately?

keysJune 27, 2006

My contractor has been installing my new Anderson Woodwright windows throughout the week. I've come to notice that immediately upon installation he removes the interior and exterior protective film that is affixed to each window from the factory.

My house is far from finished and I've questioned him as to why he doesn't leave the plastic on in order to ensure that the glass remains clean. His contention is that the longer the plastic is left on the harder it is remove, especially during the summer months when the sun beats down on the windows for long periods of time.


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Your contractor is 100% WRONG. If he still has more windows to install do not let him remove the film!

The film is called Preserve and it is put on at the glass factory in order to protect the glass thru 100% of the building process.

It is a proprietary product that is used in the Woodwright and it is also now being offered in a number of other high-end applications (different window companies)and it is guaranteed to be easily removable without tearing or leaving any adhesive residue for one year after installation - regardless of where you live or the weather conditions.

It doesn't matter if the film is exposed to 120 above or -40 below, the adhesive is not affected by weather - including direct sunlight.

Leave it on until YOU are ready to remove it!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 9:55AM
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Oberon is correct. The film should NOT be removed until construction is complete. It will still be easily removed.
The film is there to protect the glass from construction debris, dust, paint, etc. The exterior film is also protecting the low maintanence coating.
This film is applied to all of Andersen's 400 series products. The window labels, which used to be very hard to remove if exposed long term to sunlight, are now applied to the film as well, making their removable extremely easy.
You should have the local Andersen rep contact the builder/installer if he's still not convinced.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 2:01AM
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Your contractor is 100%, unequivocally CORRECT!! While the film is there to protect the low maintenance coating on the glass, it shouldn't remain on the glass for an extended period. Andersen recommends no longer than 9 months, and that is pushing your luck. If you leave it on and exposed to sunlight for too long, you will have one heck of a time getting it off, and you can't use a razor to scrape it off because of the coating on the glass. The film could have stayed on for a while, but I don't blame your contractor for taking it off immediately. Once the windows are in place, the risk of damage to the surface is minimal.
What Oberon states couldn't be any more wrong. The film and adhesive IS affected by sunlight, it should be removed at temperatures ABOVE freezing, if it stays on for too long it will come of with great difficulty, in pieces and will leave adhesive on the glass. What Andersen uses is on all windows with their Low E4 glass, not just the Woodwrights....
I have been selling Andersen Windows for 29 years... I have seen what can happen and I have absolutely no reason to lead you astray. Here is a web address for an Andersen document to back up what I am saying... copy and paste it in your web browser then look on page 3
Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 9:52AM
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I registered just to post my comments regarding this. I kept the film on my Andersen 400 windows for around 2+ years (the construction on my house was getting delayed, bad times, etc. It happens.) I finally started removing the film a few days ago and I was up for a really nasty surprise. The film was very difficult to peel off and there was lots of residue left on the glass. The windows exposed to most direct sun were affected the most and had thicker residue. The temperatures were a bit low (November, mid 50s) but one window on the shaded side and installed only year or so ago had practically no residue and was easy to peel, so it must be time+sun combination.

If you are reading this thread, you are probably looking for a way to clean the glass, just like me. I've read that blades are not recommended because they may damage the protective coatings. Andersen recommends window cleaner and white scotchbrite scrubbing pad. I don't think they actually tried that. It may work in areas where the residue is minimal, but for the bad, thick residue it won't work too well. From the things I tried to far paint thinners/mineral oils/wd-40 work, but dissolving takes longer. Acetone based "goo off" is quicker. I'm guessing pure acetone (haven't tried it) will work even better, but it's very strong stuff and may damage paint, needs good ventilation, etc. It either case cleaning takes multiple passes as the residue turns into very sticky goo when using stronger cleaners. Once most of the glue is removed/dissolved, it can be finished with soap or other window cleaners.

Disclaimer: I am not pro, I don't even know if strong solvents are safe and won't damage any window coatings (especially pure acetone) so proceed at your own risk when using those. If someone knows better, please post here. And remove those films as soon as the job allows and save yourself a headache later. 9 months seems like a good recommendation from Andersen. Protective films on windows in shaded areas seem to last a bit longer.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 4:18PM
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6-9 months seem to not be a problem. Don't leave the film on for two years, however.

Becareful of using acetone or MEK on windows. these strong solvents attack PVC and many other plastics and sealants.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:45PM
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Straight acetone is your best bet for removing the adhesive. But as Trapper said, be careful because the acetone will damage the vinyl cladding of the window.

If you have areas with the film still adhering to the window, using a hair drier to warm the film prior to removing it may help as well.

Per my earlier post and the follow up from RWmaine (five years later), my original comments about film durability and ease-of-removal were correct based on the information available at the time. However, despite extensive testing prior to the release of the film, as it turned out, they were also a bit optimistic regarding long term exposure of the film to weathering and solar exposure.

My comments regarding the contractor removing the film as soon as he hung the windows was, and still is, correct - assuming of course that the windows hadn't sat on the ground for a year prior to being installed.

Echoing Mike35, the film is there to protect the glass surface (surface coated or not) from construction debris, dust, paint, stucco or cement splatter, whatever - not just, as RWmaine said, to protect a coating. Leave the film on as long as possible during construction before removing - but try to avoid leaving it on the glass for over a year. Or even nine months to follow Andersen's recommendation.

It can be very difficult to remove the film in cold weather. In fact, it may be better to wait a few months until it warms up again (if possible) when trying to remove the film. However, if it is necessary to remove the film when it's cold then warming the film will help to remove it more easily.

Once again a hair drier or other direct heat source will help - but avoid getting the glass too hot because you can introduce thermal stress into the glass which could lead to thermal breakage. Even direct sunlight on the window may help when removing the film during cold weather.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 5:05PM
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Follow up to my last post.

Acetone won't hurt the exposed coating but, once again, it will potentially damage the sash and frame components, so be really careful when using it to remove adhesive residue.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 5:11PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Acetone + vinyl = vinyl soup

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 9:22PM
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Most house construction projects take 3-6 months. I would vote for common sense when deciding on when to remove their film. I had thought it was common knowledge that ANYTHING exposed to the sun will break down eventually, especially plastics.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 9:56PM
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I carelessly left the outer film on my Anderson Windows for over 4 years!!!

I think after a year I was so afraid to face the fact that there might be a stubborn residue left behind that I chose NOT to attempt removal of the film...ignorance is bliss right?!?!

3 years later (today) I decided to finally face the music and peel off the film. As others have stated, when left too long in the sun (too long being 4 years in my case), properties of the film begin to change. Peeling off the film certainly was more difficult as it was hard to scrape up a corner to start peeling with. In addition, the material was a bit brittle and would sometimes 'snap' off mid peel (think stretching a fruit roll-up until it finally 'snaps'). As feared, it left behind a nasty residue that obscured the windows' clarity even more than the adhered film did!

HOWEVER...I decided to take some ideas from this forum as well as some advice from a local handyman guru and came up with a simple yet effective plan of attack:

1) spray down an area of residue with Goo Gone

2) let Goo Gone penetrate for 30-60 seconds

3) using a white scotch brite style pad, scrub firmly at the residue...scotch brite pad WILL goop up so be prepared to fold it about to get some clear surface area to scrub with

4) once the majority of the residue has been removed, you may be left with a light haze which IS easily removed with a few additional spritzes of Goo Gone and a clean rag

5) ...and VOILA...3 years of worry for NOTHING!!!

Total time cleaning: 30 minutes or less
Total time WORRYING: 744,600 minutes or MORE

So the moral of the story is: Don't be like me...stop worrying and get off your lazy butt and peel that film off...if you HAVE let the film sit for too long, don't worry, the residue comes off fairly easily!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 5:24PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Good update.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 5:42PM
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Windex and a razor blade will make quick work of it ;)

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 6:14PM
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Bumping this to see if anyone has had any experience with this since. The plastic film was on my new (Anderson) windows for over a year (I'm now two years into the project and it's not done yet) and a lot of adhesive remains.

(My house has serious western exposure so the sun beats in all afternoon.)

Of course, I have a ton of windows (around 40) and 7 sliders, plus many of the windows super high up and not easily reachable except via the tallest of ladders.

I've tried the usual suspects (goo gone, windex, dish soap, and so on) and a rag, which does sort of work but it gets really goopy.

    Bookmark   last Tuesday at 2:08PM
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I don't know if this is at all relevant, but I removed professionally installed window film that had been on my windows for 30 years with a hand held hair dryer. Once a corner is up, blow the warm/hot air between the film and the glass, pulling the film away as you work your way up. You don't have much to lose by trying that method first.

    Bookmark   last Tuesday at 9:58PM
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This is a glass protect-ant film that Andersen uses and they stress remove within 9 months. The sun actually degrades and breaks down the film. Solvents remove the film but make the glue a complete mess. I am yet to hear of an easy way to remove this film other than peeling it off shortly after install, sorry.

    Bookmark   last Wednesday at 4:57AM
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Windows on Washington

Light heat is your friend here. Don't use anything more than a hairdryer.

    Bookmark   last Friday at 7:00AM
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