Window Film suggestions

chispaSeptember 16, 2012

I like my windows "naked", but having west facing windows and french doors in California means I have to do something. I was going to order some blinds but I know I will not be happy having my view blocked. I've decided to use window film and some more sheer blinds.

Have any of you use window film recently? Any brand/model recommendations?

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All of the films that block any significant heat have a tint to them, and you can't raise them like blinds. I recommend a solar shade on a roller, they practically disappear when raised (and you can get them motorized or spring loaded so no cords dangle) and filter the sun without blocking the view. The darker colors are more transparent to the view and you can chose different "openness" levels.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 10:14PM
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I don't like the looks of the roller solar shades and they don't really go with my house & decor.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 10:18PM
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What is your home's style?

We have window film on our office window, it was DIY a few bubbles formed from the hot sun and it has a definite tiny that makes it harder to see out. We'll probably remove it in a few months.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 11:43PM
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Chispa, what about external solar shades that hang hidden above your windows you can raise and lower remotely? I, too have naked windows and even the change in view caused by film would bug me.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 11:52PM
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I put window film in my bathroom. I purchased it on Amazon and was very satisfied. I got a frosted plain look but they come in many types. I have no problem doing it. Just make sure you measure correctly. Once I measured I made a template of cardboard to get it exact and then placed that under the film to do the accurate cutting. Just follow the directions, it's small money and big pay off.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 11:55PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

If you have double or triple paned windows, putting a film on the inside can cause damage to the seal, or break the window and probably voids the warranty. Putting it on the inside reflects the heat back through the window, causing the excessive heat buildup within it.

There are solar screens that are either motorized or 'fixed' screens.

Here is a link that might be useful: About Window Films

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 11:59PM
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The house is 12 yrs old so I don't think I have much of a warranty. Our previous house had Andersen windows/doors and the warranty was only 10 years. I used window film on some sky lights many years ago and was happy with the result.

I have a retractable solar shade on a pergola and one that lowers vertically, just outside these rooms, but the angle of the sun right now manages to bypass all those exterior shades.

I just wanted some recent users of window film to share the brand/model they used and the results. I would pay a window tinting business to come and install. To give you an idea how much I hate things covering my windows - the house has 60 something doors/windows and I removed wood blinds from all of them!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 12:41AM
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Well my feedback is that the film I used from Home Depot was a real pain to install, and even when I finally got it on looking nice, 2 weeks later there were bubbles. And it has a very noticeable tint.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 9:19PM
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I have window film on my skylights, I didn't want shades, were professionally installed. I bought the DIY films at Lowes for LR/DR and BR, all the films reduce heat and protect my furniture from fading. All have a very light tint, I still have shades on my windows, but like to keep them up as much as possible. ( I got better as I did more windows, actually took them off the first 2 widows, and re did them, I think they look professional.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 9:53PM
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3M makes a clear film for windows under their Prestige series.

I'm not familiar with the product, though. I'm researching it because we're having the exterior painted next week and with the storms off I thought it would be a good idea.

I have a friend that tints windows so I sent him an email asking if he was familiar with this product. I'll let you know what I find out.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 10:10PM
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Thanks Jennifer, that would be good information.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 10:27PM
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a reader asked me this question recently - so i just did some research on the latest brands - i hope it helps - she went with one from emma jeffs...

Here is a link that might be useful: Window Films

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 10:32PM
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Thanks design_wotcha, but I don't want to cover my view! I guess "solar" window film is a better description, allowing views but blocking heat and Uv light.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 11:19PM
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ah chispa - naturally who would want to cover a california view. my contractor says he uses 3M and solargard (sic?) window films... from others comments it sounds like professional installation is key to getting this right.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 9:47AM
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As I type, the installers are finishing up tinting 4 windows. I love the look of them. It is a bit like looking through lightly tinted Polaroid sunglasses. I asked them about placing it on the inside, which they did, and he told me that it was only dark tints that stood a chance of harming seals in windows. He said that it isn't uncommon for seals to eventually go in windows, and if they do they will replace the film at no cost. The product is 3M and their card says
I got estimates from 2 places and found out something interesting. The first company gave me the estimate and added some $240 in taxes. The second told me that there is no tax on window film since it is energy saving and non-taxable!
I know there are two, or more, levels of protection and one of them is "low E". If you use that one, you might be eligible for up to $500 rebate through your electric company.
Time will tell how these work out but I hope what little I've learned is helpful.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 11:48AM
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Beth Simpson

I've used the kind that looks like stained glass (for total privacy but still allow some soft light) and it was great but the kind that is plain (merely tinted or frosted) is much harder to install and maintain and a real pain to remove. I used the gila brand from home depot.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 12:05PM
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Well, my window tint guy is trying to talk me out of 3M Prestige. I'm sure it's because he can't get a hold of the product. He's not an authorized 3M distributor. Also, he couldn't offer any information on the product because he's never used it.

He did say it would cost 2.5 times more than standard window tint. He approximated $50 a window for regular tint and $120 for Prestige. I don't think that's too much if you compare it to the cost of window treatments + related hardware. 3M products have a good reputation and with your situation I think it would be worth it.

It is too expensive for me, though. DH has been promising me new windows for eons. If I put expensive tint on the storms it would give him license to remove the window project completely from his list!


oh, a 3M installer just called me back and quoted $10-$14/sqft for the Prestige line

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 5:49PM
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Chispa, I always recommended Vista Window film to our customers. They were about an hour away but came out for the ones that called them and they were very pleased. However, we have found that our local guys who do the tinted car windows also do homes. I guess they had done it for years before I knew about them. We have many high-end homes use them. You might check your yellow pages for local, but I will give the link for Vista.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vista Window Film

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 8:45PM
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I had a quote from my local Vista rep and that is the one that was the higher price plus they charged tax. The product was somehow higher efficiency somehow but, for my living zone, was overkill.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 9:21PM
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Yes I think a professional install of a more expensive film might give you the results you want - if you just want to block some heat and UV.

beth0301, the Gila from Home Depot is what I used too - not happy with it. It turned color after a few months too and now looks greenish from the inside as well as having formed bubbles that were not there after installation. We're going to leave it on until maybe end of October and then remove it. That's one good thing about the product - it can easily be removed! Maybe next year we will try an exterior shade or something - we have drapes but it's not enough to prevent that room from getting too warm.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 3:52PM
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