Window film has a wide range of uses: it can obscure unsightly views. It creates privacy without blocking out sunlight, which is especially useful in bathrooms or open-plan offices (not that you’re secretly playing Candy Crush, obviously). Safety and security film provides added protection from intruders and shattered glass. There’s solar control film to avoid excess heat, decorative film, bomb-blast film… all available in a range of finishes and grades. For branding, there are computer cut logos. Coloured film is a great way of brightening up a classroom, whilst applying a different color to each window pane creates a stained glass effect. Unlike outdoors, indoor film has an indefinite lifespan.
Application is easier than you think. Before following our step by step guide, you will need:
Film, scissors, soap solution, spray bottle, window scraper, sponge, squeegee, lint-free towel, clean cloth, tape, smoothee squeegee, snap-off razor blade, five-way tool, hard plastic tool, towel.
1. Make sure not to apply the film when sun is shining on the glass. Firstly you need to trim the film down to the approximate size of the window. Most films come in 36 or 48 inches wide. Wet the window and lay the film over the pane you wish to cover, trimming it down with an extra inch around each edge. The water will hold the film in place.
2. Temporarily store the film by sticking it to a nearby window with water as it’s cleaner than a table or floor.
3. It’s extremely important to put time and effort into cleaning the window. Once you notice a finger print two months down the line, you can’t unsee it. Create a soapy solution by filling a spray bottle with mostly water and a tea spoon of Johnson’s baby shampoo. This will make the water slippery so the film is easy to reposition. Plain water would make the film stick too quickly, whilst too much soap would prevent it sticking at all.
4. Wet the glass and use two hands to clean it with a window scraper, ensuring there are no invisible specks of paint on the glass.
5. With a sponge scrub the glass with the soap solution then squeegee it clean, wiping the blade with a lint-free towel after each pass.
6. Clean the window frame with a clean cloth – not a paper towel because of lint.
7. To find the film’s release liner, gently rub both sides of the film together, careful not to crease it. Now to expose the adhesive. Notice that one side is slippery when rubbed against itself. This is the release liner. To release the liner, place a piece of tape on each side of the film and pull them apart. If you are working alone, place the film on an adjacent window for now. The release liner should be facing you, with only water sticking it to the glass.
8. As the tape gently helps release the liner, spray solution on the film as you go to stop dust attaching to it and causing air bubbles.
9. Having thoroughly sprayed the film, which no longer has a release liner, spray the center of the window pane you wish to stick the film on. Don’t spray the edges to avoid spreading any leftover dirt from the crevices onto the glass.
10. Take the film, applying it to the window. The soap solution will hold it in place.
11. Using a smoothee squeegee – not a regular window squeegee – carefully squeegee the water out to the edges, starting from the center and working outward. Push the squeegee rather than pulling it, driving more water out for a better bond. Do not go all the way to the way to the edge where the film would be pushed into crevices and dirt still lurks. End each squeegee pass one inch from the edge.
12. To trim the film use a snap-off razor blade and a five-way tool. Carefully slide the five-way tool up into the corner of the glass, pressing the film down right up to the frame.
13. Lay the razor blade against the five-way tool on the window side of the tool, carefully sliding the blade halfway down the tool. Then, slide the razor blade and the five-way both down together to the frame of the window.
14. By trimming the film at the exact same time as you press it against the frame the film does not draw dirt into the view. Repeat the process on each side.
15. There will be a tiny gap around the film, around one 16th of an inch. This is necessary but barely noticeable.
16. Squeegee the film again to get rid of water between the film and glass. All water bubbles must be removed. Using a hard plastic tool used the same way as the squeegee, force the water out to the edges, covering the plastic tool with a towel to absorb any water squeezed out.
17. Be aware not to clean the film for several days, and that it can take up to 30 days for the film to fully bond onto the glass. During this period be careful not to do anything that will pull the film until it’s fully bonded. During this time the film may turn cloudy, but rest assured it will clear up.