Questions on Window Film, Service, and Installation


Frequently Asked Questions

How do 3M™ Window Films work?
3M™ Sun Control Films are designed to reduce the amount of solar heat transmission through window glass.

Reflective films are products that have been precision coated with metals. These metallic films are designed to increase the solar energy reflection of the glass and some of the absorption. 3M™ Sun Control reflective films range from moderate to excellent in solar performance (heat gain reduction).

3M™ Sun Control Films are protected with our patented Abrasion Resistant coating for long-term durability and appearance maintenance.

How Do 3M™ Safety and Security Window Films Work?
3M™ Scotchshield™ Safety and Security Window Films are designed to prevent injuries from shattered glass by holding the glass pieces together when broken.

3M™ Scotchshield™ Window Films are made with thicker polyester and a much thicker, more aggressive adhesive system. These films are unique in the industry; they are built using a special micro-layered polyester technology which increases the films tear resistance significantly. The impact and tear-resistance of Scotchshield™ Safety and Security Window Films outperform all other films of similar thickness.

How will 3M™ Window Film benefit my home or business?
3M Window Films is a technologically advanced product that has many benefits for the home or business including: lowering energy bills, reducing heat and glare, eliminating 99% UV rays, and decreasing “hot spots” to increase efficiency of the cooling system in the summer and the building’s heating in the winter. Further benefits of the product include low reflectivity which enhances views and overall beauty, protection of furnishings by rejecting UV rays, the biggest culprit of fading. Window film is a great accessory for the home in that it reduces annoying glare and eye discomfort when using personal devices or computers. Since, 3M window film is non-metallic, it provides superior performance with no corrosion or interference with cell phone signals.

Why Do Commercial Customers Choose 3M™ Film for their Buildings?

  • Improved Tenant Comfort
  • Lower Heating and Cooling Operating Costs
  • Lower Utility Demand Costs
  • Utility Rebates
  • Improved Aesthetics, Uniform Appearance
  • Improved Safety and Security
  • Extended A/C Equipment Life
  • Valued Alternative to adding more A/C Equipment

Most often, our commercial customers will purchase 3M™ Window Films for tenant comfort with the added benefit of Energy Cost Savings.

What is the procedure to install window film?
The individual installation steps, assuming a typical interior application, would are as follows:

  • Prepare window area by placing drop cloths on floor and / or moving nearby electronics, appliances, or furnishings
  • Thoroughly clean interior side of glass pane and gaskets with a mild solution of dishwashing detergent and water to remove dirt and other residue
  • Wet glass with solution
  • Place film against glass
  • Squeegee to remove excess solution between glass and film
  • Trim film to gasket
  • “5-way” film edges to ensure film lies flat
  • Wipe film to ensure clean finished product
  • Remove drop cloths and replace furniture to original positions

Do you install window film on the inside or outside of a building?
Window film is typically installed on the interior side of a window. As it is a finished product, is best installed after all other nearby construction is complete. If access to the interior side of the window is difficult to obtain, an exterior application can be performed.

How do I clean the 3M™ Window Film after installation?
High quality 3M™ Window Film and scratch-resistant coatings make cleaning as easy. After thirty days, you may clean 3M™ Sun Control Films using normal household cleaning solutions, e.g. Windex, and a soft, lint-free cloth or towel – although avoid ammonia-based products. You may also use a squeegee to clean the film. Abrasive products, which could scratch or damage the film, should not be used.

Will window film ruin my view?
No; depending on the film you choose, 3M™ Window Films will actually reduce so much glare, both indoors, and out, that they will add clarity to your view.

Will my energy costs decrease?
Absolutely! The amount of money saved depends upon the type of film chosen and certain property-specific variables (location, climate, existing energy costs, HVAC system, etc…). After obtaining some basic energy unit costs for a given building, we can conduct a 3M™ Energy Audit to estimate the annual dollars saved by different film types. If you are interested, contact us for a free consultation and analysis.

What is the Typical Energy Pay Back for 3M™ Window Films?
Simple pay backs will vary depending upon the amount of sunlit glass exposure, the type of film, the type of glass, cost of fuel, cost of application, and other variables. However, we have seen pay backs often range in 2-5 year period, with some reported to be even less than 6 months.

Will my furniture fade be reduced?
Absolutely! Furniture / fabric fade is caused by multiple factors,10% of fading is caused by miscellaneous factors (i.e. fabric color, material, etc), 25% is caused by heat, and 25% is caused by visible light. UV rays cause the remaining 40% of fading. 3M™ window films can mitigate 90% of the factors that cause furniture and fabric fade. A general rule to keep in mind about the articles to be protected; if they have a typical life of 5 years then they may last 10 years depending on the performance of the film selected. However, if the typical life is only 2-3 weeks, then the expectation should be expressed in terms of months.

Does the Ultraviolet Protection Lose Its Effectiveness Over Time?
No, the ultraviolet (UV) protection that we use in our proprietary adhesive system is indefinite. It does not lose its effectiveness over time. In fact, an actual glass sample from The Dumbarton House in Washington, DC was tested. This was a ten-year old application and the ultraviolet transmission still measured <1%

How Long Does 3M™ Window Film Last?
3M™ Sun Control Films Window Films are durable product that last for many years; how long may depend upon the type of film applied, type of glass it is applied to, and the particular climate in which it is applied. Most applications last upwards of 10 years and beyond, and several applications are still performing after 15 years. All applications have a minimum warranty period of five years (except exterior applications which are 2 years), and several films carry a 10-year commercial warranty, and even a lifetime residential warranty (lifetime for as long as original purchaser owns their home).

How is 3M window film warrantied?
Please visit the warranty section within the Documentation page for more information.

Do you sell the film only, without installation?
No. In order, to be eligible for the 3M™ Warranty provided for the product and labor, ATD Solar Film & Graphics must perform the installation of the film.

How far will you travel from your location for quotes and installation?
ATD Solar Film & Graphics will travel a 300-mile radius from its home location in Frederick, MD, although jobs are on a case-by-case basis and far away jobs may be subject to a minimum installation price.

Does 3M™ have a GSA contract?
Yes! 3M™ has a GSA contract for both labor and material to facilitate government procurement.