The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Window Security Film for Your Home

Many people may not consider a broken window a big deal, but it can be expensive and dangerous. If you have a reason to believe that your windows are vulnerable to any threat, you might want to consider investing in window security film.

In general, window security film is a protective layer for your windows, making them more resistant to breakage. It provides several benefits, including UV protection, privacy, and extra security. It does not, however, render windows bulletproof.

If you are considering getting a window security film for your windows, there are many things that you should know. Read on to determine whether this would be a worthwhile investment.

What is Window Security Film?

Window security film is a plastic film that you apply over the surface of your windowpane. It has a few different features:

  • It is thin and micro-layered.
  • It makes the glass harder to break.
  • Even if the glass breaks, it keeps the pieces in place when it would otherwise shatter into several pieces.
  • Putting it on top of windows is a relatively simple process, although it is recommended that a professional do it.

Window security film works in a way that is comparable to automotive windshield glass. It stops the glass from shattering completely upon impact, even if something hits it hard and causes a crack or hole. It is also like laminated security glass, which consists of a PVB (polyvinyl butyral) layer between two layers of glass, melded together within an autoclave.

The main difference between laminated security glass and window security film on a window is that the window security film is something you can add on top of existing glass.

Other benefits of using window security film include:

  • Options for privacy. There are security films that are tinted so that people on the outside cannot see valuables inside the building or know which rooms are occupied.
  • Temperature control. Tinted window security film also blocks direct sunlight rays that can cause buildings to overheat in the summer and helps keep warm air in the building when it is cold. This can help you save money on electricity.
  • UV protection. There are window security films that also function to block out ultraviolet light. This light is potentially damaging to your skin and eyes and can cause furniture, carpet, and even artwork in your home to fade and discolor.

How Effective is Security Film?

Window security film provides a substantial level of protection. It can help in the following ways:

It makes it harder to break the windows. If an intruder tries to get in, it can delay their entry. They will have to use much more force to get in, giving you time to hide and call the authorities.

  • It holds the glass in place if the windows are broken. This way, it is less likely that stray shards of glass will cause injury to people in the building.

You would benefit from using window security films in many situations, such as forced entry attempts, vandalism, accidents, and severe weather.

When is Security Film Not Enough?

While window security film can be helpful and has become stronger over the years, it does not render your windows completely shatterproof or bulletproof. It just makes them harder to break. If you are in an unfortunate situation where you are in a building vulnerable to gunfire, you will need something more durable for your windows.

In situations where you want powerful protection against glass breakage, here are some other options:

  • DefenseLite is a window glazing solution that is 250 times stronger than glass. Rather than being a security film that you would apply, it is a heavy gauge architectural-grade polycarbonate that you would put over your window for protection.
  • BulletShield is an even more durable version of DefenseLite. It has been tested extensively and demonstrated an ability to protect windows from all sorts of blows, including those dealt with by hammers and hatchets.
  • Bulletproof glass is the most indestructible glass that you can buy. Specifically, you would want UL-rated bullet-resistant glass. UL will give the material a rating between 1 and 8, with the higher ratings indicating that the glass can stop more bullets.
    • Glass with ratings of 4 to 8 will usually be reserved for military and government facilities.
    • Glass with ratings between 1 and 3 will be sufficient for most people looking to make their home or business safer.

On average, window security film can delay forced entry by about 30 to 45 seconds. In contrast, DefenseLite, BulletShield, and bulletproof glass can prevent most of these forced entry attempts altogether. If you want to make your glass shatterproof, you could choose one of these options over window security film.

Window security film is more affordable than DefenseLite, BulletShield, or bulletproof glass. Typically, when it comes to security, the more expensive the material is, the better it will protect you.

Do You Need Security Film?

Since it is an investment, you should only use window security film if you have had a comprehensive security assessment. The assessment will tell you whether you need it, where you should use it, and the type of security film that would be optimal for you.

Many organizations conduct these assessments. They involve a thorough review of physical security and technological systems and policies (if you are having a business assessed). The costs can vary based on the level of expertise of the assessor and the tasks that need to be done, typically ranging from $1,000 to $50,000.

These assessments can involve several components, such as:

  • Vulnerability Assessment. This security review will use different tools to scan all systems for weaknesses or gaps in security. This will also include the provision of an assessment document and a comprehensive improvement plan.
  • Penetration Test. Here, an expert will show you potential security breaches by taking advantage of vulnerabilities in the system.
  • Security Posture Review. This is a simple, non-invasive review of policies and procedures that assesses current security measures.

The security assessment will likely include an analysis of the types of threats that your windows may face, such as:

  • Forced entry attempts
  • Vandalization attempts
  • Severe weather
  • Accidents

The security assessment will not be able to tell you how likely accidents are. Still, they can tell you how likely you are to be the victim of a crime involving broken windows, given your area of residence. You can also research the weather in your area to see which weather issues you may encounter.

How to Apply Security Film

Some may think this is as simple as laying contact paper on a surface. However, there is a bit more to it. Therefore, you may want to consider hiring professionals for this job.

Generally, a professional will install the film on a retrofit basis. They will:

  • Measure the window carefully
  • Cut the film to fit the window
  • Apply the film to the glass using a special adhesive

There are a few different methods of installation that may be appropriate, depending on the situation:

  • Daylight method. The film is applied to the window with a tiny gap between the film and the frame. This method provides a significant amount of protection against flying shards of glass and forced entry in most cases. Still, some experts feel it does not adequately protect against very aggressive attacks.
  • Anchored method. This method involves a material to attach the film to the window, making the security film more effective. There are two types of anchored methods: the wet method and the mechanical method.
    • Wet method. With this method, the installer will utilize an adhesive sealant around every edge of the frame, creating a very tight connection. This involves a smaller gap than the daylight method does.
    • Mechanical method. This method involves overlapping the film over the window frame and attaching it using a device, such as metal batten strips.

Things to Remember When Applying Film

People make a few common mistakes when applying window security film. These are as follows:

  • Not taking glass breakage sensors into account. These are a component of many burglar alarm systems; they can tell you when a window has been broken. If you use window security film, the effectiveness of these devices can be reduced. It is essential to notify the alarm company before installing the film and test the sensors after installation.
  • Not cleaning the glass. Make sure that you clean the glass well. Even little pieces of dirt or debris can cause a big problem with a layer you plan to apply permanently. It can create a dirty, unattractive appearance. More importantly, it can make it difficult for the film to adhere properly to the glass, making it much less effective.
  • Using chemicals to clean the glass. Too many people make the mistake of using rubbing alcohol or other chemicals to clean their windows. These will leave residue on the glass surface, making it difficult for the film to adhere properly. If your windows are filthy, wash them with soap, water, or vinegar. Afterward, use a glass cleaner to remove any streaks.
  • Failing to make sure the window is dry. You must ensure that the window is completely dry after cleaning it before applying the film. Otherwise, getting the film to adhere to the window might be challenging.
  • Failing to remove air bubbles. If there are air bubbles between the film in the window, it might be easy for the film to peel off. Also, it will make the film more visible, which most people do not want.
  • Waiting too long to apply the film after cleaning the window. Once you have cleaned your windows, you will want to apply the security film as soon as possible. If you allow too much time to pass, more debris will cling to the windows.

Can Security Film Be Installed on Dual Pane and Low-E Glass?

Some consumers believe that security films cannot be installed on dual-pane or Low-E glass, but this is not true. There are many products specifically designed to be installed on dual-pane, such as the KESPEN One Way Window Film, Low-E glass designs, including the rabbitgoo Window Privacy Film.

It is highly recommended to install window film onto Low-E glass. You can increase the window’s performance without sacrificing light with the right window films made explicitly for Low-E glass. It is also easier to install on Low-E glass, as you can use lighter and clearer films which are generally less expensive.

However, not all types of window security films work with glass designs. For instance, reflective window films work best with dual-pane windows. Purchasing a non-compatible window film can lead to trouble, such as thermal stress on the glass or seals. Always do your research when purchasing a window film.

Factors to Consider

There are many different types of window security films you can choose from. Of course, this also means that the prices can vary widely.

Size

Window security films are made for windows of many different sizes. The bigger the sheet of film, the more it will cost.

Before you order your film, make sure that you measure your windows precisely. If you doubt, get a film you know is larger than your window. Once you have it, you can trim it down to fit your window.

In many cases, you will be able to get a long roll of film that you cut as needed for each one of your windows. If you have several windows in your building, this may be more economical for you.

Thickness

Thicker security films will cost more because they are made from more material. However, the thicker the film, the more durable and practical it will protect your windows. Most of the time, you will be able to see the thickness of the film (it should be specified in the product description) before you purchase it.

Type of Film

There are many types of window security films available, such as:

  • Standard clear films
  • Tinted films
  • UV protection films
  • Anti-graffiti films

Anti-graffiti window security film is designed to prevent any damage to your window that could be caused by vandalism, such as graffiti. If vandals spray paint, etch, or otherwise tag the window, the film will absorb the damage rather than the glass itself. This film is designed to be removed and replaced as soon as the damage has happened.

Ease of Installation

Some windows are going to be easier to cover with film than others. You may elect to do this yourself or find it easier to hire a professional for the job.

Here are some of the things you need to consider regarding the installation of the film:

  • Removing the older film. The old window security film must be removed before adding the new film.
  • Access to the windows. You must make sure that there is clear access to each window you want to cover.
  • Types of windows. Some windows are harder to cover with film than others. For example, small French windows will take much more time to work on than large windows without dividers.
  • Necessary extra equipment. Some windows are too high for you to reach them using a ladder. In these situations, you might need additional equipment, such as scaffolding, scissor lifts, or swing stage equipment.
  • Accommodations for hired workers. If you are hiring an installation company, you might need to provide them with overnight accommodations and pay for their travel time.

Can It Cause Glass to Break?

Some consumers fear that window films can cause windows to break, and they are not entirely wrong, as glass can break under stress.

There are a few different stressors that can lead to breakage, such as:

  • Thermal stress (absorbing sun radiation)
  • Tensile stress (from weight)
  • Mechanical flexing stress (from wind)
  • Impact stress (from objects)
  • Twisting stress (window frame sagging)

 Window security films will benefit your window as they stave off mechanical and impact stresses. However, window films can cause thermal stress when not manufactured or installed correctly.

 Since they work to absorb UV rays, some with up to 99% protection can cause excess stress on the window when there are flaws in manufacturing or not installed correctly. Unfortunately, this is common, especially when an individual tries to install the window film independently. As a result, plenty of manufacturers have created a 5-year warranty that replaces both windows and films if thermal breakage occurs.

How Long Does It Last?

Another critical question consumers ask is how long the window security films last. Several factors determine how long window films last:

  • The type of film.
  • The type of glass.
  • Overall construction and compass orientation of the glass.
  • Where the home is located.

High-quality window security films can last up to 25 years. Most manufacturers include warranties with their films so that, if your film is damaged, it can be replaced.

How to Care for Security Films

Proper care of your window security film can increase lifespan and avoid scratches, cracks, and other misfortunes. Here are some useful tips for taking care of window films:

  • Always be gentle when caring for security films. You want to avoid using any abrasive material. These items can cause instant damage to the film. Do not use excessive pressure, either.
  • Use regular window cleaning solutions. Just because you are cleaning a window with a film on top does not mean you should change the materials usually used. Use standard window cleaning solutions, such as Windex or mild soap and water.
  • Consider using a squeegee. A squeegee is an excellent device to use when cleaning the solution off of the film. Start from top to bottom and wipe when the squeegee becomes dirty. Do not use paper towels, as they can be damaging.
  • Clean in the direction of the splice. If your film has a splice, always clean in the direction of the splice and use extra caution to avoid further damage.
  • Never let the film air dry. Films are not designed to remain wet for extended periods. Make sure that after cleaning, the film is dried off entirely.

Recommended Security Films

The following are a few window security films that people have found to be very useful, although what you choose will depend on your specific priorities and needs.

BDF S4MC Window Film Security

BDF S4MC Window Film Security and Safety Clear 4 Mil (24in X 13ft)
  • MINIMIZE PROPERTY DAMAGE by absorbing impacts from break-in attempts and holds shattered glass...
  • PASSES ANSI Z97.1 CLASS B, CPSC CATEGORY 1 testing requirements.
  • INCREASE SECURITY or add safety to tempered or non-tempered glass.
  • CRYSTAL CLEAR, high quality film with 99% UV REJECTION, this film is applied to the interior side of...
  • STRONG ADHESIVES and film to slow down intruders

  • Cost-Effective Option
  • Protection against small chips and scratches.
  • Made with 4MIL, a thinner yet quality film for security.
  • Easily applied on the inside.
  • Transparent, yet provides 99% UV light rejection.

This is a very economical option for those who do not have much money to spend. It will provide protection as long as you are not anticipating significant disasters. It is perfect for people who want to protect their windows from little chips or scratches.

BDF S8MC Window Film Security and Safety Clear

BDF S8MC Window Film Security and Safety Clear 8 Mil (24in X 12ft)
  • MINIMIZE PROPERTY DAMAGE by absorbing impacts from break-in attempts and holds shattered glass...
  • PASSES ANSI Z97.1 CLASS B, CPSC CATEGORY 1 testing requirements.
  • INCREASE SECURITY or add safety to tempered or non-tempered glass.
  • CRYSTAL CLEAR, high quality film with 99% UV REJECTION, this film is applied to the interior side of...
  • STRONG ADHESIVES and film to slow down intruders

  • Made with 8MIL, high-quality and durable film material.
  • Absorbs impact readily, from break-ins to baseballs.
  • Holds shattered glass together for safety.
  • Temper or non-tempered.
  • Blocks 99% of UV light.

If you want a thicker and stronger option from BDF, this is the one for you at 8 MIL. It can absorb impacts from break-in attempts and baseballs that might fly in from the backyard. It holds shattered glass together, which is essential for your safety. You can apply it to both tempered and non-tempered glass. It is clear and blocks out 99% of UV light.

RABBITGOO Static Decorative Frosted Window Films

rabbitgoo Window Privacy Film Stained Glass Window Film Mosaic Static Cling Decorative Window Vinyl, Removable Rainbow Window Tint, Non-Adhesive UV Blocking for Home Office, 17.5 x 78.7 inches
  • Colorful Visual Effect: This decorative window film features a unique 3D laser design that creates a...
  • Privacy Protection: The privacy window film provides a semi-private view from the outside while...
  • UV Blocking, Sun Protection: This premium film is suitable for sunny rooms, as it effectively...
  • No Adhesives, Easy Installation: With static cling application technology, our glass film can stick...
  • Easy Removal & Reuse: Not only does this privacy film leave no residue after removal, but it can be...

  • Colored film with a stained glass appearance.
  • Extra privacy from frosted appearance.
  • Blocks 96% of UV light.
  • Applied easily using static cling.

This is an excellent option for someone who wants a colored film to spruce up their home. It has the appearance of stained, frosted glass, which is attractive and gives you plenty of privacy as it makes it very hard for people to look in. It is incredibly affordable, giving you class without taking lots of cash.

This film blocks out 96% of UV rays, which protects your skin and also prevents unnecessary damage to your furniture. It adheres to your window using static cling, so you do not have to use any glue that could be sticky or toxic.

Niviy 3D Static Cling Privacy Window Film

Niviy 3D No Glue Static Cling Privacy Window Film Door Sticker Glass Film Decorative Glass Mosaic Film 17.7'' x 78.7''
  • 3D Windwo Film: A decorative mosaic effect to your windows, Updating the look of your window with...
  • No Glue: Glue free privacy glass films cut down chemical release, static cling to the surface, peel...
  • UV Protection: Prevent UV light from entering, which can help protect furniture, carpet, fabrics,...
  • Safety: Broken windows happen, whether from a ball or an act of nature. A window covered with film...
  • Note:Only use on clean and smooth glass, DON'T forget to remove backing protective film before...

  • Provides a white orchid pattern on the window.
  • Effortless to install.
  • More for privacy than durability.
  • Blocks UV rays.

This is another fantastic option if you want an attractive window. It gives you a white orchid pattern that can liven the decor within your home. It is also effortless to install, and you don’t need to hire professionals for this particular film. This film is primarily for those who want privacy rather than the most durable security film available.

You do not need adhesive for this wild film, either. It also functions to reduce the transfer of heat into your home and block UV rays.

Conclusion

Windows can brighten up a home. They allow light into the building, and they can make the atmosphere more cheerful. They can save you a lot of money on electricity since you get much of your light from outside. However, they also make a building more vulnerable since they provide easy ways for someone to break in or cause damage to your home.

Therefore, it is worth looking into window security films and what they can do for you. Even though it is not the best option in terms of security alone, for many, it is the most affordable option.

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