Windows are an integral part of any house- homes without windows are inevitably dark and stuffy-but a window can also be the most vulnerable spot in your home. If the only thing between your belongings and a burglar is a pane of glass, a break-in is literally a stone's throw away.
You could put shutters on the windows, but while this may keep out burglars, it'll also keep out all the light. If you want to protect your windows without giving up on daylight, you may want to invest in some window film. Window film is a protective coating made of polyester and metal alloys and held together with adhesive to make a film.
When installed on windows (either by the company or by yourself), window film not only enhances security, but also lowers energy costs, reduces glare, and blocks out harmful ultraviolet rays.
Security Benefits of Window Films
One of the main advantages of window film is that it makes your windows harder to break. Window film has been known to withstand not just break-in attempts, but also hurricane-force winds and explosions-and in cases where the glass does break, window film can keep shards from flying in all directions and causing injuries.
This makes window film beneficial for office buildings and storefronts as well as for private homes. Depending on how much security you need, you can also get an attachment system installed. Attachment systems use a mechanical system or a chemical sealant to keep the pane of glass from coming out of the frame.
This is especially useful if you live in an area prone to hurricanes or other natural disasters, because while flying glass shards are extremely dangerous, an intact flying window isn't much safer. If you do get an attachment system, however, check that it meets building code requirements for security in your area.
Energy Benefits of Heat Control Window Film
Another advantage of window film is that it makes your house more energy efficient. The amount of sunlight and heat that enters and exits your house through the window panes can cost you when it comes to energy bills.
Window film can reduce solar gain by as much as 76% and increase insulation by 23%, which can significantly lower both your cooling and heating bills. Window film also filters out up to 99% of ultraviolet rays, keeping curtains, carpet, and furniture from fading, and protecting you and yours from UV damage. In this regard, window film is more effective than double- or triple-pane windows-not to mention cheaper-and it can save you money on furniture replacement in the long run.
Window Tint Film Types and Tips
Window film varies in thickness and tint, depending on the type of film and what you need it for. Solar control film, which is intended mainly for sun and heat protection, is usually 1.5 to 2 mil thick, while security film can be anywhere from 4 to 15 mil thick (there are also certain films that serve both functions).
Most companies also offer a selection of tints, which block out visible light to different degrees. A spectrally selective film, for instance, blocks out 25-35% of light, whereas privacy film can block out up to 95%. On average, window film costs from $3 to $12 per square foot and is easy to install. If you're getting company installation, though, make sure that the warrantee (usually 5-10 years) covers replacement and reinstallation of the product.
Most importantly, know your home and your needs. Whether you need extra protection from tropical storms or just want to save money on air conditioning, window film is an excellent way to keep your home safe and energy efficient.