Q: What is “Hurricane Window Film?”

A:  Actually, the term “hurricane film” is a misnomer; and ultimately, can be dangerously misleading. The proper name is “Safety and Security Window Film.”  Safety and Security film is a highly impact-resistant product that is excellent for glass fragment retention if the glass is struck and broken. It will provide a significantly heightened level of protection in cases of vandalism, explosions, violent weather and even hurricanes – but you must understand that it is a component of your overall glazing system – not a “stand alone” product.

Picture it this way. If your home has old windows that don’t come close to meeting today’s hurricane codes, an application of film to the glass surface is not going to bring them into compliance. The windows themselves must be well supported and properly installed. Understand that the “baseline” for all performance claims of safety window film are based on the film being installed on heavy “storefront” – type frames and include “edge attachment” systems. If your film is installed differently, on different style windows, your performance will not be the same. That’s why “blanket” claims by unscrupulous window film dealers that the film is “good to 200 mph” are so dangerously misleading – they give the impression that the performance is the same for all windows – and it is not!

The protection that safety film does give is real and legitimate; however, and claims that “film doesn’t work,” or “provides no protection” are just as misleading as the overblown performance claims.

We suggest that you visit our website and read our manufacturer’s statement of performance, and familiarize yourself with the performance characteristics of any storm mitigation product before buying. Your safety – and that of your family – is too important to be casual about. Call Solar-X of Sarasota today for an estimate on Armorcoat™ Safety and Security Film – and get the straight story on what it can do for you.

Phone: (941)-366-4364
Toll-free: (866)-343-4567
e-mail: sales@solarxsarasota.com

Q: Are Thicker “Security” Films Darker Than “Regular” Window Film?

A: No. The density of the coatings on the film – not the thickness of the film – determine how dark the film will be. This question is commonly asked by people who are considering the purchase of Safety and Security Window Film but are concerned about the resulting light level in their homes.

All window films are multi-layered products that incorporate a coating of metals within them to control heat intrusion. The density of that coating determines how much light enters through it; as well as how much heat the film reflects. Several popular  films (SolarGard® “Stainless Steel 35™,” for example), are available in thicknesses from 2 mil, to 4 mil, to 8 mil; and they all look and perform virtually the same – with occasional slight variances in total solar energy rejected.

Remember that these films are made with specific purposes in mind; such as (“sun control”) reducing heat intrusion, or (“safety”) accidental human contact; or (“security”) bomb blast mitigation, violent weather, or “smash and grab.” There are prescribed testing protocols for each use. Make sure you choose a window film contractor who has the training to match the correct product to your purpose.

If you have questions regarding specific product usage, we have answers. Call or contact us today for the information you need.

Phone: (941)-366-4364
Toll-free: (866)-343-4567
e-mail: sales@solarxsarasota.com

Q: Is Window Film Installed On the Inside Or Outside?

A: This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get.  Almost all window films are installed on the inside surface of your windows; where they are best protected from the ravages of the sun and ultraviolet light. If installed on the outside, what is normally the “back”; or room-side of the film is  directly exposed to the weather and can very quickly crack and spangle. From the outside, this looks like a badly peeling sunburn; from the inside, it looks like white “cracks” all through the film. No manufacturer will warranty this type of application, so if the film only lasts six months or a year, you are “on your own” when it comes to fixing it!

Many of today’s more intricate window glazing systems, and in some cases; access issues, make exterior application of film a desirable alternative, however. For this reason, several manufacturers produce films that are specifically designed for exterior applications. SolarGard®; for example, has a wide array of popular products in their “Sentinel™” Series of exterior films. Installed on the outside, with the addition of a protective sealer around the edges, these films are backed with a five-year warranty on vertical surfaces, and a two year warranty on angled surfaces.

If you have a need for window film where exterior application is desirable, make sure that you get a film that is designed for it – with proper warranty coverage! Insist on an outside  weatherable film like “Sentinel™”, and get a warranty that is specific to that application. Remember! Without proof that you have outside weatherable film, no manufacturer will honor any claim that you may want to make under the warranty!

Solar-X of Sarasota will always provide you with appropriate warranties for every type of film we install. Our goal is your complete satisfaction, and strong consumer protection. Contact us today for professional treatment every time!

Phone: (941)-366-4364
Toll-free: (866)-343-4567
e-mail: sales@solarxsarasota.com

Q: Can Window Film Give Me Nighttime Privacy?

A:  Privacy – both day and night – is a common concern for people. Many clients; thinking of “mirrored” window films, assume that the privacy they provide during the day extends into the night, and that is just not true. The ability to see throught window film or tinting is predicated on looking from “dark” to “light”. During the day, your home (or office) is dimmer on the inside than it is outdoors.  You are looking through the film to a stronger light source – the sun!  But the circumstances are reversed at night. When it gets dark, you turn on your lights… and people outside can now see through the film to your interior. One potential disadvantage to this is that the interior surface of the film becomes reflective, and now, you can’t see out! You can alleviate that problem, however, with the installation of a “dual-reflective” film that is lower reflectance on the inside surface than it is outside. That way, you get the high performance and privacy you want without the high “roomside” reflectivity of a conventional window film product. Examples of these would be the SolarGard® “TrueVue™” series, or Panorama® “Slate™”, and “Autumn Bronze™” series. Either product is available from the area’s leading window film installation contractor: Solar-X!

We also sell and install hundreds of decorative films; many of which are patterned, frosted, or opaque – and those films will provide you with nighttime privacy. However, you will not be able to see through them from either inside or outside.

Call us with any questions you may have about window film and tinting. With thirty-eight years in the window film industry, we’ll have your answer!

Phone: (941)-366-4364
Toll-free: (866)-343-4567
e-mail: sales@solarxsarasota

Q: Can Window Film Be Installed On Skylights?

A:  That will depend on whether you have plexiglas “domed” skylights, or “flat” glass skylights. Plexiglas  has plasticizers in it that can attack the film adhesive; discoloring the adhesive and requiring removal. Since the removal process itself would ruin the plexiglas, it is a classic “Catch 22″ situation. More importantly, the film won’t conform to a “domed” shape without severe wrinkling, or installation in multiple pieces – neither of which is pleasant to look through. Many people opt to have a piece of glass installed under the skylight itself, and then install film on the glass.

Glass skylights are flat and therefore the film can be installed directly to them. A word of caution, however. Most glass skylights are insulated “double-pane” glass; many with a “low-e” coating, and as such, there are films that you  definitely do not want to install on them without risking glass breakage or seal failure. You should also know that no window film manufacturer (to our knowledge) will warranty a skylight installation, due to the fact that they face directly into the sun. That having been said, we install film on skylights fairly often, and it lasts for a substantial period of time.

If you must access the skylights from the outside, make sure you insist on the use of “outside weatherable” films – films that are specifically manufacturered and warrantied for exterior application – otherwise, the film will not last long at all. Our SolarGard® “Sentinel™” series films are backed by a two-year warranty on non-vertical glass, and are safe to install on any glass skylight window unit.

Phone: (941)-366-4364
Toll-free: (866)-343-4567
e-mail: sales@solarxsarasota.com

Q: Can My Window Film Be Removed?

A:  Of course! But it probably won’t be easy… Window film is installed with a very strong adhesive (either “pressure sensitive” which is soft and sticky, or “dry” adhesive which dries hard) that lasts for years, and it is often frustrating to remove, or clean up. It can leave a “hazy” residue that is very hard to remove from the surface of the glass, and frequently needs the addition of “Goo Gone” or a like product to get all of it off. In addition, if you are trying to do it yourself, you should be very careful in proceeding. Most people remove film by scraping it off with a razor scraper. If you use a little “flip out” model, the blade may snap and “fly”; so protect your eyes. Also, it requires a good deal of pressure to remove, and if your windows are old, the glass may break if it is not well supported within the frame; causing some nasty injuries if you are not careful.  If you are unsure of your ability to remove the film, call a professional like Solar-X for an estimate.

Phone: (941)-366-4364
Toll-free: (866)-343-4567
e-mail: sales@solarxsarasota.com

Q: How long will my window film take to pay for itself?

A: There is no such thing as a “typical” payback period, or return on investment (ROI). Though it is easily possible for high-performance window film to save up to 30% of the air conditioning portion of your electric bill, there are many other factors involved. Square foot area of glass, the direction in which the glass faces, age and efficiency of your air conditioning (HVAC) system, the local utility rates, total solar energy rejection of the film, and cost of installation – all affect your ROI. Most common ranges would be 2-6 years, with the occasional installation paying for itself in under a year. Most people agree that the “comfort factor” alone makes the installation worthwhile!

Q: How long will window film take to dry once installed?

A:  Drying, or curing time varies depending on film thickness and adhesive type. Typically, “sun control” film will fully cure well within 30 days. A heavy “safety and security” film may take considerably longer than that – but don’t worry! The aggressive, pressure-sensitive adhesive on safety film starts to “tack up” almost immediately; though it is wise to remember that the film may not give you full protection until such time as it is totally cured. If, for example, you are installing safety film for a level of protection against violent summer weather, it is best to install it well ahead of time – don’t wait until the weather man tells you to “batten down the hatches!”

As the film dries, you may notice that moisture remaining under the film is “re-pocketing” into an “orange peel” effect of tiny dimples; or that there is a slight haziness to the appearance. Any haze should disappear within days, or even hours; though a proper PH-neutral mounting solution should prevent the film from hazing at all. The “water dimples” should only take a few days (maybe a week) to disappear.

Remember! If you have concerns about the appearance of your installation, the best time to address them is while the installer is still there. A true professional will be glad to discuss your concerns and take whatever remedial action is necessary to satisfy you.

Q: How is window film installed?

A: Installers will typically prepare the space to be installed – moving furniture away from the immediate area and putting down drop cloths, etc. They will then clean the windows, using a prepared cleaning solution, a professional-quality razor scraper, and any other tools necessary to remove old putty from around the edges of the glass, old paint, etc., and thoroughly clean all glass surfaces and framing adjacent to the glass. Diligent preparation is the most important aspect of any installation! The film is then applied, larger than actual window size using a squeegee; and expertly trimmed to the dimensions of the window. It is then thoroughly squeegeed again, and all edges are carefully dried. That’s it! Prior to reinstalling any window treatments, our installers will polish the film to make sure it is “picture perfect” for you before they leave.  After that, it is simply a matter of curing time.

Q: What Causes Film To Turn “Purple”?

A:  Years ago, colors such as “bronze” or “smoke” in window film were achieved by adding a dyed layer of film to a base product.  Over the years the ultraviolet light and sun leeched the lighter colors out of the dyed layers; leaving the “base”, or darker colors. Many bronze window films turned a deep red, smoke films tended to turn purple. Some films today still have dyes in their adhesives to impart a certain color.

Most quality window films these days are manufactured without the use of dyed laminates. While dyed films are still manufactured today, we rarely showcase them, and don’t recommend them for long-term use. If you have any doubts about products you have been shown, ask the sales representative specifically if his products incorporate the use of dyes.

Have a question or need an answer? Ask Solar-X Now!

Q: What Causes Window Film To “Bubble”?

A:  Many window films are manfactured with a pressure-sensitive adhesive.  There are solvents in the adhesive that keep the adhesive “sticky.” Over the years that the film is on the window, the sun can draw the solvents out of the adhesive in a process called “out-gassing”, and that term pretty much explains it all. The end result is a bubble under the film. You can’t pop it and re-stick the film either.

Many films today incorporate a “chemical dry” adhesive that dries hard; not soft, and will not bubble. Bubbling usually doesn’t occur until many years after installation, so if you have them, the film is probably quite old. Most films today are covered with a lifetime warranty, so if you have a problem in the future,it won’t cost you a dime to have your film replaced!

Have a question or need an answer? Ask Solar-X Now!

Q: I Have Very Large Windows. In What widths Is Film Available?

A: Most residential/commercial window films are available in widths that range from 36″, 48″, 60″ to 72″. Rolls come in lengths of 100 feet, so you can do very large single window panes without having to resort to a “seam.” Widths over 72″ must be done using two pieces. Some installers like to seam film with a tiny “overlap”, which is visible as a pencil thin, darker line where the seam is. Others like to “butt seam” the film; butting the two edges closely together.  A possible drawback to this is that the film may “migrate” a little over the years, and open a tiny clear area between the two pieces of film. Many people prefer that however; compared to having a more noticeable dark line down the middle of their window. An accomplished, clever installer can give you options on how you want the seam done, and where you want the seam (minimizing its appearance). A well done seam is not the slightest bit offensive, so don’t allow yourself to be put off by the idea. More to the point; you rarely have to seam a residential window.

Have a question or need an answer? Ask Solar-X Now!

Q: Will window film darken my home or office?

A: Not unless you chooses a dark tint! High-quality window films are available in a wide-variety of tints or densities and do not need to be dark or highly reflective in order to offer you impressive performance values.  In fact, today’s film technology allows maximum light transmission while rejecting the harmful UV rays and solar energy currently passing through your glass.

For more information on clear solar control films read the posting “Window Films Don’t Have to Be Dark, They Can Be Clear!

Have a question or need an answer?  Ask Solar-X Now!

Q: How do I remove existing window film or tint?

A:  Simple, Call Solar-X!  :)  Seriously, removing window film can be a daunting task for even the professional installer.  There are no special  chemicals or magic solutions other than elbow grease and quality razor scrapers.  The removal process can be dangerous (glass breakage) and very tedious; every removal is unique.  Solar-X offers the most comprehensive window film removal service available.  Contact Us to explore how we can make your film disappear!

Have a question or need an answer?  Ask Solar-X Now!

Q: How do I clean my windows after a film installation?

A:  Though your installers will leave your windows spotless, eventually the film will need to be cleaned.  We recommend using about a half teaspoon of typical dish detergent such as Joy, or Palmolive mixed with water in a quart spray bottle.  Spray a light mist on the window film and wipe clean with a soft paper towel or use a quality squeegee.  It is important to avoid abrasive rags, newspapers and cheap paper towels as they can scratch the film.  We would recommend Bounty paper towels.  Our installation crew also carries Solar Majik; a special cleaner formulated for preserving your window film.  Retail cost is $6.95 plus tax for a 16oz. spray bottle.

Have a question or need an answer?  Ask Solar-X Now!

Q: How long will an installation of window film last?

A:  Many of today’s window films and tints will last 20 plus years.  In fact, Solar-X has some installations that are over thirty years old and appear as though they were installed yesterday.  The age of your film will be determined by manufacturer quality, the environment in which it is placed, and the quality of installation.  All of Solar-X’s installers are highly experienced and are certified by our manufacturer.

Have a question or need an answer?  Ask Solar-X Now!

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