14 Essential Questions about Smash-proof Window Film

Most people consider getting smash-proof window film for their vehicles, which helps with minimising injury during accidents, but also stops many of those ‘smash-and-grab’ attacks.

But what about smash-proof film for your home? So many break-ins are happening with windows being smashed, this may be a solution to beefing up your home security & helping manage energy conservation in your home at the same time!

window1. What is smash-proof window film?

Window safety film such as InvisiFilm™ offered by Thorne, serves the following functions:

a) Turning your glass panes into smash-resistant glass. Depending on the thickness of the film you opt for, you could make your windows resistant to various amounts of sudden pressure.

b) Blocking harmful UV radiation.

c) Providing privacy screens (if opting for a tinted variety).

2. What are Reflective Films

silver filmIf you have a home or any type of property with windows that receive unwanted light (e.g. offices with direct glare on computers, high-rise apartments, etc.), reflective film is for you. You can get the reflective side in the following colours to impresse/annoy your neighbours: silver, gold, grey, bronze, blue & green.

What does a reflective film do? It reduces glare, provides a privacy screen during daylight hours, stops UV radiation & controls room temperature by blocking solar energy from being absorbed into the room. It’s a really great way to manage your room temperatures & stop prying eyes from peeking in at the same time. Reflective films are also available as safety films (smash-proof film).

3. What are Non-reflective Films

You needn’t choose the reflective option and, in fact, most of the InvisiFilm™ installations conducted in Cape Town are for burglary deterrents & are non-reflective. They can still offer tinting without reflection & can be relatively inexpensive to have installed. Choose from completely clear (so your glass looks entirely normal & your light transmission is essentially the same) to a variety of tinting options.

4. What are the standard thicknesses for window film?glass

Here in Cape Town, the thicknesses vary from 50µ to over 300µ. What does this mean?

50µ – used with most standard reflective films. Not a safety film.

100µ – this will provide basic smash-proof protection. It’s nearly invisible when installed, and offers some scratch resistance for your glass.

175µ – this is the most popular & effective form of safety film. It may take the average intruder between 3 & 5 smashes to get through your glass.

200µ – because of the property similarities between the 175µ and 200µ, the 175µ is the better bet, as they’re so similar & the price for the 175µ is better.

Over 300µ – this is generally applied for larger applications such as commercial buildings, and is not necessary for home (residential) application. It can be quite costly, but will provide very powerful protection against smashing if it’s a strong concern of yours.

What do we recommend? Go for the standard 175µ, it’ll protect your windows from shattering from cricket balls, intruders with rocks & other implements, and still be affordable. Remember: with enough time, privacy & force, the glass can be penetrated eventually. But the film will provide a wonderful barrier against smashing that will give you extra time & safety.

film5. How is architectural window film applied?

Careful application with special adhesive is used to attach the film to your window panes. If you have not yet installed your windows, we recommend having the film put on before the panes go in. But it’s still effective if you apply it afterward. The film is always applied on the inside of your window pane (unless using the exterior film which is very expensive) & it is smoothed out very careful to ensure that no bubbles are left behind.

6. How long after the film is installed can I wash my windows?wet glass

For most types of film, the ‘settling’ period is between 2 weeks and one month. You should be able to dust it off & it’s fine if it gets wet sometimes (like with windows in showers), but we don’t recommend cleaning it until at least 2 weeks to one month has passed.

window spray7. Can I wash windows fitted with safety film with Windolene?

No. The acidic elements in the window cleaner will discolour the film over time. We recommend a non-abrasive soap like dishwashing liquid, diluted with water.

8. Can I install window safety film onto any glass?

You can’t install film onto uneven or decorative glass (e.g. frosted or mottled glass). On standard, smooth glass, any glass thickness will suffice.

9. Can safety film be cut through?

Yes. If you have tools that can cut through glass, the film will be able to be cut through as well. It is not often that glass cutters are used in break-ins, but in cases where burglars are cutting glass, then the film will be cut. If you are extremely concerned about this, we recommend you get burglar bars as well.

10. What styles to window films come in?

  • Clear film (looks just like normal glass – nobody will know it’s there)image1788
  • Frosted film (for privacy)
  • Decorative film (choose from a variety of pre-made designs & patterns to create a unique look, or have your own design made up!)
  • Tinted film (from a light tint to complete black-out)
  • Colour tint (really nice if you want to let the light in, but make it fun or diffuse it somehow)
  • Reflective film (as mentioned earlier, for keeping strong sunlight out). These come in a variety of reflective colours.

11. How long is the film guaranteed for?

The films come with varying guarantees. From 1 to 10 years, depending on the film chosen. Ask your service provider what the guarantee on the film is, but the standard should be 2 years. That doesn’t mean that the film is likely only going to last for 2 years. Not at all. Film can from 5 to 10 years, depending on the beating it’s getting from you & your family.

sunny windows12. I have a window that’s half in the shade, half in the sun. Can I put reflective film on this window?

No, you should not. Your film provider will probably know this. Because the window will receive different amounts of heat owing to the shading, the intensity of the heat in one section of the window may cause stress cracks. Always ensure that your window has uninterrupted sun when applying solar reflective film.

13. What are the other benefits of window film?

room windowApart from smash-resistance & shatter-proofing, film is also:

  • Energy saving
  • Helps keep heat in & cold out during winter (particularly good for poorly-insulated SA homes!)
  • Can offer privacy & minimise visibility of valuables to would-be burglars
  • Helps minimise sound from outside
  • Quick to install
  • Reduces scratching

14. Is safety film expensive?

It depends on what you’re looking for. In our opinion, not at all. For the peace of mind you get, knowing that your glass won’t shatter, for the energy savings & for the other benefits listed above, it can be quite a benefit to your budget. Film is generally priced per square meter & some installers will charge you a call-out fee. The price varies a lot according to the type of window film you need & want, so we can’t list the prices here. There are also big film brands & smaller brands, and many do not differ in quality, but rather only in name & price. Always ask a trusted installer whether the film options have varying degrees of quality before opting automatically for the cheapest or most expensive ones. Thorne offers free quotations, but only in Cape Town, so if you’re outside Cape Town, we recommend you Google a few installers in your area & see if they charge to have a look at your requirements.

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