Window Film Anchoring Done Right

Window Film Anchoring Done Right

In a previous article, we discussed the many types of window film anchoring systems available. In this post, we will discuss the importance of making sure your anchoring system is installed correctly and why that’s important.

There are many uses for window film attachment systems. They are most commonly used against impact energy from severe weather, earthquakes, and forced entry events.  Window film attachment systems are even strong enough to handle bomb blasts!

Given the reasons and severity of installing a window film attachment system, it is of the utmost importance to make sure the system is installed correctly. We have seen far too many bad experiences from customers who thought they had the windows anchored, only to find out it was far from the truth.

Broken shop window
When looking at anchoring systems, it’s important that there is a clear understanding of glazing systems and the glass itself. The window film and anchoring system are only as strong as what they are being attached to. For example, applying a safety window film to tempered glass without an anchoring system will provide very little benefit against forced entry protection. Tempered glass breaks into little pieces when broken. Therefore, if the window film is not anchored to the window frame, the glass has little to support it.

The most important aspect is to make sure that your project is completed correctly. Too often, we get called out to repair or replace entire window film anchorings systems that were done incorrectly. There are several mistakes we see most often.

Broken Store Front WindowPoor Anchoring InstallationNot Enough Anchoring UsedGood Even Straight LinesWindow Film Anchoring DiagramComparison of Window Film Anchoring TypesAnchoring Installation Gap

1. The wrong products are used. Oftentimes, the anchoring adhesives get swapped out for standard silicon caulking, which can be found at your local hardware store. This is not strong enough for anchoring.

2. Missing the details. For the system to work, the anchoring adhesive or profile has to actually be able to anchor to the window film itself. Too often, we see corners cut by not installing enough adhesive to overlap the window film and the window frame itself. We’re not sure if this is done to cut corners and save money on the amount of material used or if installers are not paying close enough attention.

3. Bad pre-installation preparation. You can’t just slap up a window film anchoring system onto any window without first preparing the area.  You must properly prepare the window and the frame. For example, when using wet adhesive for attachment, you can’t just install the adhesive over the window rubber gasket. The gasket is not securely attached to the window frame or glass. Therefore, this severely weakens the entire attachment system because it does not have a strong bond. (see the diagram)

4. Appearance Matters. Window film anchoring systems are not easy to install, especially wet adhesive systems. They can be messy and nasty and turn out horrible if the installer does not pay careful attention to everything he does. Too often, corners are cut, the process is rushed, and the end result can look pretty bad. At the end of the day, the attachment system has a purpose, and it will have a different appearance after the installation, but it doesn’t mean it has to look horrible.

There are many well-qualified installation professionals that are very capable of installing even the toughest of window film anchoring systems. If you have questions or need help finding a qualified professional, please contact us.  Call us at (707) 569-9098 with any questions. We would be happy to help.