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Apex Window Films
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FAQs

How do 3M™ Sun Control Window Films work?

3M™ Sun Control Window Films are designed to help reduce the amount of solar heat transmission through window glass by increasing the solar reflection (not necessarily visible reflection) and solar absorption through the glass.

Typical colored or dyed films work primarily through increased absorption. The color absorbs the solar energy at the glass, thus reducing the direct transmission into the room. These films offer only marginal performance when compared to reflective films.

Reflective films are films that have been precision coated with metals. These metalized films are designed to increase the solar energy reflection of the glass and some of the absorption. 3M™ Sun Control Window Film reflective films range from moderate to excellent in solar performance (heat gain reduction).

All 3M™ Sun Control Window Films are made to be transparent and optically clear. The ultraviolet protection in the adhesive system is there to protect the adhesive, the metals, the polyester film, and the abrasion resistant coating from UV degradation. This UV protection will also help protect what is behind the film (home and office furnishings), too.

All 3M™ Sun Control Window Films are protected with our patented abrasion resistant coating for long term durability and maintained appearance.

How do 3M™ Sun Control All Season (LE) Window Films work?

3M™ Sun Control All Season Window Films, or Low E films work much in the same way as the Sun Control Window Films except that they offer an increased performance against cold weather heat loss. The patented constructions of these films enable the metal coating to reflect more of the interior room heat back into the room where it is needed.

This improves comfort by reducing potential draft feelings near the window, and may also save on energy costs, especially in commercial buildings. The LE films are also protected with our abrasion resistant coating for long term durability and maintained appearance.

Why do customers have 3M™ Sun Control Window Films applied to their buildings?

  • Improved tenant comfort
  • Lower heating and cooling operating costs
  • Lower utility demand costs
  • Utility rebates
  • Improved aesthetics, uniform appearance
  • Improved safety and security
  • Extended A/C equipment life
  • Sustainable alternative to adding more A/C equipment

Quite often, our customers will purchase 3M™ Sun Control Window Film window films for tenant comfort and justify the purchase on energy cost savings.

What is the typical energy pay back for 3M™ Sun Control Window Films?

Simple paybacks will vary depending upon the amount of sunlit glass exposure, the type of film, the type of glass, cost of fuel, cost of application, and other variables. However, we have often seen paybacks in the 2-5 year period, with some reported to be even less than 6 months.

How are 3M™ Sun Control Window Films applied?

3M™ Sun Control Window Films are professionally applied by skilled, well-trained authorized 3M Dealer personnel. We have films for both interior and exterior applications, and our 3M Authorized Window Film dealers can help you determine which film would be best for your application. The first step is to prepare the window area for the application, placing drop cloths on the floor, protecting and/or moving furniture where necessary.

Next, the window glass is cleaned using simple cleaning solutions (often water and ammonia) and razor blade scrapers. Then the film is sprayed with a slip solution (detergent and water) for proper positioning, and applied to the window glass. Using a professional grade squeegee and following proper techniques, the application is completed by removing excess water, trimming the edges, and a final squeegee technique to dry the edges.

Slider How long does it take for 3M™ Sun Control Window Films to dry?

We suggest allowing thirty days for the film to fully dry and cure. During this curing process, it is natural to have small water bubbles and/or a hazing milkiness appearance. These will disappear as the film dries; depending upon the film type and weather conditions, drying may take as much as 30 (or even 45) days, or as little as a few days. Once dried, 3M™ Sun Control Window Films will look great and perform well.

Can I install 3M™ Sun Control Window Films myself?

No, 3M™ Sun Control Window Films require professional application. Our authorized 3M™ Sun Control Window Film Dealer/Applicators are thoroughly trained and experienced in performing high quality work. In this way, our customers will enjoy the benefits of 3M™ Sun Control Window Films and have the comfort of the 3M™ Sun Control Window Film warranty.

How do I clean my 3M™ Sun Control Window Films?

After thirty (30) days, you may clean 3M™ Sun Control Window Films using normal household cleaning solutions, including ammonia based products like Windex�, and a soft, lint-free cloth or towel. You may also use a squeegee to clean the films. Abrasive products will scratch or damage the film and should never be used.

How long do 3M™ Sun Control Window Films last?

3M™ Sun Control Window Films are durable and made to last for many years. Just how long a particular film will last depends upon the type of film applied, type of glass it is applied to and the particular climate in which it is applied. Most applications last upwards of 15 years and several applications are still performing after 20 years. All applications have a minimum warranty period of 5 years (except exterior applications which are 2 years), and several films carry a 10-15 year commercial warranty, and even a lifetime residential warranty for as long as original purchaser owns the home.

How do I remove the old film from my windows?

3M™ Sun Control Window Films are designed to bond the film to the window glass for many years. Yet when it is time to remove the film, removal can be performed by following a relatively simple process.

 

  • First, try to pull the film off by lifting and peeling the film from a corner. If removing the film is difficult, spray the film with a solution of detergent (Dawn™, Joy™) and water and cover with a plastic film (trash can liners work). Allow to soak for several hours or overnight. Now, try Step 1 again.
  • Next, the adhesive residue left on the glass can be sprayed with a sudsy ammonia and water solution and scraped with a four inch razor blade tool. Unfortunately, not all competitive films are designed for removal. They can prove to be particularly difficult to remove and may require more drastic measures.

What is the warranty for 3M™ Sun Control Window Films?

3M™ Sun Control Window Films are warranted to maintain their solar properties without bubbling, peeling, cracking, or crazing. Many of our films are warranted against discoloration, too (those which do not use dyed polyesters). Should the product prove to be defective, 3M and the authorized 3M™ Sun Control Window Film dealer will replace the film and provide the reapplication labor free of charge. In addition, the 3M™ Sun Control Window Film warranty includes 60 months glass breakage coverage for all qualified applications. Should your glass break due to thermal shock, 3M will replace the glass (maximum $500.00 per window) and the dealer will replace the film. The length of the warranty is determined by film type and market (residential or commercial). 3M commits to writing the terms of all film warranties in our brochures and consumer publications. For more details, please contact your local authorized 3M dealer/applicator and/or distributor.

Do 3M™ Sun Control Window Films cause glass to break?

3M™ Sun Control Window Films will increase the temperature of your sunlit glass, which will in turn increase the stress on the glass edges. The quality of the glass edge and several other factors (external shading, interior shading, glass history, type of film, size/shape of glass, indoor/outdoor temperature) all contribute to the risk of glass breakage. 3M's forty plus years of experience with applying 3M™ Sun Control Window Films to different types of glass enables us to make proper film/glass recommendations and reduce the potential for glass breakage. In addition, we support these recommendations with our five year glass breakage warranty against thermal shock fracture. Should the glass break within five years of application, 3M will replace the glass (maximum $500.00 per window), and the dealer will replace the film.

Do 3M™ Sun Control Window Films cause seal failure when applied to insulated (double-pane, Thermopane?) windows?

No, 3M™ Sun Control Window Films do not cause seal failure. We've been applying 3M™ Sun Control Window Films to insulated windows for over 40 years, having seen several millions of square feet of film applied to date. When recommended films are applied to the inside pane of an insulated glass unit, there will be some absorption (except with clear safety films) of the sun's energy, which will increase the temperature of the glass pane. Some of this heat will transmit to the airspace, slightly raising the airspace temperature. However, even a 20ºF degree increase (unusual for most films) will result in a less than 3% change in air pressure. Properly made windows are designed and tested to withstand 22% changes in air pressure.

Risk of seal failure is determined largely by the quality of workmanship and the quality of the materials that go into building the insulated glass units. The best guard against seal failure is to purchase well-made windows from reputable manufacturers that have solid experience and histories with insulated windows.

Will 3M™ Sun Control Window Film stop my furnishings from fading?

Nothing stops fading. 3M™ Sun Control Window Films are designed to help reduce the major causes of fading (ultraviolet light, visible light, and solar heat), thus prolonging the life and preserving the appearance of your furnishings. As a general rule of thumb, Ultraviolet (UV) is approximately 40% of the cause of furniture fading, visible light about 25%, and heat about 25%.The remaining 10% can be attributed to humidity, pollutants, interior lights, dye anchorage, and other causes.

Does the ultraviolet protection lose its effectiveness over time?

No, the ultraviolet (UV) protection that we use in our proprietary adhesive system does not lose its effectiveness over time. In fact, we tested an actual glass sample from The Dumbarton House, Washington, DC. This was a 10-year-old application and the Ultraviolet transmission still measures <1%!

How do 3M™ Safety and Security Window Films work?

3M™ Safety and Security Window Films are designed to make glass shatter-resistant by holding the glass pieces together when broken. Different from 3M™ Sun Control Window Films, 3M™ Safety and Security Window Films are made with thicker polyester and a much thicker, more aggressive adhesive system. 3M™ Ultra Safety and Security Window Films are unique in the industry: they are built using a special micro-layered polyester technology which increases the film's tear resistance significantly. The impact and tear resistance of 3M™ Ultra Safety and Security Window Films outperform other films of similar thickness known to 3M.

Are 3M™ Safety and Security Window Films hurricane-proof? Bulletproof? Burglar-proof?

No, 3M™ Safety and Security Window Films are not hurricane-proof, earthquake-proof, bulletproof, bombproof, nor burglar-proof. No films ever could be. They do, however, make the window glass more shatter-resistant. In the event of a wind storm, these films may have significant safety and security value. They can reduce the risk of injury from flying shards of broken glass, and possibly help prevent debris and water penetration through the window depending on the severity of the storm (and the type of glass, framing system, size and velocity of objects, and more). In an earthquake, these films can reduce the risk of serious injury from flying shards of broken glass, and possibly prevent glass from falling out of a home or building. Again, much may depend upon the severity of the quake (and the type of glass, framing system, and more).

Bullets: these films are not designed to stop bullets. The consumer should be cautious of any film manufacturer claiming their product to be bulletproof or bullet-resistant. In certain situations, 3M Safety and Secuity Window Films may be applied to bullet resistant glazing glass that is already rated to stop a specific class of bulletsto serve as an anti spall layer to prevent slivers of glass (or "spall") from projecting. 3M films were originally developed due to the international concerns and needs for improved safety and security against terrorist acts of bombings. These films can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury from flying shards of glass due to blasts, however, much depends upon the severity of the blast and the proximity of the window glass to the blast (and glass type, framing system, and more). Due to their tear resistance, flexibility and energy absorbing and dissipation properties, certain 3M Ultra Safety and Security Window Films work particularly well at mitigating blast hazards.

3M™ Safety and Security Window Films are a low-profile, easily implemented measure of security in the battle against 'smash and grab' crime. The tough, shatter-resistant qualities of the film can hold the window glass together even if a brick (or similar object) were actually to pass through the glass. With the use of a 3M Impact Protection Attachment system, the intruder is forced to create an opening through the filmed glass which to pass. The thief must now make a choice; continue to attack this window, try another window, or move on. Time is short, and often they move on. However, if they are determined to gain entry, they will get in. It is generally recommended that the property have proper alarm systems in addition to 3M™ Safety and Security Window Films.

Will 3M™ Safety and Security Window Films keep my glass from breaking?

No, 3M™ Ultra Safety and Security Window Films are designed to hold broken pieces of glass together in the window opening after a break. This reduces the chance of injury from flying shards of glass, makes it more difficult to break in through a window, as well as increases safety and security in the event of a windstorm or bomb blast.

How do I find the nearest authorized 3M™ Sun Control Window Films dealer? Or, is XYZ Tinting a 3M™ Sun Control Window Films dealer?

The simplest way is to contact 3M directly for the name of the nearest 3M Distributor. We would be able to provide you with an up-to-date listing of the Authorized 3M™ Sun Control Window Film Dealer/Applicator in your area. They can confirm which businesses are Authorized 3M dealerships.

Will 3M™ Window Films help soundproof my windows?

No, our window films do not have significant sound insulating properties.

Will 3M™ Window Films dampen the sound of broken glass?

Only to the extent that sound generated from falling fragments is reduced. Generally, the sound of initial glass breakage is unaffected. In fact, it is precisely for this reason that 3M™ Safety and Security Window Films work well in conjuction with alarm systems that are based on the sound of glass breaking they do not interfere with their glass break sensors!

Can 3M™ Safety and Security Films be used for Safety Glazing (ie, in place of tempered glass)?

Some of our films are used for this purpose. Applicability depends on several factors. Contact your 3M Technical Service Respresentative for more information.

Can 3M™ Window Films be applied on tempered glass?

Applying film to tempered glass may be beneficial; for example, to help secure glass fragments and protect from spontaneous glass breakage. However, it is recommended that filming tempered glass involve an attachment system due to the small fragmentation break pattern of tempered glass and increased risk that the filmed / broken glass panel would dislodge from the frame entirely.

Can Impact Protection Adhesive or Profile be painted?

Yes, IPA and IPP can be painted after they have had sufficient time to cure and achieve full adhesion. Painting their surfaces should not affect their performance. However, 3M generally discourages making any post installation modifications and the consumer should accept all liability.

Can Impact Protection Adhesive or Profile be applied to painted or finished surfaces?

Yes, but adhesion to that surface will be only as strong as the paint bond to that surface. 3M generally recommends against applying IPA or IPP to painted residential surfaces. In commercial applications, it is advisable to conduct an adhesion test to painted surfaces prior to purchasing the IPA or IPP.

Can Impact Protection Adhesive or Profile be applied to wood surfaces?

Impact Protection Profile: No.
Impact Protection Adhesive: Yes, but the consumer should consider all aspects of aesthetics and function

Can Impact Protection Adhesive or Profile be applied to vinyl surfaces?

There is a wide variety of vinyl formulations that can result in different surface energy. It is recommended that an adhesion test be conducted on all vinyl surfaces prior to purchasing the IPA or IPP.

Can Impact Protection Adhesive or Profile be used for outdoor applications?

Yes, both these products are weatherable and can be used for exterior applications.

Can Impact Protection Adhesive be reapplied over itself once cured?

Yes, IPA can be applied over itself to thicken a bead or when replacement is needed. This is one of the advantages of 3M™ Impact Protection Adhesive over common structural silicone sealants.

Should an attachment system be used on french pane windows?

First consideration should be given to the intended application and code and/or specification requirements. Many projects require proof of performance testing on the specific window system including glass, size, frame, anchorage, etc. Secondly, our impact protection attachment systems are primarily used on commercial windows, not residential windows with intricate and decorative frame mullions. The consumer should be made aware of what to expect when considering having an impact protection film attachment system applied to windows on their home.