How long does window film really last?
February 8, 2017 11:45 PM   Subscribe

I have some large and wind-exposed windows, and am terrified of glass flying everywhere if they blow in in a storm.

Since they're on the second storey and don't open, it doesn't look like storm shutters are going to work. I'm investigating safety film (on the inside). The installer said there's a 7 year warranty but that seems like a short time for plastic that just sits there. Can I realistically expect it to last longer than that? And what will happen when it does eventually start to wear out? Is it totally impossible to get off again? If you have experience with this stuff I'd love to hear about it. (No need to discuss installation: I'm not going to DIY it).
posted by superfish to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
I've had window (privacy) film up on my windows for about that long. Yeah, it's getting less sound over time, and I'll have to buy new at some point. But it's not going to just break sitting there. If I were counting on it for structural strength, I'd be a little concerned now. It's more crinkly than flexible. I suspect the main problem is that UV degrades most plastics over time, and windows tend to get a fair amount of UV.

Getting it off the windows is still pretty easy at this point. It'll just peel off, since it hasn't completely come apart. In a few years, it might be trickier. I should probably add "replace window film" to my summer to-do list.
posted by DaveP at 5:11 AM on February 9, 2017

If you own the house and live in an area where storms like that are likely, long term I'd consider replacing the windows with ones that have impact resistant glass.

One of the tests the manufacturer's samples go through for certification is having a 2x4 board shot at them with a cannon, which is fun to see if you get the chance.
posted by superna at 5:56 AM on February 9, 2017

On removal 3M says:
Place drop sheets/towels to protect furnishings/flooring. Use a plastic drop sheet or garbage bag cut to the approximate size of the window. Spray the film (soak the film) very well with water/soap mix (use any liquid soap) not in direct sunlight. Apply the cut out plastic sheet on top of the window film - spray the plastic sheet as well. Let stand for several hours - overnight is best - not in direct sunlight. Remove plastic sheet and begin to peel film off glass starting in the corners. Use provided plastic scrapper to remove any film adhesive residue - may need citrus base cleaners or ammonia based window cleaners.
posted by Mitheral at 4:29 PM on February 9, 2017

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