In our May 2010 article, “Let the sun shine and keep the heat out,” we address the major types of window films and how to consider which film type is best for a customer’s personal needs.
While we had the ears or our industry sources, we asked for the latest in application tips. Jan Chao of 3M gave us these: “There are many types of automotive window films in the marketplace. Different types of films will handle differently during installation process, depending on the type of construction (i.e. monolithic, metal, laminate and multi-layers). One of the best ways to help ensure success is to have proper window film installation tools:
- Sharp, breakaway knife blades: Stainless steel blades will have minimal tendency to scratch glass.
- Proper style and stiffness of squeegee: A hard squeegee works well for flat surfaces; however, a softer squeegee should be used for windows with contours, such as auto rear window.
- Uniform-heat-delivering heat gun: Constant heat from the heat gun is important for uniform heat shrinking. High heat does not necessarily mean faster and better.”
We got this one from Bill Stewart of Solamatrix: “This may seem simple, but it can make a big difference: Make sure your water bottles are clean. Over time, plastic water bottles can build up a film residue. If not properly cleaned, this residue can spray onto the window film and cause contamination.
“It is also best to use either distilled water or install a good water filter. Always work in a clean environment – it is best to work in a bay that can be closed off from the outside to eliminate dust and debris.”
Jon Mitchell, of Bekaert Specialty Films, gave us these comments: “Tinting side roll-up windows can be challenging for even the most experienced installers. Many of these windows now come with side gaskets lined with a felt-like material. When small, felt fibers come loose and end up under the film they are noticed as small, silver specks, about the size of a period.”
“To prevent any fibers from finding their way into a tint job, roll the windows all the way down and cover the felt with blue painter’s masking tape or clear packing tape before you get started. Leave a tab at the top or bottom to aide in tape removal when you are finished applying the film.
“Did you know that every time a cut is made on glass it leaves a minor scratch? This is especially true when you need to cut the rear window pattern to the shape of the surrounding black border. Preventing a severe scratch, and protecting your customer’s car, is as easy as a button, literally. A button has holes that allow the tip of the blade to rest solidly. Simply place the button under the film to be cut, insert the tip of the blade into one of the buttons holes and proceed to cut the film. You will also notice your blades will last longer and the edge of the film will cut smoother. Since the blade never touches the glass surface, there is no risk of scratching the glass. It may be hard to imagine, but one button can really prevent the cost of hundreds of dollars to replace a customer’s window.”