Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How do 3M™ Sun Control Films work?
  2. How do 3M Low E Window Films work?
  3. Why do commercial customers have 3M Film applied to their buildings?
  4. What is the typical energy pay back for 3M Sun Control Window Films?
  5. How is 3M Window Film applied?
  6. How long does it take for 3M Window Films to dry?
  7. Can I install 3M Window Film myself?
  8. How do I clean my 3M™ Window Films?
  9. How long does 3M Window Film last?
  10. What is the warranty for 3M Window Film?
  11. Do 3M Window Films cause glass to break?
  12. Do 3M Window Films cause seal failure when applied to insulated (double-pane) windows?
  13. Will 3M Window Films stop my furnishings from fading?
  14. Does the Ultra Violet protection lose its effectiveness over time?
  15. How do 3M Safety and Security Window Films work?
  16. Are 3M Safety & Security Window Films hurricane-proof? Bullet-proof? Burglar-proof?
  17. Does 3M make Window Films?

3M Sun Control Films are designed to 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 are not as effective as reflective films for reducing heat.

Reflective films are films that have been precision coated with metals. These metallized films are designed to increase the solar energy reflection of the glass. 3M reflective films range from moderate to excellent in solar performance (heat gain reduction).

All 3M Sun Control Films are made to be transparent and optically clear. The ultraviolet protection is built into the adhesive system to provide longevity to the film as well as provide UV protection for your home and office furnishings.

Most 3M Window Films are protected with our abrasion resistant coating that provides long-term durability and maintained appearance.

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3M Low E Films work much in the same way as the sun control films except that they offer an increased performance against cold weather heat loss. The patented construction of these films enables the metal coating to reflect more of the interior room heat back into the room where it is needed. This improves personal comfort by reducing cold spots near windows and can help save on fuel costs, especially in commercial buildings. These low-e films are also protected with our patented abrasion resistant coating for long-term durability and maintained appearance.

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

Most often, our commercial customers will purchase 3M Window Films for tenant comfort and justify the purchase through energy cost savings.

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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 seen paybacks often range in the 2-5 year period, with some reported to be even less than 6 months. See your 3M authorized 3M Window Film Dealer to analyze the potential energy savings in your commercial property.

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3M films are professionally applied by skilled, authorized 3M Dealers. Almost all of our films are designed to be applied to the inside of your glass.

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.

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We suggest allowing thirty days for the film to fully dry and cure. During this curing process, it is normal to have small water bubbles and/or a hazy 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 Window Films will look great and perform for many years to come.

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No, 3M Window Films require professional application; our authorized 3M Window Film Dealers are thoroughly trained and experienced in performing high quality work. In this way, our customers will enjoy the benefits of 3M Window Films and have the comfort of the 3M warranty.

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After thirty (30) days, you may clean 3M™ Films using normal household cleaning solutions, including ammonia based products: e.g., Windex, and a soft, lint-free cloth or towel. You may also use a squeegee to clean the films. Abrasive products which would scratch or damage the film should not be used.

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3M Window Films are made to last for many years. The exact length of time depends upon the type of film applied, window orientation, type of glass it is applied to and the particular climate in which it is applied. Most applications last well beyond the warranty length.

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3M 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 proved to be defective, 3M and the authorized 3M Dealer will replace the film and provide the reapplication labor free of charge.

Seller also warrants against glass failure due to thermal shock fracture or seal failure (maximum value of $500 per window) caused only as a direct result of the application of 3M Window Films provided the film is applied to recommended types of glass and the glass failure is reported to the seller within the specified time (listed below) from the start of the installation.

  • Sixty (60) months coverage against thermal shock fracture
  • Forty (40) months coverage against seal failure if covered by original window manufacturer

Any glass failure covered by this warranty must be reviewed by Seller prior to repair, and only covers film and glass replacement.

Optional Platinum Warranty – Residential Applications Only

The 3M Platinum Warranty matches the terms and conditions of the residential customer’s existing window manufacturer’s warranty for a mere $.35/square foot. The 3M Platinum Select Warranty matches the terms of the Platinum Warranty, but also increases the replacement value of $500 per window to $1500 per window. This allows the customer continuous coverage on new windows and the peace of mind having assurance that a product from 3M is protecting their investment.

Contact your local 3M dealer for details.

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The application of 3M Window Films will increase the temperature of your sunlit glass which will increase the stress on the glass edges. The quality of those glass edges and several other factors (external shading, interior shading, glass history, type of film, size/shape of glass, indoor/outdoor temperature) all contribute to the potential risk of glass breakage.

3M’s forty plus years of experience with applying 3M Window Films to different types of glass enables us to make proper film/glass recommendations and minimize the potential for glass breakage. In addition, we support these recommendations with our 60-month glass breakage warranty against thermal shock fracture. Should the glass break within 60-months of application, 3M; will replace the glass (maximum $500.00), and the dealer will replace the film.

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No, 3M Window Films do not cause seal failure. We’ve been applying 3M Window Films to insulated windows for many years with 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 20 F degree increase (unusual for most films) will result in a less than 3% change in air pressure, whereas properly made units are designed and tested to withstand 22% changes in air pressure.

Risk of seal failure is greatly determined 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 units from reputable window manufacturers that have solid experience and histories with insulated units.

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Nothing completely stops fading. 3M Window Films are designed to help reduce the major causes of fading (ultra violet light, visible light, and solar heat), thus prolonging the life of your furnishings, perhaps as much as two to five times.

Keep in mind the article(s) to be protected; if they have a typical life of five (5) years then they may last ten (10) years to much longer depending on the performance of the film selected. However, if the typical life is only 2-3 weeks, then the expectation should be expressed in terms of months.

As a general rule of thumb, ultra violet (UV) is approximately 40% of the cause, visible light is about 25%, and heat about 25%. The remaining 10% can be attributed to humidity, pollutants, interior lights, dye stability, and more.

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The ultra violet (UV) protection that we use in our proprietary adhesive system is not indefinite, but we design our window films to maintain high UV protection throughout their lifetime. In fact, we tested an actual glass sample from The Dumbarton House, Washington, D.C., and the ultra violet transmission still measures <1% after 10 years!

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3M Safety and Security Window Films are designed to make glass shatter-resistant by holding the glass pieces together when broken.

Compared to 3M™ Sun Control Window Films, 3M Safety & Security Window Films are made with thicker polyester and a much thicker, more aggressive adhesive. 3M Ultra Safety & Security Window Films are unique in the industry; they are built using a special micro-layered polyester technology which increases the films’ tear resistance significantly. The impact and tear resistance of Ultra films outperform all other films of similar thickness.

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No, 3M Safety & Security Window Films are not hurricane-proof, earthquake-proof, bullet-proof, bomb-proof, nor burglar-proof. Again, they are designed to make the window glass more shatter-resistant.

In the event of a windstorm, 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 possible 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, too).

Bullets: these films are not designed to stop bullets.

3M Safety & Security Window Films were originally developed to address 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 too).

3M Safety & Security Window Films are a low profile, high performance 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. 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 & Security Window Film.

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Definitely! No one has more experience with window film than 3M. 3M was issued the very first patent on 3M Window Film in 1966 and today we are the only manufacturer that can produce our own polyesters, adhesives, metals and scratch-resistant coatings. This gives us the quality control and product consistency other manufacturers just can’t match.

What’s more, we have a core of carefully screened authorized dealers who are trained by 3M to professionally install your 3M Window Film correctly. And 3M Window Film is backed by a warranty that covers 100% of materials and labor. It’s the most comprehensive warranty you can get.

That, along with 3M’s worldwide reputation as the adhesive experts, means you can rest assured knowing 3M Window Film is safe for your windows, and safe for you.

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