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RobertG

A couple questions on a residential security window film install

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Hello, I am brand new to the forum and I would appreciate some feedback on a couple questions I have.

 

My house is only a few years old and has vinyl framed windows. I recently had a couple quotes from 3M dealers and they indicated DOW 995 would not be an option on the install due to the vinyl frame windows.  I assume this is correct since the film installers do this kind of job routinely and the DOW 995 would be an up-sell. Would an 8 mil window film install gain me any security or just make it easier to knock out the windows in one piece?

 

Would anyone recommend I have the film installed and then do a wet or mechanical attachment myself.  Is there a mechanical attachment that looks good in a residential setting?

 

The 3M installer(s) assured me the clarity with the film installed would not be noticeable.  Based on what I have read in various threads here the 3M film tends to not be optically clear. Has the film improved?  Will the clarity be noticeably degraded with an 8 mil window film?

 

Thanks for any advice.

Edited by RobertG

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I can't offer any advice... but I would ask - what are the measurements of your windows?  Having any type of attachment system on smaller windows will be a lot more noticeable then if they are larger. (as in a commercial building) While I'm sure you don't have those types of windows, the sizes might make a little bit of a difference in terms of ascetics.

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19 hours ago, RobertG said:

 

Hello, I am brand new to the forum and I would appreciate some feedback on a couple questions I have.

 

My house is only a few years old and has vinyl framed windows. I recently had a couple quotes from 3M dealers and they indicated DOW 995 would not be an option on

the install due to the vinyl frame windows.  I assume this is correct since the film installers do this kind of job routinely and the DOW 995 would be an up-sell. Would an 8 mil window film install gain me any security or just make it easier to knock out the windows in one piece?

 

I would steer clear of Dow 995 for residential; it is more for commercial grade aluminum framing. 995 will definitely cause irreparable damage to your vinyl framing. This is because it creates a powerful bond that requires razor blade or putty knife use to remove. So, when it comes time to replace the film you would have to replace the framing or entire window system.

 

There are other (mechanical) attachment systems that may serve the purpose of reinforcement of film/glass combination however, mechanical attachments use double-back taping systems that will also be difficult to remove when time to replace the film.

 

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Would anyone recommend I have the film installed and then do a wet or mechanical attachment myself.  Is there a mechanical attachment that looks good in a residential setting?

Attachments systems are barely mastered by film industry installer let alone a homeowner attempting a DIY approach. Structural sealants are akin to working with peanut butter; do you really believe you would successfully apply an even coating throughout and not make a mess of your film installation, framing and window surroundings?

 

No mechanical system looks any better than wet-glaze system using Dow 99 or Tremco's Proglaze SS. There is a product known as 'Bondkap' that works with a wet-glaze system to improve aesthetics however, it only improves the interior appearance.

 

Attachment systems were developed for Commercial glazing to provide break-n-enter, wind storm or blast mitigation. It was not intended for residential use due to the varying design and composition in framing found in homes. By comparison, commercial framing systems have far less variations in design.

 

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The 3M installer(s) assured me the clarity with the film installed would not be noticeable.  Based on what I have read in various threads here the 3M film tends to not be optically clear. Has the film improved?  Will the clarity be noticeably degraded with an 8 mil window film?

To my knowledge 3M's safety film does have lower quality optics compared with other safety film products however, their Ultra SS films do stand up much better in terms of mitigation performance. A comparison would be, 3m's Ultra 6-mil performs as well as any competitor's 8-mil product.

 

 

Now, for what purpose are you wanting this type of film product?

 

If it is for wind storm mitigation, it is a crap-shoot when it comes to high wind protection. Case in point; a film distributor out of Miami had varying degrees of protection on their center's windows when hurricane Andrew came through in the early 90's. Some glass had regular film, some no film and still others with safety film. The damage was extensive with some window literally ripped from the building, glass and frame. No film company can pass Dade County wind mitigation protocol without assistance from other materials ... such as 3/4 - 7/8 inch ply wood cover plank. Maybe one (less difficult) section is passed but, no one can pass the full regiment.

 

If you are doing this for break and enter mitigation then you will be fine using 3m's 6 or 8-mil (whichever has the better optics) for the job. The majority of your home windows are annealed glass (or Plate glass). Annealed glass break into large shards when impacted. These large shards allow the film to grasp a larger surface area, providing greater sheer strength if one were to attempt to break through. The amount of edge bite the glass has into the frame is of wider stance along the edge with large shards thereby, providing greater resistance to attempts at push through. There is little need for attachment systems on Annealed glass in break and enter scenarios for this reason. Also, if one were able to get through an annealed glass setting with safety film applied, the chances for residual/collectable DNA is greater due to its shards having razor sharp edges at every crack.

 

Tempered glass is found in entry doors (and any sidelites), bathroom glass and sliding doors. It is identifiable by a corner etching that states it is tempered or safety tempered. Tempered glass breaks into small, less harmful beads and is the type glass where the idea of 'it'll just push out in one piece' comes from. This too is dependent on the edge bite (how deep the glass edge goes inside the framing system). It can be very little, up to and exceeding one half inch, in some instances. Attachment systems assist in keeping tempered glass from a 'push through' attempt. At least, slowing an intruder down. This is key because it is a statistical fact that break and enter types will move on after ten seconds, if they are delayed entry.

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Thanks for any advice.

Hope this was helpful.

 

My credentials in the industry are extensive though, I am retired at this point. I was in tech support for a major film manufacturer for 18+ years, have worked on teams that tested safety film (and attachment system) performance, taught the installation of these type products and participated in an advisory role to dealer level installation firms. 

 

An aside story: I once was called to a rehab center in Charlotte NC as a manny sales rep in the mid-90's to assess the need for safety film. I accompanied the local dealer of our product. The head of operations had received a quote for 3m's Ultra film of all glass. The head of operations at this rehab was reluctant to use our product because of comparative break parameter differences between the product we represented in competition with 3m's Ultra. I did acknowledge the center's concerns over performance differences however, before leaving I asked that we tour the facility and as we went from room to room to I pointed out that all their glass was tempered. Why was this important? This was long before attachments systems came to our industry and whatever product they had installed would be subject to the break and push through phenomenon. To my knowledge, no one was awarded that installation.

Edited by smartie2shoes

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Thank you smartie2shoes for taking time to share your expertise and provide such a detailed answer, your comments are greatly appreciated and very helpful.

 

The main emphasis of my job is to reduce or delay breaking and entering through windows that are hidden from view of neighbors, my doors are reinforced with Mul-T-Lock deadbolts and door armour jamb kits so the windows are the next obvious entry point.  Especially windows that are somewhat hidden from view.

 

The film quoted is 3M Ultra S600.

 

I would welcome any other comments.

Edited by RobertG

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A couple of things I did failed to mention is that all testing has been done on single pane. There wasn't any data regarding dual pane window systems when I left the industry in late 2015.

 

Think of it from a perps perspective, if you will; in a dual pane setting smashing through involves getting beyond two layers of glass. The first pane breaking in the manner described above for Annealed or Tempered and then *resistance* at the second pane. Someone will need be very persistent to continue after the surprise of not seeing the second panel break and fall away in the same manner as the first.

 

Also, the way to achieve an aesthetically pleasing anchor status with a vinyl frame system without a wet-glaze or mechanical attachment would be to have all 'vulnerable' glass removed from their frame, filmed and then replaced back into their frame. Same with sliding door units. This can be a costly venture and would require assistance for an experienced glass glazer/window assembler. The film would be installed edge to edge and the frame/gasket now becomes the anchoring system.

 

A mechanical system featuring different profiles for framing would fall under the names Pentagon Elite or Gullwing. I know Pentagon Elite to have a double-back tape adhesive system; not sure on Gullwing. The way to improve exterior appearance through masking the tape's sticking to the film would be to seek assistance through a sign maker who uses vinyl. You can get a color match to frames, pay to have highest quality 'exterior' material used and it would then be installed as a 'masking' strip on the exterior of the window along each edge in a manner that would give the appearance of a wider frame.

 

All depends upon wallet size and how serious your pursuit of protection is.

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Thank you again, and my pockets are not deep enough for super protection. The quotes I am getting are around $12/SF installed and I can live with that.

 

I spoke to one of the 3M sales reps and he indicated even without anchoring the film, it will definitely slow someone down intent on breaking in, your comments seem to confirm this.  

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