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Residential & commercial window film FAQ

What is window film?

Vista window film is a low-cost, high-return energy conservation measure made of micro-thin layers of film combined with high-performance coatings that bond to the glass surface.

Why do you need window film on your windows?

Adding Vista window film upgrades your existing windows by improving energy efficiency, cutting glare and reducing damage to furniture due to fading. It also helps make occupants feel more comfortable within the building.

Is window film disruptive to install?

Most windows can be filmed in 15 minutes with minimal or no disruption to building occupants.

What level of energy savings can I expect with window films?

The energy savings depend on many factors, such as the existing type of glass, existence of overhangs, your location (climate) and energy rates in your area. However, for most buildings, high-performance window films can reduce energy costs from five to 15 percent.

What type of return on investment or simple payback would these energy savings provide?

Though they provide similar energy savings, window films are much cheaper to install than replacement windows – about five to 10 percent of the cost. Therefore, the capital investment is much lower for window film. Many projects produce a simple payback in fewer than three years (when including utility company rebates) – equivalent to a 33 percent return on investment!

Is applying window film safe for my windows? Won’t it cause glass breakage or seal failure?

The installation of window films is very safe. We provide our installers with a list of recommended applications, and are confident that the applications are safe when the recommendations are followed. Plus, we provide warranties against glass breakage and seal failure.

Isn’t window film dark? And won’t application of film cause me to have to use more lighting, which would increase my energy costs?

In many cases, there is so much solar heat gain before window films are installed that shades or blinds must be kept closed. By applying energy-saving window film, blinds and shades can remain open, allowing more light into the building than before film installation. Plus, window films come in a variety of light transmissions, from very dark (zero percent light transmission) to very light (80 percent light transmission).

I’ve heard that films with a high luminous efficacy are the best films to use and will provide the best energy savings. Is this true?

Films with high luminous efficacies, also known as spectrally-selective films, can be the best film in many applications. However, the solar heat rejection of these products is typically less than the highest performance films, so they offer fewer savings on air-conditioning costs. In addition, films higher in light transmission offer less in the way of glare reduction.

How does the installation of energy-saving window film affect the performance of my building’s HVAC system?

According to U.S. Department of Energy statistics, solar heat gain through windows is responsible for about one-third of a building’s cooling costs. Energy-saving window film that can reduce solar heat gain by 75 percent or more can significantly reduce the run time of air-conditioning systems or allow them to operate at lower load conditions. This can reduce cooling costs in commercial buildings by as much as 30 percent, lengthen HVAC equipment life, lower maintenance costs for air-conditioning systems and allow for replacement of cooling equipment with smaller, less expensive equipment.

What is the expected lifespan of your window film products and what are the warranties on your products?    

Most films carry a 10- or 15-year warranty for non-residential installations. Warranties include total film replacement, including labor and materials. Many of our films are on the job, still providing energy savings and improved comfort, 20 years after installation.  

Can window films help with LEED Certification or qualification as an EnergyStar labeled building?   

In fact, window films can assist with as many as nine LEED Certification points (out of the 32 required for Silver LEED Certification). The energy savings provided by Vista films can also assist buildings with their EnergyStar labeling requirements.

What Are LLumar Films?

LLumar films constitute a wide family of protective, thin-film products that serve a variety of useful proposes. Most are intended for application to glass surfaces and are made from the highest quality, optically clear polyester films, treated, coated and laminated in various ways through vacuum metallizing, sputtering coating, chemical dyeing or pigmentation. Special adhesives and scratch-resistant coatings make the films extremely durable and bond well to glass and other materials. Over 180 unique films are used for automotive, architectural and residential applications to control the sun’s heat, glare and ultraviolet light, or provide color and patterned decoration. Others are used to make glass safer and more secure, or to invisibly protect auto paint from stone chips and abrasion.

Will LLumar safety and security window films stop a bullet?

No blanket statement can be made about this. There are many reported instances where this has occurred, but the ballistic variables are too numerous to allow generalizations. The size, shape, mass, velocity and trajectory of the bullet as well as the composition of glass on which it is installed make it dangerous to make any precise, warrantable claims. Generally, smaller caliber bullets can be, in differing circumstances, deflected, slowed and occasionally stopped altogether. But no film company in the industry is yet justified in making warranted statements about their films being “bullet-proof” or even “bullet-resistant,” until such time as fully defined criteria and controlled tests are in place that are nationally or internationally recognized. However, we do know that specified LLumar films on glass provide substantial penetration resistance, safety hazard mitigation and a persistent weather seal in simulated events and controlled tests with hurled bricks, rocks, crowbars, hammers, bomb blasts, shotgun blasts, seismic events and windborne debris.  

How much UV protection will LLumar solar film provide?

In both automotive and architectural applications, LLumar solar films can reduce harmful ultraviolet rays by 96 to 99.9 percent, depending upon the specific film. Many films will additionally reduce glare by over 90 percent and reduce solar heat gain by 77 percent.  

Will LLumar films distort my vision while looking out of the window?

Professionally installed LLumar films are virtually undetectable after the installation and curing period and are extremely optically clear. Most architectural films are bonded to the glass with a special mounting adhesive called “CDF,” meaning “clear, distortion-free.” Most users will agree that visual acuity is often increased with LLumar film because glare is reduced, greatly reducing eyestrain. 

I often see purple bubbling window film on cars. Will LLumar film do this over time?

No. Purple, bubbling film is a sign of a very low-grade window film whose mounting adhesive and dye components have broken down. LLumar films are warranted against this, using more stable and advanced dye chemistries and/or permanent metal layers that do not discolor over time. LLumar HPR adhesive is known worldwide for its strength, durability and optical clarity. Paradoxically, it seems that only poor quality films are noticed and high quality, professional installations go unnoticed, perceived as mere “factory-tinted glass.” All LLumar films come with a factory-backed warranty when installed by an authorized LLumar dealer.

Do the films require special care or cleaning?    

Not really. While not quite as hard as glass, LLumar films are extremely scratch-resistant and may be cleaned with common household cleaners, non-abrasive paper towels, or cotton cleaning cloths. Caution should be exercised to prevent extreme gouging by hard, sharp, metallic objects.

How much do the automotive films cost?

The cost of solar or security films will vary with the thickness, type of material, size of the vehicle and the market location. Your LLumar dealer will provide you with an estimate at no charge.

Can I install LLumar film myself?

LLumar films must be installed by a professional installer using highly specialized equipment and techniques.

Does Solutia manufacture the films they sell?

Yes. With that exception of raw polyester, Solutia is the only window film manufacturing company in the world with the full range of technologies needed for every aspect of the production of solar control, decorative and safety and security films. Solutia’s Performance Films division has more than 700,000 square feet of manufacturing space dedicated to the production of the full range of film types. Solutia’s production capabilities include color dyeing, sputtering, metallizing, laminating and slitting. It is also is uniquely known for the unmatched size, scope and quality of its marketing, sales and technical support groups that literally span the globe.

Where are LLumar films available?

LLumar films are available at more than 10,000 dealerships worldwide. Manufacturing sites are located in the U.S. with sales offices in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Russia, Japan, China, Singapore, Mexico and South America. With more than 50 years of experience, Solutia has the ability to meet the diverse needs of a global marketplace more effectively and efficiently than any competitor does.

What is “ISO”? What does it mean for a company (such as Solutia’s Performance Films division) to be an ISO 9000 or ISO 9001 certified company?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 130 countries, one from each country. ISO is a non-governmental organization established in 1947. The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity.” (Quoted from ISO’s web site.) ISO’s home page is: http://www.iso.ch/index.html  

What would the SPF (sun protection factor) be for window film, using the same scale used by the sun screen manufacturers?

Since an SPF 15 allows you to stay in the sun without burning fifteen times longer than you could if you didn’t use any sunscreen, the calculation of the SPF for window film is fairly easy. The number is very large indeed. If the film product allows less than 1 percent UV transmission, the SPF would be about 100 or more. With 1.5 percent UV transmission, the SPF is 66.66. With a UV transmission of 2 percent, the SPF would be 50, etc. Simply divide 100 by the percentage of UV transmission. Make sure that your UV transmission number covers the whole range of UVA and UVB radiation. NOTICE: While this computation is easy to perform, it must be said that most dermatologists don’t think numbers larger than about 20 are meaningful. Moreover, these SPF numbers are officially determined by actual skin testing according to an established experimental protocol. It is not permissible to make such claims about actual SPF numbers without having these skin tests performed by a qualified laboratory.