Applying window film on the glass portion of your windows is a common technique to block or filter intense heat and light from the sun. After years of wear and tear, window films can get scratched, faded, or start to naturally peel off your windows. When this happens, it means it's time to remove your window film and possibly replace it with a new one.
In this blog, we explain the different types of residential window films to choose from and teach you how to properly remove them to avoid damaging your glass windows.
Let's get started!
Types of Window Film for Your Home
There are two basic types of window films for your home, these include:
- Adhesive window film – Made from 2mm polyester film, this option sticks firmly to the glass surface using its adhesive properties. Used as a great way to protect your glass windows while shielding your interiors from excessive sunlight, it's also relatively affordable and of good quality. Both the installation and the removal of this window film can be tricky.
- Non-adhesive cling window film – This type of window film is made of 8mm vinyl, which is thicker than polyester. It's easy to install and remove window film of this material; it can even be reused. They are less transparent, which is a “pro” if you're after increasing your privacy. The only downside is that it tends to be a dust magnet due to the window film's static properties.
In addition, there are some window film options to choose from for your specific purposes. Here are some examples:
- Decorative window film – Upgrade ordinary-looking glass windows with decorative window films! These film designs mimic beautiful glass finishes like stained glass windows, etched glass, textured glass, or frosted glass – all while addressing privacy and energy efficiency concerns in the home.
- Solar window film – If your main priority is how to make your home more energy efficient, installing solar window films effectively reduce glare and block up to 99% of UV rays and increases in solar heat, cutting back on the need for cooling systems significantly.
- Privacy window film – Privacy window films let you enjoy unobstructed outdoor views during the daytime while keeping your interiors hidden from the eyes of curious neighbours or pedestrians. This type of window film can imitate a reflective, tinted, or frosted glass finish. If you plan to use this for your home, be sure to put up curtains or other window treatments as it becomes transparent at night.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Remove Window Film
Follow these detailed instructions for removing window film at home:
- Using a hairdryer, heat the filmed surface of your glass window.
- You'll notice the corners of the window film start to pop. Lift the edges with your fingernails or a sharpened straight-edge razor, careful not to damage the glass. The wider the blade, the better and the bigger area it can cover. It may come off in one big piece or strips depending on how old the window film is. Do this while the hairdryer is continuously heating the window film.
- When you have successfully removed the window film from the glass, you may see unpleasant markings or residues from the adhesive. Spray the glass surface with water and a teaspoon of baby shampoo. Let it sit for a few minutes.
- Scrape off the residue using a straight-edge razor. Protect the glass surface of your windows from getting scratched or damaged by keeping it wet with your DIY solution.
If you don’t have access to a heating device, this tutorial on how to remove window film is sure to help:
- Get a plastic drop sheet or garbage bag and cut it to the size of the window.
- Mix warm water with any mild liquid soap solution. Put it in a spray bottle.
- Spray soapy water onto the window film until it becomes completely saturated.
- Lock in the moisture by covering the film with the plastic drop sheet or garbage bag.
- Leave the window film soaking and covered for at least eight hours or overnight.
- After the curing time is over, take off the plastic sheet or garbage bag.
- Lift the corner edges of the window film away from the glass surface slowly but surely. Use a plastic scraper if necessary for any stubborn parts.
- Get rid of hard-to-remove window film or adhesive residues with citrus or ammonia-based window cleaning solution. Clean and wipe with a soft cloth.
In some cases where you’re in a time crunch, an ammonia-based solvent is applied to the window film before exposing it to heat. If you are interested in trying this technique to quickly remove window film at home, open the doors and windows and turn on any fans to increase ventilation and promote air circulation. Exposure to ammonia fumes can be toxic and lead to adverse health effects.
Follow these steps:
- Apply ammonia to the window film.
- Cover the glass window with a dark-coloured lawn and leaf bag, and start the heating process.
- Do not hold the hairdryer directly over the plastic covering, this can cause the plastic to melt to your glass window on top of the window film.
- Once the glass surface is warm enough, remove the plastic covering and manually scrape off the window film using your hands or a sharpened razor. The window film should peel away easier and in sheets.
Professional Window Installation by Clera
Clera Windows + Doors’ professional window installation service is happy to assist you with any questions you may have regarding how to remove window film. We take pride in our Window Wise certified installation team who works expertly and efficiently to ensure your windows' performance and durability stands the test of time. To request a free home estimate, please contact us today!