The most important step in installing your own window film is to start with a professional grade film from the professional window film site Solarfilmco.com and beware of low price imported films from home improvement stores and do-it-yourself sites. Those films will not give you the same ease of installation, durability and guarantees as our quality American made professional grade films.
STEP 1) CLEANING
THE GLASS MUST BE AS CLEAN AND DUST FREE AS POSSIBLE! You will need a clean spray bottle with a strong pump, some bottles are weak sprayers and some, like the ones at a carwash or from a janitor supply, have very strong pumps and will propel a greater quantity per pump. Fill the bottle with clean water, filtered water is even better. Add 1/2 teaspoon of amber colored baby shampoo to 1 quart of water in the spray bottle. Baby shampoo is pure soap and only baby shampoo is recommended, DO NOT USE DETERGENT! The film is applied to the interior side of the window, so move away any furniture that may be getting in your way. Remove all obstructions from the work area, such as window blinds, plants and knick-knacks. Decals may be tinted over if desired, otherwise remove
them with your razor blade scraper tool. You will want to be able to spray generous amounts of water on the window, so you may want to cover the floor with a clean and dust-free towel or drop cloth. Spray the solution on the glass and carefully scrape the entire glass with the razor blade scraper tool of your choice. Next, aggressively spray into the crevice around the entire window, use a tooth brush to scrub out any dust and dirt and rinse well, then rinse well again, putting the sprayer right up to the crevice and spraying into it, bottom crevice will catch the debris, so lastly wash it out using lots of water (solution). Now you can squeegee window and dry around the edges with paper towels. You should soak up the dirty water on the window sill and wall with paper towels, because if you leave it there it may loosen-up the paint on the window sill while you are working there.
STEP 2) CUTTING FILM
The film has a thin plastic liner covering the adhesive side which will not be removed until after the film is cut, during the application stage. Unroll the film on the floor or on a table top. Cut it slightly larger than the glass area, 1" margin is a useful size, more or less is a matter of preference or necessity, but you do not want to risk cutting the film smaller than the glass, because you could waste your materials.
CUTTING FILM / ADVANCED TRICKS
Open the film box an put it on the floor so that it will unroll towards you. Put a measuring tape on the ground, touching the box, pulled out to the length you want and lock it. Put a NEW single edge razor blade into the side of the box where you want to trim the film, 1" or 2" wider than the size you will need for your rough-cut size. Now you can pull the film out against the blade, slitting it as you pull it out of the box. IMPORTANT: BE CAREFUL NOT TO ACCIDENTALLY CUT YOUR FINGERS when you do this! ( Just take your time and be careful, this job can be fun but only if you don't fight it! ) Now you can pull the film out of the box to the end of the measuring tape, giving 2" or 3" extra for the cut. Pull the film on the blade, pull smoothly and straight back to the end of the tape measure and MAKE SURE YOU PULL FAR ENOUGH, an extra inch for good luck may just save a too-short cut! Now you can reach over the box and with your knife cut the film using the inside edge of the box as your guide! This way you can cut off each piece as you need it.
For final cutting you will need to identify the adhesive/liner side of the film. An easy way to tell the liner side of the film is to rub the dry film with a paper towel or a scrubbie pad and the side with swirl marks will be the liner side. For final cutting you will want the film on the window, so spray the window with solution and then place the film on the glass with the adhesive/liner side towards the glass. The liquid will hold the film in place when you press it on the glass. You can move the film to reposition it, but spray more solution under film if you move it or it won't stay up on the glass. Position the film with even overlap all around the edges of the window, then squeegee the film down into place there. Now you are ready to cut the film to the final size. You
may also consider using the precision "factory edge" of the film as one of your edges, thus saving you an extra cut. Use fresh and sharp stainless steel blades. Carbon steel blades and old, dull or rusted blades can cut the glass and are not to be used! Contact your local paint store for blades, or contact Solarfilm Company for tools and supplies that you may need. You may want to use a small plastic drafting triangle as a guide. Some installers move the guide and blade together, but this is where personal style and technique are applied. For more detailed information and for professional training, contact Solarfilm Company about installation videos. Press carefully
enough to cut through the film, but not so much that you cut into the glass. Change blades often, the cutting should feel almost effortless. If the blade drags or snags, change blades. The general rule is to change blades for every window, don't be cheap, it's important!!! We recommend a 1/16"-1/4" margin around edges for safety and convenience. These margins will be unnoticeable if you cut carefully and geometrically, so take your time!
STEP 3) APPLICATION
The film will be peeled and applied next. You may want another person to hold it up by the corners ( they may get a little wet ) or you can lay the film on another CLEAN window using water/solution to hold it up as when you were cutting. Your fingers will have microscopic dust and dirt so WASH YOUR HANDS IN A CLEAN RINSE BUCKET! Dust particles are in the air, so are animal hairs and even insects. You want to minimize the possibilities of any of these getting between the glass and film when you install. When you are peeling and sticking you want to be clean, fast and accurate. You will not want the film to touch anything on the way to the glass because it may pick up debris that will need to be washed out before the final squeegee step. Now you will need to clean the window one last time with a squeegee and paper towels. If you have prepped the window before your installation time you will still need to wash them again now. ALWAYS WASH THE GLASS IMMEDIATELY BEFORE YOU APPLY THE FILM! Dry the moulding edge with a clean paper towel. Every second between when you wash the glass and when you stick the film dust will be landing on the glass. There is no way to prevent it, we can only try to minimize it. Have 2 full bottles of solution ready and wash your hands in a bucket of clean water! Now you are ready. Peel the backing from the film (this step sometimes seems like the hardest part of the whole job, two pieces of scotch tape may help to start a corner). SPRAY the film as you peel, make sure it gets very wet, use LOTS of water (solution), look for any speckled areas, they are areas that are not completely wet. Spray more solution until it sheets down the entire film. Now carefully place the piece of film into exact position, moving slowly so that you don't wrinkle or fold the film. If you accidentally fold it, carefully pull it apart, re-wet it, then continue. With film on glass, look for dirt specks and hairs. If dust or hair are present carefully peel back the film and remove them, then spray-out that area with solution. This is very common, don't panic, just take your time. Next, lightly squeegee down the center of the window to tack the film into it's correct position. With film in final position, squeegee up and down from center, then sideways from the center. Squeegee the entire window vertically and horizontally from the center out to the edges, making a grid-type pattern. This is to push the film out to the sides geometrically. Work from the center out to each side, from the center up, from the center down, working towards the sides from the center, HORIZONTALLY AND VERTICALLY. You should end at the 4 corners of the film last. This method insures that the film is efficiently stretched out geometrically, preventing wrinkles and peeling. Wipe water from the edges of the film with paper towels. Make a final check for dust, sand, hairs, etc. The final step is to press all remaining moisture out with a hard card. This is a card about 3"x4" made of hard plastic included free in your film order. We send you a free white teflon card with your film order for this. You must squeegee the film again with this card, pushing hard to get out all the water, using the same pattern as described above and overlapping your strokes. The more water drops you get out, the better. This is a difficult step if done in direct sunlight, because the water starts to dry and the adhesive activates too fast. Water left under the film, between the film and the glass, will eventually vaporize out through the plastic. Excessive moisture from any spots missed by carding may form small water blisters that will take a little longer to dry, but they will eventually dry out. Normally, with good conditions and proper installation, the film will only look foggy for one or two days, or until the application solution vaporizes and dissipates, but in cold weather it may take a week or more. We recommend you wait a week or two before handling or touching the film to allow the adhesive to properly bond with the glass. Drying time will vary based on the weather conditions and temperature. Indoor temperature and indoor humidity are the main factors that will affect the drying time.
STEP 4) CLEANING
Now you may gently wipe the windows using a fine mist of solution and soft paper towels to clean any smudges or fingerprints, use only cleaners that DO NOT contain ammonia! Ammonia tends to dissolve the acrylic scratch resistant layer, causing the window film to fail and get damaged easier. A good cleaner for window film is the blue ALCOHOL based windshield cleaner solution from an auto supply. We recommend a non-ammonia cleaner and a soft cloth, such as microfiber. One part vinegar to 10 parts water), or Windex. If you use a professional window cleaning person let them know which windows are tinted.