Tag Archives: window film

The Window Film Solution

windows without window film

Without window film…

Summer heat is beginning to return and we are starting to remember why we need to protect ourselves and our homes or businesses from the sun.  Despite the heat, we still love our windows and glass doors; in fact they are necessary to our quality of life and to the visibility of our businesses.  But with all that glass, we are exposed; exposed to damage, danger, discomfort, and health risks.

We’ve talked before of the damage to our interior and exterior furnishings and finishes, heat gain, and glare.  But there are other much more serious risks to be concerned with.  Glass is a fragile thing and our windows also expose us to break-ins, unintentional impacts, airborne debris during disasters, and even the risk of skin cancer.

Traditional window treatments are all effective (to some extent) at reducing glare, fading and heat gain.  However, consider that even when the sky is cloudy, we are still exposed to UBA and UVB rays.  We rarely close our window coverings on a cloudy day – there seems to be no need – so these types of treatments are not the best solution.

windows with window film

with Madico window film.

And, obviously, drapes, blinds, and shades cannot address the safety and security concerns we have mentioned.  The most effective protection and affordable solution is window film.  While it cannot prevent window damage or break-ins, it will reduce the damage and dangers of these events and can address multiple concerns in one product. 

Window films have gotten a bad reputation in the past due to bubbling, cracking, and pealing.  But this product has benefitted from many years of new technology, which has solved these issues and now offers us new options.  When professionally installed, a quality window film can:

  • Block up to 86% of the sun’s heat
  • Reduce interior heat loss through windows during the winter
  • Reduce the load on a building’s HVAC system
  • Prevent glass from shattering – deterring an intruder, or at least delaying their entrance
  • Prevent glass shards from becoming airborne during a disaster
  • Block up to 99% of the sun’s UV rays
  • Prevent fading of furnishings and interior finishes
  • Significantly reduce the risk of skin damage and cancer
  • Reduce glare and eye fatigue, resulting in higher productivity
  • Improve a building’s appearance by eliminating the visibility of interior “clutter”
  • Protect windows from graffiti damage
  • Delay seal failure on dual-pane, insulated glass windows

Window film also costs less than replacement of vandalized windows, can save thousands in sun or glass breakage damage to interior furnishings and finishes, and can make a building look as though it has received a facelift at a fraction of the cost.  And, because of its energy conservation qualities, window film can help your building earn credits toward LEED certification, and may qualify you/your business for tax credits.

Window film is an effective, affordable, long-lived, and comprehensive solution.  It pairs well with drapes; is practical for high-moisture and/or dirt-prone environments; is a great first solution for windows when moving into a new space; and is an easier and less costly option for “covering” very large windows.

Whatever concerns your windows pose, we use Madico SUN-GARD®, Sunscape®, and Safetyshield ® films to address those issues.  There are many new options in window film appropriate to both residential and commercial buildings – even historic structures.  Some of these include metalized, colored, fully reflective, matte or opaque finishes (for privacy and light diffusion), blackout, and scratch resistance. 

Contact us for guidance on the best window film product to meet your specific needs.

Dressing Challenging Windows

Challenging window shapes require creative design and a thorough knowledge of the solutions on the market today. Architects design windows that suit the buildings they are planning; rarely thinking about how the occupant is going to dress them for light and privacy control.  It’s the job of interior decorators and designers to find those solutions, based on your window challenge, needs and tastes.

Let’s look at some challenging situations and possible window covering solutions:

Graber pleated shades for arch-top windowsRound and Arched Windows – The easy solution to this shape window is to embrace its beautiful roundness and not cover it at all; focusing your attention on dressing the other windows in the room and letting this one stand out.  The worst thing you can do is ignore the shape and put a straight rod and curtains or a blind over it.  There are many creative solutions for this type window: a shade panel stretched on a frame to fit the window; a custom made round or arched shutter; a fan-shaped pleated blind; a sheer fabric gathered on a curved or circular rod….and many other possibilities.

Graber vertical blinds for tall windowsReally Tall Windows – One of the problems with these windows is that they can feel out-of-scale with the rest of the space and everyone/everything in it.  The first option would be to break them up by installing shutters, blinds or decorative panels on one-third to two-thirds of the height, bringing them down to a human scale.  To soften these treatments, you can add drapes (with or without a valance) over top to either the top of the first treatment, or the full window height. The other option would be to embrace that soaring vertical line and cover them in full-length sheers, drapes, or shade panels (again, with or without a valance).  This is a dramatic and high-energy treatment, taking your eye immediately to the high ceiling.

Really Narrow Windows – These windows are challenging because of the limitations on the amount of room needed for the mechanical window treatments such as blinds and shades.  The best options are window films, sheers gathered on top and bottom rods.  Shutters and decorative panels are also options.  The other way to address this shape of window is to make them appear wider that they really are by treating the wall as part of the window.  Install a wider curtain rod to allow for hanging a drapery panel next to the window opening.  The same can be done with sliding panels and vertical blinds.  This works especially well on windows that are tall as well as narrow.

Graber roman shades stacked windowsStacked Windows – Whether you’re dealing with a 1970s geometric grouping of windows, or the recent trend to stack a small window on top of a window or door, you have many options.  1) Treat each window individually with top- or bottom-mounted blinds or shades, decorative panels, or window film.  2) Where privacy is the only issue, add shutters, blinds, or café curtains to the lower windows only.   3) The simplest solution is to treat them all as one unit with a single blind, drapes/sheers, decorative panel, or sliding panels.  4) Divide them into vertical groups with two or more full-length blinds, or full-height drapery panels spaced at regular intervals between the vertical groups of windows.  5) Break up a large grouping of windows by leaving the top row uncovered, adding a valance or cornice across the top of the next row, and drapes or sheer panels spaced at intervals between the vertical groups of windows below. 6) Pick one window to feature a stained glass or decorative panel, treating the others simply with window film or individual blinds.

Graber bi-fold shutters, deep-set windowsDeep-Set Windows – While usually found in historic buildings of solid masonry (stone or brick), these can also be found in some modern buildings and in basements. You can treat deep-set windows with drapes, sheers, shutters, decorative panels, blinds (horizontal, cellular, or vertical), shades and valances.  The main difference may be in the hardware you need to use: a tension or side-mount rod for drapes and valances, and top or side-mounting headers for blinds and shades.  Like other windows, you can combine treatments or only treat 1/3 to 2/3 of the window height, based on your privacy/sun issues.

Graber drapery rod for bay windowsBays, Seats and Alcoves – Many historic buildings – and even some modern ones – have bay windows, alcoves, window seats, and tower rooms that aren’t quite rooms.  We often use these nooks as retreats, benefitting from a drapery or other treatment to provide privacy from the rest of the room.  To achieve this, install a drape or sheer to the window side of the interior wall, the room side of the interior wall, or on a rod installed between the jams of the opening using side-mounted hardware.  Options for treating the windows themselves include shutters, blinds, shades, decorative panels, window film, sheers and drapes.  Curved and angled rods are custom fit to the space and can be mounted on the wall or ceiling.  This is especially useful for full coverage of banks of windows in these spaces, to reduce heat loss/gain.

Graber shades for wall of windowsWalls of Windows – The best of both worlds: enjoying a wide-open view of the outdoors while comfortably inside a heated or air-conditioned building.  These window walls make spaces feel so much larger and more welcoming, but how to achieve privacy and light control when needed can be a challenge.  The solutions really come down to what type of hardware you use, because there is often no wall surface above the windows to mount the window treatment to.  Many of the options – blinds, shades, shutters, drapes and sliding panels – can be installed with ceiling mounted hardware.  Make sure you can “stack” your treatment back beyond the window opening, or can raise/lower them fully (in the case of blinds) to restore your view when you want to.  If the view isn’t all that great, but you love the light, consider using decorative panels mounted to the window or ceiling and floor.  Window film can also be a good solution, used on some or all of the window panels, or on the lower portion of all the windows.

Graber custom shutters on angled windowsAngled Windows – Many buildings in the Modern styles have “slanted” or angled-top windows that follow the roof line.  Like round windows, these can be really challenging.  Blinds and shutters are your best solution and can be custom-made to match the window’s angle.  Drapery panels can also be cut to fit the angle, but will not be operable.  Instead, install them as stationary panels using pegs or medallions at regular intervals, giving the drape its pleat or gather.   Your window treatment can also be dropped (on tall units) to the bottom of the angle, leaving the top portion untreated.  Valances and cornices are also an option for the tops of these windows.

The solutions we’ve offered here are certainly not the only ones available for each situation.  Talk to a designer to find the right solution for your challenging windows.