The world of window film and architectural finishes is nuanced and complex. You may find these definitions useful as you navigate the industry.


Ambient is the surrounding or encompassing atmosphere.

Annealed Glass

Manufactured by pouring molten glass onto a bed of molten tin which is then cooled, annealed glass is the product that most people think of as "plate" glass. This flat glass product has little residual surface compression and must be handled with care to minimize thermal stress. Unlike tempered glass, annealed glass breaks into sharp shards when shattered. 3M Safety & Security Window Film can make annealed glass tempered by most local building codes.

Art / Opalescent / Cathedral Glass

Colored translucent glass, often called art glass, opalescent glass, cathedral glass or stained glass, is also produced by the rolling process, but generally in small, batch type operations. There are usually variegated colors within each sheet produced and no two sheets will match for hue. Thickness will vary within a sheet as well as from sheet to sheet. The maximum thickness produced is usually 1/8". When used as a glazing material, art glass should be glazed in the same manner as tinted / heat absorbing glass. Art glass cannot be tempered.

Attachment Systems

An attachment system is a chemical or mechanical restraint system that improves the performance of security window film during blasts, high winds, and smash-and-grab break-ins. 3M’s proprietary chemical attachment system is called 3M Impact Protection Adhesive.