FAQ & Myths


Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question below to read the full answer.

Can I apply 3M Ceramic Coating on top of 3M Paint Protection Film?


Absolutely! You can apply 3M Ceramic Coating on top of 3M Paint Protection Film (PPF). They are two distinct automotive solutions yet complement each other. 3M PPF is a nearly invisible urethane and stretchable film that is applied to the painted surfaces of your car...
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What colors are available in 3M’s Vinyl Wrap Film Series 2080?


3M’s Vinyl Wrap Film Series 2080 allows a motorist to personalize his or her car by changing its color or adding accents such as hood, roof, and trunk stripes. There are more than 100 different colors, broken down into various categories, in the 3M’s 2080...
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Does paint protection film change the appearance of my car’s matte paint?


Yes, a standard high gloss PPF such as 3M’s Pro Series Gloss certainly does. However, if your car has matte paint, use 3M’s Matte Series Paint Protection Film to preserve the matte satin finish that came from the factory. Matte paint is becoming a factory...
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What is the life expectancy of window film?


Different films have different life expectancies and life expectancy is dependent upon multiple variables (climate, exposure to sun, film, installation location, etc). Insulating / Sun Control Window FilmsInterior-applied insulating and sun control window films last longer than exterior-applied films as they are not subject to...
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Will a ceramic coating prevent rock chips?


No, a ceramic coating will not prevent rock chips. And beware of competitive claims referencing 9H hardness to the contrary. A ceramic coating is designed to increase the ease of cleaning and caring for your car’s paint. It is not designed to protect your car’s...
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Do thicker security films provide more tear resistance than thinner security films?


Not necessarily. The 3M understanding that thickness is no substitute for technology was the motivation behind the development and production of 3M’s ULTRA Safety & Security Window Films. Mil (.001”) for mil (.001”), 3M’s ULTRA Safety & Security Films provide greater tear resistance than standard...
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What will architectural window film look like after installation?


3M Window Films are available in a variety of tints, ranging from optically clear to highly tinted. Depending upon preference and desired look, your 3M Authorized Window Film Dealer can help you determine which film will best meet your needs. To find a dealer nearest...
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Does ceramic coating have a 9H hardness?


No. Despite industry claims, a ceramic coating is not a 9H protective barrier in and of itself to a car’s paint that can prevent paint damage. A ceramic coating is a measurable layer of silicone, siloxane, or other chemistry providing a clear protective layer on...
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Where can I find CSI-formatted window film specifications?


On our website! Just go to our specifications page, where you will find CSI-formatted window film specifications, technical datasheets, and other product information for 3M Window Films, 3M Glass Finishes (Fasara, Dusted/Frosted Crystal, Dichroic & DI-NOC for Glass), and 3M DI-NOC Architectural …...
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Will my energy costs decrease?


The amount of money saved depends on the type of film chosen and certain property-specific variables (building use, location, climate, existing energy costs, HVAC system, glass-to-wall ratio, etc). Sun Control Window Films are designed to reduce an existing window’s Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) while...
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Can I install 3M Insulating / Sun Control and Safety & Security Window Films myself?


3M Insulating / Sun Control and Safety & Security Films are professionally installed by 3M’s window film dealer network and are not available to the DIY market. There are multiple reasons why these films must be professionally installed and are not available to the DIY...
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Is DI-NOC like contact paper?


At first glance, 3M DI-NOC Architectural Finishes may look like contact paper to the untrained eye. Both are sold as rolled goods. Both have a decorative face. And both have an adhesive side. But that is where the similarities end. DI-NOC has more variety and is far...
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What is architectural window film made of?


3M Insulating / Sun Control, Safety & Security, Fasara Glass Finishes, and Dichroic Glass Finishes are made of polyester. 3M Dusted and Frosted Crystals are made of vinyl. Polyester is the skeleton of most window films. When you hold a piece in your hand, you’re...
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How do I clean the filmed surface after installation?


You can clean 3M window films with common washing solutions (including ammonia-based products) thirty (30) days after installation. Abrasive cleaning agents and bristle brushes that would scratch the film cannot be used. Synthetic sponges, squeegees, or soft cloths are recommended in addition to the cleaning...
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Do you install window film on the inside or outside of a building?


The overwhelming majority of window film is installed on the inside of a window, although it can be installed on the outside. There are pros and cons to each type and it depends on the product and situation. Most installations are interior-applied for a few...
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Can you apply window film to Plexiglas®?


It depends. 3M Insulating / Sun Control and Safety & Security Window Films cannot be installed on Plexiglas® while some 3M Glass Finishes can. 3M Insulating / Sun Control and Safety & Security Window Films are designed for glass. As such, the adhesive used on...
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Can you apply window film to tinted / Low-E glass?


Yes! But it depends on what surface of the window the Low-E coating is. If the Low-E coating is on the #2 surface of a single pane unit, or #4 surface of a double pane unit, window film will negate the coating. Otherwise, window film...
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Will my furniture fade be reduced?


Fabric or furniture fade is caused by multiple factors, according to the International Window Film Association. 10% of fading is caused by miscellaneous factors (i.e., fabric color, material, etc.). 25% is caused by heat. 25% is caused by visible light. And the remaining 40% is...
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Can I install 3M Paint Protection Film myself?


3M Paint Protection Film (PPF) is designed to be installed by a 3M certified professional installer. A simple internet search will lead a motorist to any number of websites where a pre-cut paint protection film kit for a vehicle’s specific year, make, model, and trim...
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What is the procedure to install window film?


Although the window film installation process is non-disruptive and non-evasive, it should be performed by a certified professional installer. Here is a summary of the various steps to install most films. But please note that different films may require different steps. Step 1 – Prepare...
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How is 3M window film warrantied?


3M Company has one of the industry’s most comprehensive warranties*. The terms and conditions depend on the film and application. A warranty is only as strong as the manufacturer providing it. 3M has a long history dating back to 1902. It is a global manufacturer,...
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Myths About Our Products

There are many common myths about our automotive and architectural products. Below, learn which myths are true and which are false.

Thicker security films provide more tear resistance than thinner security films.


That is not necessarily true. The 3M understanding that thickness is no substitute for technology was the motivation behind the development and production of 3M’s ULTRA Safety & Security Window Films. Mil (.001”) for mil (.001”), 3M’s ULTRA Safety & Security Films provide greater tear...
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Ceramic Coating has a 9H hardness and can protect a car’s paint.


Despite industry claims, a ceramic coating is not a 9H protective barrier and cannot protect a car’s paint from road rash and debris the way paint protection film can. A ceramic coating is a measurable layer of silicone, siloxane, or other chemistry providing a clear...
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Paint Protection Film yellows.


Today’s reputable paint protection films (PPF) are designed not to turn yellow. 3M is so confident that its Pro Series Paint Protection Film will not yellow that it has a ten (10) year warranty that protects against yellowing. It’s no secret that urethane, the main component of...
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Ceramic Coating prevents rock chips.


False! Ceramic coating does not prevent rock chips. A ceramic coating is designed to increase the ease of cleaning and caring for your car’s paint. It is not designed to protect it, despite competitive claims to the contrary that reference 9H hardness. To protect your...
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Window film is no substitute for window replacement.


Partly true and partly false. Window film may or may not be a substitute for window replacement. Replacing an inefficient window with a new efficient unit is probably the best solution in terms of performance. However, replacement may not be practical, cost-effective, or structurally feasible,...
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Window film is bulletproof.


False! There is no window film that is bulletproof. Window film is often installed on bulletproof glass to minimize the spall that results from a bullet hitting the glass. But the film itself is not bulletproof. It is a common misconception that window film is...
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Window film cannot be used on Low-E glass.


False! But it depends on what surface of the window the Low-E coating is. If the Low-E coating is on the #2 surface of a single pane unit or #4 surface of a double-pane unit, window film will negate the coating. Otherwise, window film can...
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Window film is only for southern climates.


False! Window film is not only for southern climates. The sun shines even in northern climates, so why not help mitigate it effects? Buildings in northern climates have a cooling season, too, even if shorter than the cooling season of southern climates. Furthermore, buildings up...
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Window film is only for single pane glass.


False! Window film is for any single or double pane window unit that needs greater efficiency and where thermal stress is not an issue. Generically speaking, double pane units are more energy efficient than their single pane counterparts. However, the difference in efficiency is greater...
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Window film is only for old buildings.


False! Window film is not just for old buildings, just like it’s not just for old windows. Window film can reduce the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) and U-Value of any type of glass, whether new or old. An older, yet highly efficient building may...
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Window film is easily scratched and damaged.


False! Window film is not easily scratched and damaged. A premium window film has a sophisticated scratch-resistant coating that increases a film’s resistance to normal wear and tear. 3M Window Films are sophisticated products that are durable and can withstand the test of time. But...
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Window film causes heating costs to rise.


Under certain circumstances, window film can cause heating costs to rise. Standard sun control films that impact only a window’s SHGC will reduce the winter sun’s solar heat gain and cause heating costs to rise for those buildings that do not cool 12 months out...
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Window film causes seal failure.


False! According to 3M Company, which holds the original patent to window film dating back to 1966, film does not cause seal failure: “We’ve been applying 3M Window Films to insulated windows for over 40 years, having seen several millions of square feet of film applied...
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Window film causes glass breakage due to thermal stress.


Not necessarily. Window films will increase the temperature of your sunlit glass, which will in turn increase the stress on the glass’ edges. The quality of the glass edge and several other factors (external shading, interior shading, glass history, type of film, size/shape of glass, indoor/outdoor...
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Window film is dark and reflective


False! Window film can be dark and reflective. But it can also be virtually clear and colorless. Advancements in technology have allowed manufacturers to make nearly invisible films just as effective as dark and reflective films....
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