FAQ & Myths


Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question below to read the full answer.

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

Will my furniture fade be reduced?


Furniture/fabric 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 caused by

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

Will my energy costs decrease?


The amount of money saved depends upon the type of film chosen and certain property-specific variables (use, location, climate, existing energy costs, HVAC system, etc.). Window film is designed to reduce an existing window’s Solar Heat Gain Coefficient and U value, which helps to reduce

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

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

Is DI-NOC like contact paper?


No, DI-NOC is far more durable, versatile, and realistic than contact paper. First, the film is 8.3 mils (.0083”) thick, making it thicker and more durable than contact paper. Furthermore, many DI-NOC profiles are rated for exterior use. Second, because DI-NOC is stretchable, it can

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,

What colors are available in 3M’s Vinyl Wrap Film Series 2080?


There are more than 100 different patterns/colors, broken down into various categories, in the 3M Vinyl Wrap Film Series 2080 line. These categories are: Gloss, Satin, Matte, Textures, Color Flips, and Chrome. GlossThe patterns in this category are shiny and feature most every color (blacks,

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

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! They are complementary to each other. 3M Scotchgard Paint Protection Film (PPF) is clear-coated, meaning the top surface of the film is just like your paint. For the most part, anything

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

Where can I find CSI-formatted window film specifications?


On our website! Just go to our specifications page, where you will find CSI-formatted specs, technical datasheets, and other product information.  We love working with the Architecture & Design Community. We’re happy to make specifications available online. In fact, we have spent a great deal

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

Will ceramic coating prevent rock chips?


No, a ceramic coating will not prevent rock chips. It’s designed to increase the ease of cleaning and caring for your car’s paint. A ceramic coating, such as 3M Ceramic Coating, is designed to increase the slipperiness of your car’s paint. In so doing, it

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

Does paint protection film change the appearance of my car’s matte paint?


Yes, standard high gloss PPF 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 option on more and more cars. Matte

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

Can I install 3M Paint Protection Film myself?


3M Paint Protection Film is designed to be installed by a 3M certified installer. A simple internet search will lead a motorist to any number of websites where a pre-cut PPF kit for a vehicle’s specific year, make, model, and trim level can be purchased.

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

How do I clean the filmed surface after installation?


Window films may be washed 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 solution.

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 resistance than standard PET films. It was …

Ceramic Coating has a 9H hardness and can protect a car’s paint.


True! Despite industry claims, a ceramic coating is not a 9H protective barrier and cannot protect a car’s paint from road hash and debris the way paint protection film can. A ceramic coating is a measurable layer of silicone, siloxane, or other chemistry providing a clear protective layer on a variety …

Paint Protection Film yellows.


Today’s reputable paint protection films are designed to not turn yellow. 3M is so confident that its film will not yellow that it has a ten (10) year warranty that protects against yellowing. Urethane can yellow over time. And older paint protection films were notorious for that. They were also …

Ceramic Coating prevents rock chips.


False! 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. To protect your car’s paint from chipping, try 3M Paint Protection Film (PPF). A ceramic coating, such as 3M Ceramic Coating, is designed to …

Window film is no substitute for window replacement.


True and false. 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, and that’s where window film presents itself as a wonderful solution. Improved performance is measured by reducing a window’s Solar …

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 bulletproof. In fact, it is often …

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 be installed on Low-E glass. Low-E …

Window film is only for southern climates.


False! The sun shines even in northern climates, so why not help mitigate it? Buildings in northern climates have a cooling season, too, even if shorter than the cooling season of southern climates. It is true that most of the window film installed in the United States is in the sunbelt. …

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 during the winter than it is …

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 not need window film as …

Window film is easily scratched and damaged.


False! 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 just like anything else, they can be damaged. If someone is determined to scratch …

Window film causes heating costs to rise.


True, under certain circumstances. Standard sun control films that only impact a window’s SHGC will reduce the winter sun’s solar heat gain and cause heating costs to rise. A building often relies on the sun’s solar heat gain for heat during the winter. The installation of a tinted window film will …

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 to date. When recommended films are applied …

Window film causes glass to crack 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 temperature) all contribute to the …

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.