If you are considering adding window film to your home and you are a do-it-yourselfer, we hope we can offer you some tips on how to install window film yourself.
Colorado Sun Control has been in business since 1973 and the business passed down from generations, so we have a lifetime of experience. As with most trades, a do-it-yourselfer is not going to be able to deliver the same quality as a professional. It doesn’t matter if it is installing tile, hardwood floors, a deck or entire wall, the professional seems to always do a better job. Part of that quality is having the products and tools that allow for a top-notch job. That doesn’t mean that the average homeowner couldn’t attempt it and end with a result that “will do”.
Mild soapy water in squirt bottle. Do not use dish detergent or cleaning solvent as the de-greasers can degrade the adhesive in the window film.
Handled Squeegee, one for cleaning, and one for installation.
Drop cloth and Paper towels
Scratch-free scrubber or triumph glass scraper
Exacto or Olfa utility knife and replacement blades
Hard card used as a trim guide
- Purchase the window film. The first challenge the do-it-yourself homeowner will encounter is acquiring the window tint product. The tint that is available in hardware stores is not the same window film a dealer is using. The window films that are made for automotive installations are different from films made for homes. Often, the films from hardware stores are a completely different composition and makeup and don’t meet the quality standards of a professional. So, buyer beware, the films available to the public will not have the performance, optical clarity or warranty coverage that the window film dealer has access to. While you may be saving money, you are getting an inferior product. For this reason alone, it is in your best interest educate yourself on the products available and to at least get a free quote from a pro.
- Cut the film to size. Once you have the window tint and are ready to start the installation, begin by measuring your windows from glass edge to glass edge from the inside. You will want the film cut down to about an inch to 2 inches larger than the glass to make it easier to handle on the window. Window film is basically a sticker, with one side having adhesives that are protected with a backing until it is time to install the window film. Roll the film up or keep it where it won’t get stepped on or damaged until you are ready to adhere it to the glass.
- Clean the glass. Professionals use specialty blades to clean glass which can be obtained from window cleaning supply distributers. Homeowners can use a 1.5 inch razor blade to clean off residue, paint or varnish if necessary. Use extreme caution, razor blades will scratch your window. Otherwise, using a scratch-free scrubby on the glass will get it clean enough to install window film. Look the window over carefully for any imperfections that can be cleaned.
- Use a squeegee to wipe the glass dry. Never use towels, paper towel, newspaper or anything else that leaves lint or residue as it will get caught under the film and be there forever. Use a lint free towel or Bounty™ paper towels to dry the edges of the glass.
- Wet the window again, being sure to spray from the inside of the window to the edges in a way that keeps the water from pulling dirt from the window seals. Cover the window surface completely with water keeping in mind too much water will suck dirt into the film.
- Remove the backing from the film. There are several ways of doing this. Easiest is to have someone carefully pull the backing off while you hold the film. Lightly spraying the film while the backing is being pulled away will reduce the static (which attracts unslightly dirt to your film) and help it to adhere to the glass.
- Touch the top of the film to the top of the glass. It is best to use factory edges on the top to prevent the need to cut and dirt seepage into the film. Just holding the film to the glass at the top is enough for the film to gently fall onto the glass without too many air bubbles. If there are big air bubbles, push them out from under the film using your hand.
- Use a hard squeegee to stick a small part of the film near the top to the glass to hold it in place. Make sure the film won’t slide around so that you can trim it.
- Use the hard card as a guide between the window frame and a utility blade to trim the sides and bottom. Be careful not to kink the film in the corners or pull the film off the glass on the edges as it will cause bubbles to appear and/or visible residue.
- Once excess is trimmed, making sure the film is wet to provide a slick surface, pushing fairly hard use the rigid squeegee to push water out from under the film. Use a “T” motion to squeegee the top first, then down the middle. Finish by working on either side of the middle pushing water from the middle of the window to the edge. This puts even pressure on all the film so that it is installed without tension on any part of the film that could cause bubbles on the edges.
- Cover the squeegee with paper towel and bump around the edges of the window to absorb excess water. Any water left around the edges can get pulled underneath the film causing bubbles and dirty residue, so you want to get rid of it.
- Visually inspect your window and push out any leftover water to the edge. There should be no air left under the film and you should not be able to see any water. You might need to repeat the squeegee step and check back on the film to clean up any lifting that occurs on the edges.
- Watch these fast motion videos to see the professionals doing an actual installation.
In order to get professional results for perfect installation, you should call a professional. However, with the right tools, some patients and a steady hand with attention to detail, you can install window film yourself. If you attempt to do this project yourself, it might be a good idea to start small. Only buy enough film to tint one window and give it a try. If you are not happy with the results, you will not have made a huge investment and can be confident in your decision to hire this job out to the pros.
Call Colorado Sun Control at 719-473-0119 to set up your no-obligation, in-home estimate. We offer a satisfaction guarantee, our film comes with a limited lifetime warranty and we can complete the job fast.