How Do You Install Window Film on Home Windows?

Window FilmIf you know how to install window film on home windows, you have an inexpensive way to solve several problems inside your home. When direct sunlight enters through windows, the ultraviolet (UV) radiation can fade the fabric of carpets and upholstery, create hot spots in the room and cause glare. Window film will also help reduce the wear and tear on your heating and air conditioning systems by insulating the glass to prevent heat or cool air loss, according to How Stuff Works. When the room temperature remains more or less constant, the HVAC units don’t cycle on as often using less energy to maintain a comfortable temperature. This will reduce your electricity bill.

Different Types of Window Film

It is recommended to assess your home and needs before selecting a type of window film. You may not require all of the features available. The three main types of film are:

  • Static-cling Film – This type of film reduces glare. These are removable and can be used as temporary solutions. They prevent washout on computer and TV screens and block 99 percent of UV radiation. They may be used for one or two windows, but are not the solution if you are looking for year-round comfort and privacy.
  • Insulating Films – These films work in the winter and summer. In the summer they reflect the heat away from your home, and in the winter they keep the heat in. This is the type of window film that will reduce your energy bills.
  •  Privacy Films – These films also block 99 percent of UV radiation and allow light through while providing privacy with the mirrored finish on the outside.


Step One: The first step is to buy the film. To know how much to purchase or to select the right kit, you should measure the windows you intend to cover. Make a list of each window and the exact measurements, then add 15 percent to cover waste and scrap. It is best to apply the film in the early morning or late evening to avoid the hot daylight hours. Excessive heat will cause the solution that coats the glass and film to dry too quickly, which may cause streaks in the finished window.

Step Two: Next, clean each window with a solution of one teaspoon of baby shampoo added to one gallon of bottled water. These two items provide the correct pH for clarity. Do not use any cleaner that contains vinegar or ammonia to clean the windows before applying film. These products could damage the film.

Step Three: Select your first window and cut a piece of film that is one inch wider and longer than the window.

Step Four: Put the cleaning solution in a spray bottle and liberally spray the clean window. Your hands should also be soaking wet with the solution, so you won’t leave any fingerprints on the film.

Step Five: For this step you may need an assistant if the window is very large. Using two pieces of transparent tape, remove the backing from the film. When a strip is exposed that is about an inch wide, spray the film with the solution.

Step Six: Start placing the adhesive side of the film on the top of the window. Make sure the film is centered on the window and continue spraying with the solution. Use a squeegee to push any bubbles to within two inches of the edge of the window. Make sure the film is always wet, so the squeegee will slide over it easily.

Step Seven: Trim the film with a utility knife. You need to leave a sixteenth of an inch border on the edge next to the window frame. Keep the film wet and squeegee out the bubbles through the small border. Once the film is completely smooth, it can be gently blotted with an absorbent towel to remove excess water.

Step Eight: The film will begin to stick to the glass within 30 minutes. It will be fully cured in four to eight days.

Tips to Remember When Installing Window Film

  • Window film is very fragile and will hold a crease. Because of this, it’s important to handle it very carefully.
  • Using strong detergents for the solution may make the film cloudy when it’s dry.
  • Don’t install window film in direct sunlight or freezing weather.
  • Install the film on a vertical window. If the window is lying down, the film will mostly likely retain bubbles.
  • If you want to change the film or add another kind, it can be removed, but it cannot be reused.

Related Resource: How To Install Window Flashing

Now that you know how to install window film, you’ll add value to your home and give it more curb appeal..