In short, yes. Double-pane windows, insulated glass (IG), otherwise known as dual-pane glass, can have window film applied in both commercial and residential installations.
A double-pane glass structure requires an inspection before applying window film. Insulated glass is produced in several variations, so applying film can be tricky and even dangerous if installed on the wrong panel.
What is the best film to reduce heat?
There isn’t a fix-all window film for the best heat rejection; you must consider a few things before applying window film for heat rejection, especially when you are using film on a dual-pane or insulated glass unit.
The best window film to reduce heat is based on lighting requirements (set by the client) as well as some critical variables that need to be understood before choosing a film.
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Here are the variables to understand before applying window film:
What type of glass do you have?
- Tempered Glass or strengthened glass is made by extreme heating and rapid cooling of the glass; tempered glass is generally much harder and more robust than standard glass. A great benefit of tempered glass is the ability to stand up to moderate heat (470°F).
- Annealed Glass, often is referred to as standard glass is softer glass that has been thermally treated and then slowly cools to relieve internal stresses. Annealed glass tends to break into longer larger chucks and is often jagged and sharp, which can cause significant injury. Annealed glass is generally used when strength or safety are not concerns, but the cost is.
- Laminated Safety Glass is the ultimate standard in terms of safety. Laminated safety glass is made by gluing two pieces of annealed glass together with a vinyl internal layer. The vinyl layer holds each glass panel together if the glass is broken or impaled. Laminated glass can be made with two tempered glass panes as well.
Are you windows double-pane or single-pane?
- Dual-pane windows – Double pane windows are two panes of glass separated with a spacing material. The spacer typically includes material designed to absorb moister. In between these double pane glass is an air pocket filled inert gases. Argon is usually used, but sometimes it’s even “dry air,” these gases enhance the thermal efficiency and performance of the glass unit. Overall, this means less heat can enter and exit, meaning a cooler or warmer home or office, without the excessive use of air conditioning. Besides the space in between the panes, the inclusion of low conduction materials (Low-E) also helps.
- Single-pane windows are cheaper and don’t perform as well as double pane windows. Single pane windows are often a great candidate for window film as you can improve their performance dramatically by applying window film.
Do your windows have a low-E Coating?
- The picture below (Dual-pane glass structure image) represents how dual-pane glass is inspected. There are four surface areas, and 3 of the four may have a low-E coating pre-applied during the manufacturing of the unit.
- Surface one is never applied with a low e coating.
- Surface two is the most common surface applied with low emissivity coating
- Surface three is the second most popular surface to have a low e coating.
- Surface four is the least popular surface low E coatings are applied during the manufacturing process. Window films typically installed on surface four and low-E window films are also be applied to this surface when non exists, or performance needs to be improved.
How Does Low-E Glass work, and should I be worried about applying film?
Low-E Glass windows work the same as window film by reflecting and absorbing the sun’s energy. Its important to not apply window film on the same panel as low-E coatings as it can overheat, causing seal failure and breakage.
Window film Manufactures disclaimer on glass breakage & seal failure.
The following is a general guideline of what window film manufacturers list as a disclaimer to void warranty or liability if a window film dealer applies window tint to the wrong glass type.
- Textured, wired or skylight glass
- Any glass with more than one window tint applied
- Any window where light can be seen between the glass and the framing system
- Any plastic or polycarbonates
- Quadruple pane insulated glass (IG) units
- Suspended film insulated glass (IG) units
- Glass with paint, lettering, vinyl graphics or other ornamentation
- Any single pane with partial film installation where film must be installed edge to edge
- chipped, Damaged, scratched or cracked glass
- Glass with concrete framing
- Glass with metal framing that has no gaskets or seals
- Glass with framing sealant or gaskets that are no longer resilient
- Broken glass or insulated glass (IG) unit/s with seal failure before film installation
- Any commercial or residential building that has a history of glass breakage and/or seal failure problems
- Any film applied to spandrel glass
Window tint- glass checklist
The checklist provided to dealers in order to prevent breakage or seal failure
Film-to-glass Manufacturers Guidelines
Each manufacturer has its film-to-glass checklist. These film-to-glass checklists are designed to inform their dealers of what films are to be used when the glass unit is identified.
During a consultation, window film dealers are asked by manufacturers to inspect the glass for the conditions mentioned above.
If a window film dealer fails to identify the glass accurately, the warranty extended by the window film manufacturer is null, and void caused by the lack due diligence by the dealer. Unknowing or uninformed clients are often left in the wind if something like glass breakage occurs.
In conclusion, window film can be applied to dual pane windows. It is essential to consider the precautions mentioned above and thoroughly inspect the glass to mitigate the level of risk when using window film on dual pane units, especially those with low-E coatings.
When considering the financials, window film is often the best choice as it is the best bang for your buck in terms of performance as well as cost.
If you have any questions that pertain to dual pane windows and the application of window film, consider reaching out and talking to our friendly staff.