Does Window Film Cause Seal Failure?

Interior Fade Protection

You may have heard that tinted window film causes seal failure on insulated windows. Seal failure can be obvious if you end up with hazy or foggy windows. Fortunately, you’ll be happy to learn that this is a myth. Find out the truth of what actually causes window seal failure.

Debunking the Myth of Window Film/ Seal Failure

Window film has never been proven to cause window seal failure. In fact, test results have shown that both residential and commercial units perform the same with or without window film. The only failure in testing came from a window manufacturing defect. While some window films aren’t intended for use on insulated windows, many on the market are. your window film installer will let you know which types to use on these windows.

The good news is that it’s been found that window seals fail at the same rate whether or not window film has been applied to them. You’re also additionally protected if you are your home’s original homeowner and your windows are still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.

What Protections Do You Have As a Homeowner Against Window Film/ Seal Failure?

For example, 3M automatically gives homeowners 40 months of seal failure protection from the installation date. But, that coverage doesn’t exceed any window manufacturer’s warranty. Past 40 months, but still within your window manufacturer warranty, you can buy an extended warranty. These warranties cost $0.50 per square foot and will cover the rest of your windows’ warranty. This small cost may well be worth your peace of mind and less of a financial headache later. Similar protections are available for commercial building owners.

What Actually Causes Window Seal Failure?

Since window film isn’t the cause of seal failure on insulated glass windows, what is the cause? The International Window Film Association produced a guide on the use of window film on insulated glass windows providing some answers to that question. First, you’ll need to know a little about how insulated glass windows work.

How Insulated Glass Window Seals Are Made

Both residential and commercial architects began using insulated glass windows back in the late 90’s. They are still widely used today for their energy saving benefits. Insulated glass windows are constructed with two or more panes of glass with air or a different gas trapped between each pane. These panes have spacers which contain a desiccant, or drying agent, such as calcium chloride. This desiccant is meant to absorb any moisture or gases that end up leaking into the seal. It also traps whatever moisture already exists in that space during the window fabrication. Then, a sealant seals both sides of the glass.

When Does a Window Seal Fail?

If too much moisture ends up migrating into the seal, the desiccant eventually loses the ability to absorb any more moisture. This causes the space between the panes to allow condensation to collect within the spaces between the panes. This will cause the windows to appear hazy or foggy. At this point, the insulation properties of the windows have become compromised.

Rest assured, using the correct window film on insulated glass windows in either residential or commercial buildings won’t cause window seal failure. It shouldn’t cause any issues with your window manufacturer warranties, either. If you do intend on using window film on your windows, though, check your windows’ manufacturer warranty details. See if they may void the warranty if you use window film. In that case, you may wish to choose a different manufacturer.

Call us today and schedule a complimentary consultation!  You may not be able to control the climate outdoors, but the pros at Home Window Tinting can help you control it indoors!