After-market window film could cause seal failure

After-market window film could cause seal failure

"My front windows face southwest. I have no shade trees in the front yard, so I'm expecting my front rooms to get hot this summer. I plan to replace the windows but am getting conflicting advice. Should I get low-e (low-emissivity) glass and rely on it to block infrared heat waves, or get clear glass and have an infrared-reflective film applied? Which will give me the best results?" — Angie's List member Roger Linville

"The best bet the glass industry has come up with is LoE-366," according to Grant Neiss, president of  highly rated Signature Window Replacement in Seattle.

"It's a product with three layers of silver injected into glass to work as a heat reflective coating, controlling solar heat gain and protecting against radiant heat." Although the product comes tinted darker than clear glass, it blends in enough for residential use.

After-market window film, on the other hand, may possibly trigger window seal failure on insulated units, Neiss says, because it causes the air inside the panes of glass to contract and expand more than it would usually.

With Linville's wall facing southwest, sunlight will always be a problem. However, Neiss says, if he opts to install LoE3 windows and plants tall trees outside, it should help reflect the heat.

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"Window replacement fan"


It looks like your getting a lot of advice still in all directions. Chances are you are just going to have to try either the try the low-e glass or the film, and decide for yourself which one you prefer. That's what I would do in your situation with two good options. Jeremy Dobbins also has a good suggestion that no matter what you decide to do make sure you are getting expert help doing it.

window tinting


Low-E glass is no where close to being as effective as window films. Thousands upon thousands of homes and buildings have window film installed on to already existing Low-E dual pane windows. They do this because after being sold by the window company on all the amazing benefits Low-E dual pane windows provide after a year or two they realize the poor performance. Low-E dual pane windows excel at two things, reducing exterior sound and keeping the heat in. Window film has primarily been designed to reduce hear, fading and glare but now high performance Low-E window films are being released that far out preform Low-E dual pane windows in performance and costs.

Replacing your windows with new Low-E dual pane windows is a very long term investment, 10 - 15 years minimum return on investment. Not to mention the amount of energy and resources needed to manufacture the new windows (side subject).

If you want to see the future of window films check out Vista window film's new Energlogic series!

Window Replacement


I agree, the low e glass is really effective and much more reliable when it comes to window replacement than adding a covering or film after the windows have been installed.

Jeremy Dobbins


I would highly suggest staying away from any kind of window film sold at Home Depot. If your concerned about seal failures or thermal cracks that is the fast track to having a problem. Usually there is a minimal or no warranty at all and they are usually poorly manufactured. If you are serious go for a higher quality product, for a residential installation it should come with no less than a lifetime warranty on the film itself and 60 month thermal crack breakage and 36 month seal failure warranty and it should be backed by the manufacture.

John Sprung


New windows and reflective film are two very different price options, tens of thousands vs. a few hundred dollars to do the whole house. The film is a whole lot better than nothing, but nowhere near as good as new windows. It's worth doing if you need to get through another summer or more before you do the big ticket job. I used the highest rated Home Depot film in our office, it's surprising how well it works.

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