Volume 33, Number 3, March 1998


Window Film: A Growth Business For Glass Retailers

The broad range of sophisticated window films on the market today has created a strong new business opportunity for everyone involved in the sales and servicing of glass. Many automotive, plate and window glass retailers from the largest to the smallest have become involved in selling and installing window film as an add-on to their glass business. Others have subcontracted the service to window film manufacturers’ authorized dealers.

For example, David and Lois Thompson, proprietors of Dalo Glass in St Louis, MO, started their business exclusively as glass specialists, dealing in the sale and repair of residential, commercial and auto glass. They explained, "As we grew we added window filming as a service for flat glass and later, tinting for auto glass. Today, nearly one-third of our business is in film and all of this is add-on business!"

As the use of glass as a construction material in homes and commercial buildings increases and more cars, vans and trucks come onto the roads, consumers and businesses increasingly need a means of controlling the transmission of heat, light, and harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays through glass. In response to this need, the window film industry has developed a range of products that are practically "tailor-made" to meet any specific requirement.

Solar control window film should not be confused with automotive black tinting film of the past. Today’s sophisticated window film provides an efficient and economical solution to solar problems. The product is a high-tech laminate of polyester and metallized coatings bonded by distortion-free adhesives. It is designed to deal with the individual electromagnetic wavelengths of the sun’s energy in such a manner as to curb heat passing through glass, control light transmission and virtually eliminate UV radiation, the main cause of fading.

A range of films is available to meet the many variations in needs—aesthetics, energy savings, reduction of fading, glare and hot spots, anti-fragmentation, withstanding graffiti and skin protection—and the line continues to grow as more sophisticated technologies come into being.

The proper installation of window film is critically important to aesthetics and longevity, which is why we market our films through highly-trained retailers who are responsible for installation. Retailers are also trained to match the choice of film to a specific challenge. The employees of new retailers receive an intensive training course through our distributor system.

In today’s marketplace, window filming can be an integral part of the glass retailer’s services, whether performed by the retailer or subcontracted. A consumer naturally turns to the glass dealer when seeking a solution to a problem with fading or glare in the home. Window filming is a business opportunity for the glass retailer just waiting to be tapped.


Virginia L. Kubler is the director of sales and marketing for Courtaulds Performance Films, Inc., Martinsville, VA, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of window films.


Newest Window Films Address Multiple Demands

Two new solar control window films from Courtaulds to recently enter the market demonstrate the innovation that has led and today characterizes the industry: Vista SpectraSelect™, a high-performance spectrally selective flat glass film that provides the best balance in properties between light transmission, heat rejection and fade control, and Llumar UVShield™, an auto film designed to offer protection from UV radiation, while maintaining high visible light transmission.

The term spectrally selective refers to a film’s ability to allow light to shine through glass, while rejecting heat and fade-causing UV rays. UV light is the primary cause of fading of interior floors, carpets, furnishings and artifacts, with light and heat playing a significant secondary role. Accordingly, the engineering of the ideal solar control film calls for a delicate balance between light transmission and heat rejection. Too much light entering an interior will create unacceptable fading and eye discomfort, while a substantial reduction in light will create a dismal environment.

Vista SpectraSelect™ allows 58 percent of light to pass through windows while rejecting virtually all UV light (99 percent) and reducing heat by more than half (58 percent). The new film keeps interiors cooler in summer heat and also insulates interior heat in winter by as much as 15 percent. It is nearly invisible, virtually colorless film and will not change the appearance of the glass, unlike highly reflective films that can create a mirror-like surface externally in daylight and internally at night.

UVShield is a powerful, transparent auto film that helps protect occupants of vehicles from exposure to dangerous UV rays. Glass in vehicles—apart from the windshield, which is often partially tinted—is usually untreated and while it will reduce ultraviolet UVB rays, it will not block the deeper penetrating UVA rays. The UVA band of ultraviolet light has been linked by doctors to the development of melanoma cancer and other severe skin conditions, as well as premature aging of the skin. The new product is a micro-thin, lightweight film that is virtually invisible when fitted. It blocks out 99.9 percent of all UV rays that normally pass through auto glass. Because it is transparent, it does not affect visibility day or night. Llumar UVShield™ is the only film that meets the legal limitations for the installation of automotive window film in practically all 50 states. —VK


Copyright 1998 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.