Nothing fills a room with warmth and light like windows, soaking your inside space with the beautiful glow of the sun.
However, that sunlight also has a dark side; its UV rays damaging your homes furnishings like carpets, furniture and window treatments. The sun’s UV rays can interact with the dyes in the furniture or carpet’s fabric, or the stains in the hardwood floor, making them lighter, leading to the faded look you’re trying to avoid.
Even on cloudy days, the damaging UV rays are still doing their destructive work on your sofa, your flooring, etc., causing fading, discoloration and fabric damage.
You can use drapes or blinds to help block out the sun, but then you miss out on all the natural light streaming through your windows.
So what is a homeowner to do?
Window films just might be your very best solution in dealing with sun and light issues in your home. Films installed on window glass can provide a protective layer that blocks up to 80 percent of the sun’s heat, according to the International Window Film Association.
In addition to blocking UV rays, many window films will also deflect up to 60 percent of the sun’s heat from coming through your windows, ultimately leading to lower energy bills.
Like anything else, there are pros and cons to using window film, such as:
• Window film can cut utility costs by 3 to 40 percent and at $6 to $14 per square foot; it’s much cheaper than replacing windows.
• Solar films block 99 percent of UV light that fades furniture, and with better technology than ever before it does this without looking reflective or dark.
• Window films add security, slowing down break-ins and holding glass shards together if the window shatters.
• Some state and utility programs offer rebates for using window films. In Michigan, a Commercial Incentive Program offers 25 cents per square foot for high performance window film.
• While mainly a retrofit product, some films can make a low-cost new window as efficient as a low-E, triple pane unit.
• Some window manufactures void their window warranty with the use of window films; however, several film manufacturers offer to match it.
• Installation can be difficult around certain latches and frames, leaving glass looking bubbly.
TIP: Some window film brands are better than others are. Buyers should look for performance ratings by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The NFRC independently tests, certifies and labels window films for their energy efficiency.
SOURCES: Builder magazine,