How to Apply Window Film

 

Window films are applied directly to the inside glass surface. Applying window film is a simple process, with only a few basic steps. However, patience and preparation are very important. Before beginning this project, please read the instructions completely and carefully. Many first-time users feel more confident after tinting a few, small windows. Start with smaller windows before applying film to larger windows, such as patio doors, which may require two people. There are also many window tinting tutorials on YouTube for anyone that would prefer to see the process in action.

Overview

  1. Measure the window & rough cut the film from the roll

  2. Completely clean the window glass and frame with soap solution

  3. Thoroughly wet glass with soap solution

  4. Remove film backing from adhesive side and set the film on the glass

  5. Mist the backside of the film with soap solution

  6. Squeegee film to glass stopping 1-2 inches from frame. Do not bump the frame

  7. Trim film to finished size with utility knife

  8. Mist the back of the film and squeegee again bumping the window frame

  9. Wrap the hard card in a lint free cloth. Use as a squeegee bumping the frame to force out water

  10. Mist the installed film and squeegee clean with rubber edge squeegee

Suggested Tools

 

  • Tape Measure

  • Sharp utility knife with break off blades

  • Firm blade squeegee

  • Rubber blade squeegee

  • Razor blade scraper

  • Hard card (or credit card) for finishing touches such as edges and corners.

  • Spray bottle with soap solution (use Johnsons baby shampoo mixed 20 ml per 1 litre water)

  • Microfiber or lint free cloth

Free tool hire is available with all purchases from TintDirect. We just ask that you pay for shipping and a deposit which is fully refunded when the tools are returned.

Detailed Instructions

Step 1: Measure the window & rough cut the film from the roll

Measure the dimensions of your window carefully before cutting the film. Film may be applied from side to side, or top to bottom. Cut the film from the roll using the measurement that best limits waste. Add a 1-2 inch overlap to the width and length dimensions of the window and cut the film from the roll on a clean, flat surface.



Step 2: Completely clean the window glass and frame with soap solution

Start by spraying the window with the soap solution. Use a lint free cloth or scratch resistant scrub pad to wash the window and frame. Rewet the glass and wipe clean with a rubber edge squeegee. Wet the window then scrape with a razor blade scraper to remove any caked dirt or paint. Wet the window again then squeegee off the water. Wipe off any dirt from the window gasket and frame. Repeat process until the glass and frame are perfectly clean.



Step 3: Thoroughly wet glass with soap solution

Thoroughly spray soap and water solution onto the inside surface of the window until it runs down the glass. If the window becomes dry, soak it again before applying film.



Step 4: Remove film backing from adhesive side and set the film on the glass

You can remove the film backing by attaching two pieces of sellotape to the film. One on the front and the other on the back surfaces of the film so that about 1" of tape is on the film and 3 to 4 inches of tape are hanging over the corner of the film. Press the tape together then quickly peel apart to begin separating the backing from the adhesive side of the film. Be careful not to crease the film while removing the backing. Handle the film with wet hands to avoid leaving fingerprints on the adhesive. As you peel the backing away spray the soap and water onto the exposed adhesive. This helps reduce static cling, makes the backing separate easier and limits contamination. Do not let the film touch itself. It can stick together and ruin the piece of film. Removing the backing from a large piece can require two people. With this method one person faces the window and holds the film up off the floor. The second faces the backing side of the film and separates a corner of the liner from the film. Spray the soap and water on the exposed corner and slide your finger along the top edge of the film to release the backing across the top. Peel the backing down toward the floor smoothly and evenly. After completely removing the backing and fully wet the adhesive side of the film. Rewet the glass and place the film on the wet window. Handle the film carefully at the corners to avoid wrinkles or creases. Start at the top of the window allowing the film to gently lie down on the glass. Use your hands to position and smooth the film onto the glass. Be sure the window is suitably wet; better too wet than not wet enough. When the window and film are wet enough you can slide the film around to correctly position it.

Step 5: Mist the backside of the film with soap solution

Spray the entire surface of the film facing you with the soap solution. This will allow the squeegee to slide easily across the film surface.

Step 6: Squeegee film to glass stopping 1-2 inches from frame. Do not bump the frame

Using your installation squeegee begin forcing the water and air out from under the film. Start with one firm stroke from about the middle of the window and squeegee up stopping short of the top frame. Squeegee from top-middle to the left two or three overlapping strokes, then from the top-middle to right in the same manner stopping short of the frame. Squeegee from the center down stopping short of the bottom frame. Squeegee the rest of the film in the same manner working your way downward and leaving a 2" perimeter area. If you need to remove large air pockets, rewet the top of the film and squeegee again. If the squeegee drags, spray more soap and water solution on the film. Always wet film with the soap and water before you squeegee. This allows the squeegee to slide smoothly across the film. Remove bubbles by pushing them with the squeegee to the nearest film edge.

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Step 7: Trim film to finished size with utility knife

Use your knife to trim the film around the frame. Make sure the blade is sharp. For novice installers a credit card makes a good guide for the knife. To use this method start in a corner with the credit card and knife. Pull the knife to about mid-point on the card then drag the card and knife together to the opposite corner pulling the knife too the end of the card to finish the cut.  This method leaves a nice 1mm gap between the film and frame that allows the water and air to be forced out from beneath the film. A gap between the film and frame is essential for proper installation. If the film is in contact with the frame it will not lay flat.



Step 8: Mist the back of the film and squeegee again bumping the window frame

After trimming, mist the entire surface of the film, squeegee it again in the same pattern as directed in Step 6. This time bump the frame. Press firmly to remove all the water. Start at the top of the window, squeegee from the center to the left, then from the center to the right. Repeat this process until you reach the bottom of the window. At the bottom squeegee down across the window from a few inches above the frame and bump the frame all the way across the bottom.



Step 9: Wrap the hard card in a lint free cloth. Use as a squeegee bumping the frame to force out water

Wrap the credit card with a lint free cloth and pass it over the film in a similar pattern as the squeegee to force out and absorb any remaining water. Bump the edges. When you bump the edges rest the cloth on the frame edge for a second or two so that it can pick up any water that has been pushed out.



Step 10: Mist the installed film and squeegee clean with rubber edge squeegee

Mist the window and squeegee with the rubber edge squeegee. Carefully dry the frame with a cloth and your installation is complete.

 

Note: You may notice some cloudiness as the film cures. Over time the film's adhesive will cure and the cloudiness will clear. Depending on weather conditions allow 30-45 days for the adhesive to fully cure to the glass. Once fully cured then you can clean and maintain the windows as usual. Soap and water with a squeegee are best for cleaning windows and film. You may use household strength cleaners. Do not use abrasives or ammonia based cleaners.