Looking for a way to prevent a quick smash and grab robbery? Or, want to beef up your window security to give yourself more time in case of a break-in when you’re home?
Whether you have sticker shock after getting a quote on window security film installation or you’re just a DIY kind of guy, I’ve put together a few tips to show you how to install security film on your windows.
Here's what we'll cover (the links will take you to each section):
How well does security film work?
When properly installed, a thick film can make a job that would normally take seconds require minutes, making it a great burglary deterrent. A thug will generally have to knock a hole in the film to unlock a window or door. If all you do it slap some film on a window and don’t adhere it to the edges of the window frame, it will barely help at all.
Jewelry stores would use a really thick film up to 8 mm to make it really tough to break through and also really tough to cut and install. A 4 mm film like this one on Amazon is easier to cut and install for residential use and still buys you more security than a bare piece of glass.
Should I install my window security film myself (DIY) or have it professionally installed?
The thicker the film is, the better it works and the tougher it is to cut and install perfectly. Since getting the film installed without any air underneath it can be pretty tricky, the experience of a professional can be pretty valuable. And lastly, a poorly done job sets you back on the cost of the security film and doesn’t make it any harder to get into your house.
With that said, if you're pretty handy then there's no reason you can't get it right using the tips and videos below.
How much does professional window security film installation cost?
It will depend a lot on the competition in your market and the local labor rates. But, figure $50-80 per window as an estimate.
How thick should residential window security film be?
Jewelry stores would use a really thick film up to 8 mm to make it really tough to break through and also really tough to cut and install. A 4 mm film is easier to cut and install for residential use and still buys you more security than a bare piece of glass.
Is security film installed on the inside or outside of the window?
Usually, the film is installed on the inside of the glass. That prevents broken glass from entering the home and becoming a potential hazard.
Who do I buy from security film from?
When it comes to choosing the best window security film, 3M is the big name in the space with products like S140. But, it's generally just sold to businesses.
But, there are also smaller companies offering security film for residential applications like BurglarGard.
3M Security Film
Do I need to glue it to the edge of the window?
While window security film can keep your window from shattering into pieces and falling down, if the window falls out as one big broken sheet, you really haven’t achieved much. By using an adhesive around the edge of the window (sort of like a bead of caulk around the edge), you can be sure the window and film stay secured to the frame of the window.
What should I use to attach security film to my window frame?
The consensus is Dow Corning 995.
How to Lower Your Utility Bills When Installing Security Film
I know you've been shopping around for the best security film for protection and price. And, you're prepared to save up enough to invest in extra security for your home.
But did you know that you can offset some of that cost with lower utility bills AND get the extra security too?
If you live in a warm, southern climate where your HVAC system is running a lot to keep you cool in the summer, consider buying tinted security film to install on your windows. You'll lower the heating caused by the sun inside your home, reduce your energy use, save money, and increase your home's security at the same time!
How to install security film on your windows
Now that the questions are out of the way, let’s go through the steps to install it.
- First, clean the window really well by scraping it and using a squeegee to wipe the window and clean the corners.
- Trim the film to a rough oversize for thin films or an exact fit for thick films
- Wet the window with a mixture of distilled water and a few drops of baby shampoo, remove the backing on the film, spray the film, and then apply the film
- Then, use the squeegee to expel the water from the top down, being careful to press the water out of the sides and be sure not to push water across an area that has already been squeegeed
- For thicker films, you may want to squeegee the window twice after re-spraying it
- Finally, using a hard card or plastic blade and paper towels over the edge, push the water from the edges of the window.
Here’s a good reference for steps 1-6:
- Now, apply your structural sealant around the edge of the window
I hope that helps! If you decide to tackle it, drop back in and let us know what you wish you would have known when you got started to help out your neighbor.
And if you're looking for other affordable home security tips, check out 1 or 2 of these:
Hi, I’m Jody. I graduated with honors with a Masters of Science in Computer Engineering and have over 15 years of experience working as an engineer with electronics products. I’m a lifelong learner and tinkerer and enjoy automating things around the house so I can solve bigger problems than getting out of bed to check if the garage door is closed . . . like too little sleep!