Adding film to your windows at home or in the office can mean more privacy, better insulation inside, and fewer bothersome rays from the sun coming into your space. Not all window film is alike, and you would do well to familiarize yourself with a few different types and terms you might see when you start shopping. This will ensure you choose the best film for your particular application and needs.
The term "U-value" refers to the insulating properties of any material, including window film. If you're looking to keep your home or office warmer during the winter and use less air conditioning during the summer, you want a higher U-value for your window film. Note that the color or even the thickness of the film may not be important to consider when it comes to its insulating properties; the U-value of film is often determined by the materials used to make the film and how well they insulate, not by the color of film or its thickness alone.
2. UV Protection
UV protection isn't always determined by the color of the film or its thickness either. Very dark film may do little to actually block UV rays; the best film for protection against UV exposure uses a reflective material that bounces the sun's rays off windows rather than allowing them to pass through. If you need to protect anything inside your space from UV rays, including artwork, plants, or even the fabric of your furniture, always look for a higher UV protection percentage rather than assuming that dark film will automatically do the trick.
3. Frost Film, Whiteout, and Blackout
Frosted film may offer some privacy and can be used for bathrooms or offices where you want some privacy from those outside. Typically a person can see movement through a frost film, but cannot clearly see what is on the other side of the film. Whiteout film offers more privacy than standard frost film; it's a thicker frost that obscures all figures, silhouettes, and the like while still allowing light to pass through.
Blackout film is often used for darkrooms and can also be a good choice for those who get migraines or who prefer a totally dark bedroom at night. Note the percentage of blackout when choosing a film; the higher the percentage, the darker the film and the less light it allows through. Some blackout film will allow a small amount of light, and these can be good for residential homes where you don't need a completely dark room but do want to use the film in place of curtains or blinds.