Why are there different thicknesses of anti-graffiti film?
Not all anti-graffiti window films are created equal. If you intend on having the film installed outdoors, make sure that the anti-graffiti film is at least 6-MIL (six thousandths of an inch) in thickness. This is the industry tested gauge that can successfully stand up to diamond-tipped glass etching tools. Lighter gauge anti-graffiti films are meant to only hold up against attacks by the casual tagger, who would most likely be using a key or coin to scratch the glass. 4-MIL films are most successful when used on stainless panels in public areas or on bathroom mirrors inside retail establishments. The reason lighter gauge films are manufactured is because they use 50% less material and are therefore cheaper to make.
How is anti-graffiti film different from security film?
The major difference is the adhesive. Security films are not meant to be removed and have an aggressive adhesive that is designed to hold the glass together in the event of breakage. The adhesives in anti-graffiti films are designed for easier removal.
Security film is meant to be installed on the interior surface of the glass and only has UV protectant in the adhesive layer of the film. Since anti-graffiti films are meant to be used outdoors, they have a UV coat on the exterior of the film in addition to the adhesive to prevent premature breakdown of the film.
Although some “safety” films come in thicknesses as low as 4-MIL, the most commonly used “security” thickness is 8-MIL, about 25% thicker than the most commonly used anti-graffiti film.
Does the brand of anti-graffiti film matter?
Not to the consumer. As long as you are using a film with at least 6-MIL construction, you are good to go. The major difference between each brand is how easy the film is to remove. This is something that matters more to the company installing (and some day replacing) the film. Some films remove easily while others come off in small pieces leaving a lot of adhesive behind.
Is anti-graffiti film easy to install?
No. The most common problems that occur with the installation of anti-graffiti film are:
Peeling corners – the outer frames of windows hold onto a lot of debris. Even after several washings this debris will easily get sucked behind the edges of the film as it is being trimmed to fit the window. Not only does this produce a bubbly “rash” of grit behind the film, but weakens the bond between the film and the glass. Since the adhesives in anti-graffiti film are designed to be more easily removed, any amount of dirt that inhibits this already loose bond will result in the premature failure of the adhesive.
Wind – anti-graffiti window films are around 4 times thicker than average solar control window films. This means that even the smallest speck of dust will create a large bubble behind the film, because the film is too thick to mould around it. Storefront windows are big. To remove the liner on such a large piece of film, soak it with application fluid and get it onto the window without the wind catching the film or peppering it with dust is an issue every installer has to deal with, but only few are well experienced at preventing.
Is anti-graffiti film easy to remove?
Most of the time – no. Even though anti-graffiti adhesives are designed for easier removal – there is no standard adhesive formula across each manufacturer, so some adhesives start to cure over time making them stubborn to remove.
Depending on the age of the film, UV breakdown may have occurred, weakening the film to the point where it will crack apart as you try to remove it.
Even after you have the film removed, adhesive is left behind. A safe yet extremely slow method of removing the adhesive is to use some type of solvent to soften the glue and scrub it off with a non-scratch sponge. We use the word “safe” because most storefront glass is tempered. Depending on how well the glass is manufactured, using a razor blade to remove the glue can be a bad decision. Most of the time we find that the glass was already damaged by the previous installer. Review our article on window film removal for more information.
If you are located in the Chicago area and are interested in having anti-graffiti film in your business installed or replaced, please give us a call at 800-683-8468 or visit our main web site at www.precisefilm.com to arrange a free, no-obligation estimate.