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Frequently Asked Questions


Most 3M Window Films are protected with our abrasion resistant coating that provides long-term durability and maintained appearance.

All 3M Sun Control Films are made to be transparent and optically clear. The ultraviolet protection is built into the adhesive system to provide longevity to the film as well as provide UV protection for your home and office furnishings.

Reflective films are films that have been precision coated with metals. These metallized films are designed to increase the solar energy reflection of the glass. 3M reflective films range from moderate to excellent in solar performance (heat gain reduction).

Typical colored or dyed films work primarily through increased absorption. The color absorbs the solar energy at the glass, thus reducing the direct transmission into the room. These films are not as effective as reflective films for reducing heat.

3M Sun Control Films are designed to reduce the amount of solar heat transmission through window glass by increasing the solar reflection (not necessarily visible reflection) and solar absorption through the glass.

will 3m™ window films stop my FURNITURE from fading?

Nothing completely stops fading. 3M Window Films are designed to help reduce the major causes of fading (ultra violet light, visible light, and solar heat), thus prolonging the life of your furnishings, perhaps as much as two to five times.

Keep in mind the article(s) to be protected; if they have a typical life of five (5) years then they may last ten (10) years to much longer depending on the performance of the film selected. However, if the typical life is only 2-3 weeks, then the expectation should be expressed in terms of months.

As a general rule of thumb, ultra violet (UV) is approximately 40% of the cause, visible light is about 25%, and heat about 25%. The remaining 10% can be attributed to humidity, pollutants, interior lights, dye stability, and more.

How do 3M Sun Control Plus All Seasons Films work?

3M Sun Control Plus All Season Window Films, or Low E films, function similar to sun control films except that they offer an increased performance against cold weather heat loss. The patented construction of these films enables the metal coatings to reflect more of the interior room heat back into the room where it is needed. This improves comfort by reducing potential drafts near the window, and may also save on fuel costs, especially in commercial buildings. The LE films are also protected with our unique abrasion resistant coating to ensure long-term durability and maintained appearance.

Why do commercial customers have 3M Sun Control Window Film applied in their buildings?

Commercial customers apply window film in their buildings to improve tenant comfort, lower energy costs, improve aesthetics, reduce fading to furnishings, improve safety and security and extend life of their property and equipment. Sun Control films can be a valued alternative to adding more air conditioning equipment and perhaps electrical upgrades. It will also improve HVAC efficiency by virtually eliminating hot/cold spots within a building.

What is the typical payback period on energy savings for 3M Sun Control Window Films?

Payback periods will vary depending on the type of glass, type of film, cost of air-conditioning and heating, demand rates, cost of installation and other variables. In the past, we have seen energy savings payback less than 5 years. We offer a comprehensive analysis of your building to calculate energy savings.

Can I install Sun Control window films myself?

We highly recommend that authorized, trained dealer/applicators install the film to guarantee high quality work and issue the 3M Manufacturer's warranty.

How is Sun Control Window Film applied?

3M Sun Control window films are professionally installed by skilled, well-trained authorized dealer/applicators. The majority of our films are designed to be applied to the inside surface of your window glass.

The first step is to prepare the window area for the application, by placing drop cloths on the floor, protecting and/or move furniture where necessary. Next, the window glass is cleaned using simple cleaning solutions and razor blade scrapers. Then the film is sprayed with clear water for proper positioning and applied to the glass. Using a professional grade squeegee and following proper techniques, the application is completed by removing excess water, trimming the edges and a final squeegee technique to dry the edges.

How long does it take for 3M Sun Control window films to dry?

It takes approximately 30 days for the film to fully dry and cure. During the curing process, it is natural to have small water bubbles and/or a hazy milkiness appearance.  These will disappear as the film dries. Once dried, the film will look fantastic and perform for many years to come.

How can I clean 3M Sun Control window film?

After approximately 30 days, you may clean our films using normal household cleaning solutions, including ammonia-based products (due to our unique abrasion resistant coating) and a soft, lint-free cloth or towel. You may also use a squeegee to clean the film. Abrasive products that may scratch or damage the film should not be used.

How long does 3M Sun Control window film last?

3M Sun control window films are very durable and designed to last for many years, just how long will depend on the type of film applied, type of glass, climatic conditions and care. Based on our experience, films will last 10 to 15 years. We have several installations that are performing well that have exceeded 20 years. Once the life expectancy has been exceeded, our unique adhesive system allows removal and re-application without the risk damaging your glass.

What is the warranty for 3M Sun Control window films?

3M Canada Company and the authorized dealer/applicator warrant that Sun Control window films will maintain solar reflective properties without cracking, crazing or peeling, maintain adhesion properties without blistering, bubbling or de-lamination from the glass and maintain appearance without discolouration.

Duration of warranty ranges from 10 years for commercial installations to lifetime residential applications (Original purchaser only). Outdoor film applications are two years. In addition, the warranty covers thermal glass breakage for 5 years and seal failure warranty on insulated units of 3 years, if the original seal failure warranty form the insulated unit manufacturer is still valid. (To a maximum of $500 - per window, including material and labour.) 

Do 3M Sun Control window films cause glass to break?

No.  3M Sun Control window films do not cause the glass to break. With the application of any film, it will increase the temperature of your sunlit glass that in turn will increase the stress on the glass edges. The quality of those glass edges and other factors such as external and/or interior shading, type of glass, type of film etc. all contribute to the potential risk of thermal glass breakage. Since 3M invented the world's first window film in 1966 and holds the original patent, our experience of applying window films to glass around the world enables us to offer proper film/glass combinations to minimize the potential for thermal breakage. In addition, we support these recommendations with our 5 year thermal glass breakage warranty.

Do 3M Sun Control window films cause seal failure when applied to insulated glass units?

No.  3M window films will not cause seal failure.  Over 90% of our installations in Canada are on IG (Insulated Glass) units.  When films are applied to the inside of an insulated unit, there will be some absorption (except for clear safety and security films) of solar energy, which will increase the temperature of glass.  Some of this heat will transmit to the airspace, slightly raising the airspace temperature.  However, even a 20° increase will result in a less than 3% change in air pressure, whereas properly made insulated units are designed and tested to withstand 22% changes in air pressure.

Risk of seal failure is greatly determined by the quality of workmanship and the quality of the materials used in manufacturing the insulated unit.  Manufacturers of insulated units usually offer a warranty of 5-10 years against seal failure.  (No insulated unit manufacturer offers warranty for glass breakage of any kind, only seal failure). Since some manufacturers may cancel the seal failure warranty if window films are installed, 3M Canada is offering a seal failure warranty of 3 years, however the 3M warranty cannot extend beyond the original window manufacturer’s seal failure warranty period.

Will 3M Sun Control window film stop fading?

Nothing stops fading completely.  Here are the causes of fading:

  • Ultra-Violet Rays       Approx.     40%
  • Visible Light             Approx.     25%
  • Heat                        Approx.     25%
  • Misc.(others)            Approx.     10%

Misc. (others) - include humidity, pollutants, interior lights and dye anchorage.

All 3M sun control window films block up to 99% of UV rays.  Depending on the type of film, we can also reduce visible light and heat.  The bottom line is that 3M Sun Control Window Films will prolong the life of your furnishings, perhaps as much as two to five times.

Does the Ultra-violet protection lose its effectiveness over time?

No.  The ultra-violet protection that we use in our proprietary adhesive system is indefinite.  It does not lose its effectiveness over time on any of our 3M films.

How do 3M Safety and Security laminates work?

3M safety and security laminates are designed to make glass shatter-resistant by holding the glass pieces together when broken, dramatically reducing the risk of glass shards falling or flying out.  The films are made thicker with more aggressive adhesive systems in comparison to regular sun control films.

We offer regular polyester laminates in thicknesses of 4, 7, 8 and 14 mil and our “ULTRA” line, which uses the patented 3M micro-layered polyester technology, increasing the film’s tear-resistance significantly.  “ULTRA” films are available in 13, 26 and 39 layers and outperform all regular polyester films of similar thickness. For additional protection, we offer various “ULTRAFLEX” anchoring systems.

Are 3M Security films burglar-proof or bullet- proof?

No security film is burglar-proof or bullet-proof; they are a deterrent.  Films are designed to make the glass more shatter resistant and may slow the projectile down but not to prevent penetration after several attempts. Various film/glass combinations may achieve a low level ballistic rating.

3M security window films are a low-profile, high performance measure of security in the battle against “smash and grab” crime.  If a thief tries to break the glass with any tool or brick, the glass will break, but the film will hold it in place.  The thief now must make a choice- continue to attack the window, try another window, or move on.  Time is short and noise has to be avoided, they frequently select an easier target. However, a professional thief determined to gain entry, will eventually get in.

In violent weather, these laminates may have significant safety and security value.  They can reduce the risk of injury from flying shards of broken glass and possibly help prevent debris and water penetration through the window, depending on the severity of the storm, type of glass, framing system, size and velocity of objects.

In an earthquake, these films can reduce the risk of serious injury from flying shards of broken glass and possibly prevent glass from falling out of a home or building.  Again, much may depend upon the severity of the quake, the type and size of glass and framing system.

3M Security laminates were the first in the market in the 1970's; originally developed to address the international concerns and needs for improving safety and security against terrorist acts of bombings.  3M security laminates can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury from flying shards of glass due to blasts.

What is the difference between a Safety and Security Laminate and Film?

All safety and security laminate available in the market place are made using polyester as the base product.  Whether you call it a film or laminate, there is no difference.

Do 3M Security laminates meet International Standards?

3M Security laminates have passed many national and international independent tests.  The major standards are: ANSI Z 97, CPSC 16 CFR, ULC S332, Factory Mutual System ID3A9.AM, GSA Bomb Blast Test, British Standard 262/005362, Japan Standard Test 6H64405 and Australian TN0/6/76.  Additional test reports are available upon request.


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