Dealing with vandalized glass on commercial buildings
February 28, 2014
Blocking heat but keeping light with solar window film
July 2, 2015
Glass Privacy/ View Control
January 29, 2015
We’re often asked about window film that will provide privacy or control the view through glass. There are many films on the market which can serve to control the view and a window film professional can help you choose a film to suit your needs. Some applications for privacy/ view control are:
Conference rooms to shield sensitive data or minimize distractions
Money handling areas for restaurants, box offices, ATM areas
Security offices and merchandise control observation
Nursing areas for new mothers returning to work
Temporary view blocking of vacant spaces to minimize break ins and glass vandalism
View control during construction
Restrooms, locker rooms and spa areas
Why window film?
Undoubtedly the most widely used view control film is a simple white frost film. This film mimics sandblasted glass and allows maximum light transmission while still giving privacy. The advantages to this film over sandblasted glass:
An economical retrofit when compared to replacing glass
Economical to remove if needs change and clear glass is desired again
Doesn’t suffer from blotchiness caused by hand oils trapped on the surface
A great variety of patterns and designs available
Rice paper, shoji screens, whiteout, blackout, lines & stripes(horizontal & vertical) squares, rectangles, big dots, little dots, white frosted, silver frosted, bronze frosted, sparkle frosted, cracked ice, colored transparent, colored translucent, colored opaque, gradients, floral, stained glass...these are just some examples of the myriad of films available to block or control view and change the aesthetic.
One way view
This is a commonly misunderstood effect so let’s first identify the greatest variable in achieving one way view: light control. In your experience you’ve probably witnessed clear glass acting as one way glass. When outdoors on a bright day, with the sun high overhead, you look toward an interior space and all you can see is your reflection. This is caused by the high ambient light outdoors being reflected from the surface of the glass back to your eye. The higher the angle of the light source (overhead sun in this case) the more surface reflectivity you’ll perceive. Add to this a relatively darker interior space and the brightness of the reflected image overwhelms any light from the interior. Get close to the glass and shield your eyes from the ambient light around you and you be able to see through the glass.
So how do we stack the deck in our favor? The best method is to install a dark, dual reflective film on the glass. A dual reflective film can be as much as 40% more reflective on the exterior side when compared to it’s interior. Being dark allows less light transmission to the interior or private space and high exterior reflectivity achieves our goal. Understand that at night, with lights on in an interior space and darkness outside, even such a film will be overcome and the one way effect reversed. Installing bright lights outside and keeping interior light to a minimum can help here.
Another, though less common way of achieving one way view is with a perforated white film used for printed signs and graphics on glass. This film is white on one side and black on the other. The white side reflects light back to the eye and the black side less so. Again, keeping the private side darker is key.
The best way to move forward is to consult a film professional and allow them to make recommendations and show samples based on your particular situation and needs.