Say Goodbye to Boring Glass Surfaces
Glass films, often referred to as window films have dramatically expanded their usage in both commercial and residential applications. The range of glass films available today allows for unlimited creativity and self-expression whilst maintaining the clean and elegant look that only glass can provide.
Glass films are easy to install, easy to remove to meet changing needs and so are a cost-effective alternative to more permanent glass decoration solutions. The choices of glass films is wide ranging. Coloured glass films will create stunning effects similar to stained glass. Etched or frosted films create privacy. Clear films can be digitally printed, making the potential graphic or design virtually limitless.
Glass films can be used for:
Advertising & Promotion
Glass films communicate clear messages in shop fronts and offices. They can be vibrant and eye-catching to passers-by but still allow
people to see into the shop or office area. For employees they still allow natural light to flow into the business. At night, interior lights
illuminate and enhance the graphic.
Unique & Inspiring Spaces:
Whether it is in the workplace or at home, glass films can be designed to uniquely decorate and define an area. An ambience can be created
just by the choice of design and type of glass film that more traditional walls, curtains or dividers cannot achieve.
Privacy & Security:
Glass films can establish privacy and security in a non-confrontational way. Whilst still inviting with clean lines, the glass film can prevent
unwanted and prying eyes.
Interior Protection from the Sun:
With the high price of interior decorations including flooring and furniture, glass film protects against UV rays and provides longevity
to maintaining the look and quality of furnishings. At the same time, people are also protected from the harmful effects of the sun.
To maximise the impact and longevity of your window graphic, we’ve put together these simple steps for you.
1. Clean thoroughly using an ammonia free glass cleaner.
2. Wipe down and remove any cleaner with a clean cloth.
3. Clean again using isopropyl alcohol (IPA) to remove any excess residue left by the cleaning solution.
When preparing for installation, it is important to consider the entire application, specifically the graphic’s size, location, design and vinyl.
Smaller or more intricate designs may require application tape to help transport the graphic. Vinyls with an etched or frosted effect may be
difficult to pick up, so a medium or higher tack application tape is required, such as R-Tape’s 4075 Medium Tack or 4076 High Tack and
TransferRite’s 6585 Medium Tack or 6592 High Tack.
A wet application technique is the best method for applying glass graphics. This helps eliminate air bubbles and squeegee marks from forming in the adhesive. By using application fluid the graphic can slide freely across the surface, for easy positioning of the image, while also making it easier for trapped air bubbles to escape. Wet applications require clean up, so if you’re working in an area that should not get damp, try a dry graphics application.
Wet applications are perfect for clear films, frosted films or etched glass films that do not have air egress adhesives.
Air egress technology, such as Avery Dennison’s Easy Apply or Aslan’s DryApply technology, are repositionable films that have micro tunnels
or channels embossed into the adhesive. These channels allow air to escape, reducing air bubbles and creases. If attempting to wet apply
these vinyls, the micro tunnels will trap excess application fluid and can result in adhesion failure.
So, which application method do you use?
The type of glass film used will determine the application method. There have been situations in which the adhesive on a clear graphic
when using the wet application method turns white. This is because the adhesive was most likely an emulsion, or water based, adhesive,
and not suitable for wet application.
Before starting, check the adhesive type of the vinyl. Avery Dennison suggests to cut a strip of vinyl, remove the liner and submerge the
vinyl in water for up to 60 seconds. Remove the sample from the water and check the adhesive. If it is still clear, then the wet application
technique should be fine. If the adhesive has turned white, use the dry application installation process.
Installation Process – Wet Application
Using a spray bottle, spray a generous amount of the application fluid on the application surface.
- Remove the liner from the graphic, and spray a small amount of application fluid on the adhesive side. Be careful to keep the backing paper dry, as moisture may make the paper melt into the adhesive making it difficult to remove
- Position the graphic on the application surface, you can slide the panel into place.
- Working from the top of the graphic, squeegee from the centre of the graphic in outwards motions, towards the edge of the graphic.
- Be sure to use firm, overlapping strokes. The application fluid will be forced out from behind the graphic.You may want to spray a small amount of fluid on the front of the graphic to enable smoother squeegeeing and minimise scratching.
- When the graphic is completely squeegeed, use a dry, lint-free cloth to wipe down any access application fluid and clean the work area.
- Leave for 10 minutes, then trim the graphic to fit the surface.
Installation Process – Dry Application
- Remove the liner from the graphic. Depending on the size of the graphic, you may choose to do this in incremental stages, starting at the top of the graphic, to control the vinyl.
- Working from the top, position the graphic on the application surface.
- Using firm, overlapping strokes, squeegee from the centre of the graphic in outwards motions, towards the edge of the graphic. Pull down the liner as needed. Wait for 5 to 10 minutes before trimming the graphic.
- Any bubbles can be removed by using an air release tool.
And Finally ….
- If working with bevelled edges, use one hand to pull the excess vinyl in an upwards motion and trim with the other hand, keeping the knife angled along the edge.
- If installing silicone set windows, cut the graphic with a gap around the edge. Silicone has a low surface energy which vinyl will not stick to. Justin Pate on of the foremost authorities on graphic installation in the world recommends positioning the edge of the squeegee against the window frame, and carefully cutting along the inside edge of the squeegee.
- Regardless of the installation method used, if an application tape is used to transport the graphic, allow time for the adhesive bond of the graphic to build to the surface. Then remove the application tape maintaining a 180-degree angle, or keeping it parallel to the surface, to reduce the possibility of the graphic lifting. Re-squeegee the graphic using firm pressure.
- Remember, it will take up to 24 hours for the adhesive to settle.
In summary, glass films have evolved to become eye catching films that suit a myriad of purposes. They are perfect in grabbing attention
in any setting – inside and outside of a retail premise, within an office space or home as an elegant privacy screen, or just to give that unique
The quality and longevity of finish however will be determined by preparing the glass surface correctly, choosing the film that is appropriate to that surface and attention to detail in both the design and when installing.