3M has created a versatile, useful film that can be directly applied to your windows. This film achieves two things. First, it’s a great insulator for your windows. In the summertime, it blocks UV rays and the tinted version directly blocks sunlight. In the wintertime, it helps create a solid seal around your window, reducing your heating bill by keeping hot air in your home. Second, 3M safety film’s chief purpose is to keep your home safe. The films are made of a strong, binding material that makes it nearly impossible for a burglar to break your window. In fact, watch the video above to see two burglars unsuccessfully attempt a break-in through a window protected by 3M.
How Does 3M Safety Film Work?
3M Safety Film works on the same principle as the binding agent in automotive glass. When there is impact, the film keeps the glass from shattering. Think about it. How many times have you seen a car’s windshield hit by a rock? How many times have you seen a windshield completely shatter after being hit by a rock? Usually, an object that hits the windshield makes a hole in the window, but the glass doesn’t shatter.
Of course, like any security measure, this protective film will not protect your windows forever. What it will do is make it considerably harder for thieves to gain entrance to your home. If an intruder tries to get in, you’ll have more time to alert the police.
The best part? When installed, the product is virtually undetectable. This means you’ll still be able to see out of your windows normally and yet receive the benefit of insulation and home protection.
How Easy is it to Install 3M Safety Films?
Unfortunately, you cannot install the protective film yourself. You’ll need to hire a professional to do it for you. Most jobs can be completed in a single day and the installer can add protective screens over existing window glazes. However, this is money well spent. As long as you hire a reputable installer, you won’t have to worry about the installation being botched…and nobody wants a botched window film job. Have you ever seen a really horrible window tint on a car? You don’t want that on your home.
If you are a hardcore DIYer, there is a job left to do for you. After the screens are installed you need to caulk the edges of the windows along the inside. This creates a weatherproof seal and it also ensures that a burglar cannot simply kick in the frame. You can do this job yourself with caulk from any home repair store or you can pay a professional to do this for you.
How Much do the 3M Security Films Cost?
The cost of film varies depending on a number of factors. There are different types of protective film with different benefits and different price points. Also, the cost will be higher if you plan on adding an additional sun-proofing layer.
In order to find out the exact cost for your home, you’re going to need to find a dealer and ask for a quote.
With that said, we estimate that the average cost is as low as $7 per square foot and can go as high as $15 per square foot or higher. We've come up with this price point by getting quotes from several installers. Based on our estimate, adding a film to a 3' x 5' window will cost you $105 to $225 or even more.
Furthermore, several readers have shared their experience with us. One man paid $1,200 to get all his ground floor windows covered. Another person paid $300 to have four windows covered.
Despite the high price point, most people report a high degree of satisfaction and a feeling of relief knowing that their windows are protected against burglars and other would-be intruders.
You may also be interested to know that homeowners who outfit their homes with protective screens may be eligible for an energy saving subsidy from their power company. This is especially pronounced for people living in hot climates who use their air conditioners consistently throughout the year.
The Different 3M Films
Before you outfit your home with a 3M safety film, you should be aware of the different choices available to you. 3M offers several styles of protective film to suit different needs. The biggest question you’ll need to ask yourself is whether you want a 3M safety film for security reasons, or if you want it to offer sun protection as well.
Ultra Prestige Series
The Ultra Prestige Series offers the most comprehensive coverage that is available through 3M’s protective film series. This protective film is made using a multi-layered process that creates an extremely strong product. The film is designed to protect against impacts and extreme weather. When a hole is punched through a window with this coating it won’t expand or stretch open past the initial gap. This film rejects up to 60% of the heat coming through your window, which provides a drastic reduction in cooling requirements. Also it filters out 97% of the sun’s infrared rays and 99.9% of harmful UV rays.
The Ultra Series doesn’t include sun protection. It’s designed to be a clear, nearly invisible film. This makes it a great option for anyone living in a moderate climate who doesn’t want a reduction of sunshine in their home. However, if you’re interested in sun protection, the ultra series can be combined with tinted film to offer sun control.
The main benefit of the Ultra Series is its superior blast and impact reduction. It’s designed to protect windows from a variety of different impacts and attacks. This film alone has repelled burglars and given them cause to give up and move on.
Despite offering less comprehensive coverage than the other two films, the safety series does make your windows significantly stronger and less vulnerable to break-ins.
The Safety Series film is made up of a thick adhesive that keeps glass from shattering after an impact and is available in 7, 8, and 14 mil sizes. Like the Ultra Series, the Safety Series can be paired with a sun control film to reduce HVAC costs.
Finally, unlike the other two options, the Safety Series doesn’t come with a lifetime guarantee but instead offers a 10-year guarantee.
Which Film is Right For Your House?
Choosing the right film means comparing the cost to the benefits. If you’re worried about weather and not burglars than the Safety Series is ideal for you. On the other hand, if your primary concern is break-ins, then the Ultra Series is the best choice.
Finally, if you live in a hot climate, the Ultra Prestige Series will pay for itself with the energy savings it will bring to your home. Of course it will also offer strong protection against burglars.
Where Can You Get Safety Films For Your Home?
Safety film installers are all over the country and a quick Google search can help you find a reputable one near you. However, if you want the highest quality films from an installer recognized by 3M themselves, you can use 3M's dealer finder tool on their website. Getting your windows outfitted by certified 3M dealers not only ensures that you'll get original, high-quality products, but also that your safety films will be properly installed based on the manufacturer's standards.
Are Safety Films Enough to Ensure Our Security?
Installing safety films is one of the security measures we highly encourage our readers to invest on, but just like any security measure, it's not perfect. It's a great deterrent for burglars whose MO is literally breaking in through windows, but most burglars gain access to homes using different methods. For example, some simply kick down doors. If you want protection from that, this article offers helpful tips on how to secure doors so they can't be kicked in.
The are also burglars that don't use as much force. In fact, they are the most cunning type, gaining access by exploiting your home's weakness. Ideally, if you want to ensure your home's security, we recommend covering all bases—safety film for your windows, door braces for your doors, and a monitored security system to ensure that if a break-in occurs, it's instantly reported to the proper authorities.
There are several security companies out there that offer high-quality security systems and monitoring services. This home security guide will assist you in choosing the best security system for your home. Additionally, we've put together an article highlighting which alarm company we think is best, as well as why we've chosen it and how it compares with other top-rated alarm companies. We've been updating the article every year, and in 2019, Frontpoint took the top spot.
Overall, we'd like to think that home security is an evolving field. It doesn't stop with safety films, door braces, and home security systems. Additional measures need to be taken and it's up to you, as the homeowner, to assess your security needs and patch any weakness you can find. If you do that continually, you can gain peace of mind knowing that your home is protected.