Glass decoration films
By Denise Nathan
When deciding which film to use, the visual appeal of the top sheet to the client is usually regarded as the most important factor in the decision making process. Some films offer more sparkle, others are more subtle in appearance, however, to ensure the ultimate long term satisfaction for the client and also to make things easier and faster for the installer, here are a few other features to consider.
How easy are the graphics to apply? Remember time is money. Sometimes there may be little difference in the appearance or cost of films but how they handle and apply can affect labour time and ultimately price and your profitability. Some films have a better consistency and are easier to handle for large panels. Generally the thicker or more rigid a film is, the easier it is to apply. If using application tape you need to choose the right tack. Frost and etch surfaces are sometimes harder to pick up with application tape so a higher tack is important, but not too high as you need to get the application tape off again after you have applied the film.
Can you apply the film wet? Wet application is really the only method for applying Glass Décor films to ensure perfect registration and a smooth bubble free appearance. Make sure the vinyl you choose has a solvent based adhesive.
Too much water with acrylic adhesives will cause the adhesive to turn a milky white colour and compromise the adhesion properties. Do not use too much detergent either as the adhesive may take too long to dry and the film may peel off the glass before the adhesive has had time to cure. In summer one drop per litre of water should be plenty. In winter, adhesives are not as tacky so just using water will suffice. Also be careful which detergent you choose as some contain enzymes that attack adhesives.
Consider the temperature of the glass. If it is too cold and below the minimum application temperature specified by the manufacturer it may not stick at all.
On large areas where panels of film are to be applied it is important to be aware of the shrinkage levels of the film you are using so you will know how big to make the overlap between joining panels. All films shrink and if you do not make the overlap sufficient then a gap will appear between panels allowing more light through which is very noticeable. Choosing a film with low shrinkage will give a more visually appealing result as the overlap can be smaller and therefore not so obvious. Don’t assume that just because the film is cast that it will shrink less. Some calendered films actually have lower shrinkage levels then some cast films.
Removal is another key factor. Glass Decor films usually last around 3-5 years so at some point in the not to distant future the graphics will need to be removed and replaced. Some Glass Décor films are very difficult to remove and you will be looking for a sledge hammer before you know it! Glass films that are easy to remove will be better long term for the client and your sanity and ensure a faster more cost effective turnaround.
When deciding what films to use consider the brand you are using and evaluate not only the visual aspects of the film but check to make sure the application and performance requirements are also met.
Denise Nathan is Marketing Manager - MACtac in Oceania