In the window film industry, we tend to get a lot of questions about our terminology. With the growing prominence of initiatives such as “green” practices and increased demand for building hardening, countless businesses are seeking economical, window-based solutions to fortify essential yet vulnerable glass in their spaces.


The good news is that there are countless window film options available to address many of the challenges that glass may present. The difficulty comes with not being sure about what’s available or what to ask for. 


In reality, there are a lot of overlapping features between different types of window films. Understanding your options is the first step toward all the benefits that window film has to offer.

Typical Misconceptions of Window Film

Oftentimes, customers find their ideal window film products by running web searches online using layman’s terms. For example, if you’re looking for a window film that provides both privacy and protection from UV light, you might type in “reflective UV window film.” 


Still, there are a few ways in which this kind of terminology might cause confusion, especially when it comes to conveying your exact needs. So, to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want from your window film, let’s address a few common misconceptions.

All Reflective Films Provide UV Protection, But Not All UV Protection Films Are Reflective

Here’s the first thing to keep in mind: virtually all varieties of window film will provide protection from UV radiation. Usually, when people search for “UV window film,” they’re actually looking for solar control film, which mitigates the effects of sunlight in more ways beyond UV protection. 


So, if you go looking for a reflective UV window film, you might find what you’re looking for without even realizing it. The short way to put it is this: while all reflective window films are UV shielding, not all UV window films are reflective. So, if you find a reflective window film you like, you’ve found the UV protection you need as well.

What Reflective Films Typically Provide

While we’re here, let’s define our terms still further. Oftentimes, the terminology goes far deeper than just “reflective window film.” To help you navigate your search, here are a few signs you’re going in the right direction.

Heat Rejection — Reflective films are a strong solution for temperature management, often selected for their heat rejection capabilities. By reflecting large amounts of sunlight back outward from your windows, the film effectively protects your cool interiors from the heat transfer typical of glass surfaces.

UV Protection — Like virtually all window films, reflective films provide UV protection, protecting inhabitants and interiors from the detrimental effects of ultraviolet light. That said, a film advertised as “UV” is not necessarily a reflective film.

Privacy — Reflective films create a one-way mirror effect on the side of the glass that is more strongly illuminated by reflecting light back to the source. A reflective surface typically means prying eyes can’t see inside your windows from the outside world during daylight hours. Remember, however, that the mirror effect may reverse if your lights are on overnight due to your stronger light source reflecting from the inside.

What Reflective Window Don’t (Necessarily) Provide

Here are a few signs you might be looking in the wrong place.

A Neutral Finish — Though the level of reflectivity can be selected according to your needs, reflective films aren’t the direction to go if you’re looking for a clean, neutral finish for your windows. If “shiny” isn’t the aesthetic you’re looking for, a traditionally tinted film may be the better option for your location.

Window Security — Oftentimes, people will go searching for “security window films” when they really mean “reflective” or “privacy window films.” It’s important to note that, while reflective films do provide privacy, they won’t reinforce your windows in the way that security films can. If it’s a film that can deter forced entry and resist shattering, security film is the way to go.

Year-Round Energy Control — While reflective films are a strong contender for solar heat rejection, they may leave something to be desired in terms of year-round insulation. If energy efficiency is a top priority, Low-E films may provide a more comprehensive solution.

If energy efficiency is at the top of your list, try looking into Low-E films, the ideal solution for energy savings in a four-season region. Though reflective films help protect against solar heat gain, Low-E film takes things further with winter heat loss protection. It’s a win-win for all times of year.

Which “Reflective UV Window Film” Are You Looking For?

If that sounds like a lot of information to take in, we’re here to help. Window films are a complex market designed to address complex issues with elegant solutions. Accurate terminology or otherwise, trust us when we say it’s easier than you think.


For some expert guidance in finding the perfect window film solution for you, get in touch with the team at U.S. Film Crew. As Pittsburgh’s most trusted provider, we’ve got a window film solution for everyone.

Find your perfect window film. Contact U.S. Film Crew today.

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