I have giant windows in my garage. Giant take a good look at what’s inside, decide which tools or bicycles you want to steal, break a window, then walk right through because they are THAT BIG.
They have been naked for three years because I planned to buy a cheap roller shade but:
- Could not find one wide enough, meaning I would have to buy two (aesthetically unpleasing) or order a custom size (which defeats the whole “cheap” ideal,) and
- It’s the garage, which gets dirty, which means I’d have to periodically clean whatever I hang up there, which means I never would because it’s the garage, so it would get dirty and spider webby and become an eyesore.
Not that I over-think things, or anything.
So I’m watching HGTV one day – like I do, 24/7 – and saw an episode where they applied frosted film to a window to let the light in but maintain privacy. BRILLIANT!
I forgot to take a “before” picture so here is one with the center panel done but before I applied the frosted film to the side windows, which have screens on the outside and slide open.
As you can see, the view was quite clear, even through the screens.
Here it is all finished, taken with a flash…
…and without a flash.
The window still lets in a ton of light but doesn’t let anyone peer in and covet my stuff.
Do not – I repeat, “DO NOT” – attempt this project by yourself unless you are doing a very small window. It can be done, but it involves a lot of cussing and raising of the blood pressure. You really need an extra pair of hands to hold the film while you spray both sides with the application solution, then as you peel away the backing and apply it to the window.
I was going to provide step-by-step instructions but there are a gazillion “how-to’s” already out there, both written and video. Just Google “how to apply window film.” I do have a few tips, however:
- Window size. You need to cut the film 1” larger on each side (so 2” wider and 2” taller) than your window so be sure to get the correct size film.
- Four hands are better than two. If you can’t get a companion to help you, rig up a clothes line so you can clip the cut pieces to it. You need to spray both sides with the application solution then peel away the backing before applying it to the window. Virtually impossible to do with only two hands.
- Application kit. I bought an application kit for about 9 bucks which included a spray bottle of application solution, a low-lint cloth, a “hard-card” squeegee, and a trim tool. To save money:
- Application solution: make your own using 1 quart of distilled water (not hard tap water) plus 1/4 teaspoon of no-tears baby shampoo without conditioner. Put it in a spray bottle and you’re good to go.
- Low-lint cloth: Any low-lint kitchen or cleaning towel will do. I didn’t use the one that came in the kit. I used my own regular (high-lint) cleaning cloth to wipe off the squeegee when it got really wet and wipe down the excess water that accumulated on the sill.
- Squeegee: I used my regular large squeegee with a handle that I use to clean my shower rather than the tiny “hard-card” style that came with the kit. The hard-card one was handy for the edges but would have taken a lot more time for the main body squeegee work.
- Trim tool: Any razor blade cutting implement will do: exacto-knife, etc. You are supposed to leave 1/16th of an inch gap between the film and the edge of the window for “proper thermal expansion of the window” and their tool is designed to do this. But it’s really just the tiniest tip of a razor blade sticking out of the end of that green thing you see in the photo and, depending on how you angle it, it may or may not leave the requisite 1/16th of an inch. The hard-card squeegee was very hand to hold next to it, pushing it against the edge of the window and sliding all the way down for a quick, straight cut, but you can use any old ruler for that.
I’m so glad I finally did this! My washer and dryer are in the garage so now I can go out there naked to toss my work clothes in the steam dryer to get the wrinkles out without fear of the neighbors or lawn boy seeing me.
Too much information?