Can Smart Film Be Used Outdoors?
With the growing popularity of smart glass and smart film, many are curious about their potential for outdoor use. While these technologies are versatile, it is important to note that they are not created equal when it comes to durability in outdoor environments.
Smart film, also known as switchable film or PDLC film, has become increasingly popular in both residential and commercial settings due to its ability to switch between clear and frosted at the flip of a switch. This technology has provided a new level of privacy control and design flexibility for many people.
However, when it comes to where it can be installed, it is important to understand which switchable glass products are best suited to exterior applications and which are better reserved for interior use.
Smart Glass vs. Smart Film
There are two primary types of switchable glass products; smart glass and. smart film. Both products contain a switchable PDLC liquid crystal layer that makes the glass change states from clear to frosted with the application of an electrical current. Smart glass contains this switchable layer sandwiched between two pieces of laminated and tempered safety glass. Smart film is a window film that is applied to the surface of existing glass, transforming it into smart privacy glass.
Can Smart Film Be Used Outdoors?
Smart film is a great option for indoor use, as it is easy to install on existing glass surfaces and provides a quick and convenient solution for privacy and light control. However, when it comes to outdoor applications, smart film is not recommended. While smart film is scratch-resistant and durable, it is not designed to withstand the harsh conditions of the outdoors. This is due to the fact that outdoor installations expose the film to the elements, including harsh sun, rain and debris, which can damage the film and result in a shortened lifespan.
It is important to note that installing smart film on the interior surface of external facing windows is not an issue and is not considered an outdoor application. By outdoors, we are referring to smart film that is installed on the exterior facing surface of the glass.
Using Smart Glass Outdoors
On the other hand, smart glass is a more viable option for outdoor use. This is because the switchable layer is protected by two pieces of laminated and tempered glass, making it far more resistant to damage from external elements. This makes it much more durable and suitable for external use. Smart glass provides privacy, insulation, and diffuses sunlight when switched to opaque- cutting the glare. This makes it ideal for exterior glass surfaces where enhanced privacy, security and light control is desired.
Additionally, smart glass can be customized to work with double-paned or triple-paned windows, making it a great option for outdoor spaces with larger windows that need to withstand high wind loads.
Common Applications For Smart Glass Outdoors
Many pool areas are surrounded by glass walls. These glass surfaces preserve views while sheltering the pool area from winds. However, a lack of privacy can be a concern when designing with glass walls. This is where switchable glass walls can be advantageous, allowing people to choose between views and privacy.
Smart Glass Railings
Many balconies and rooftops are equipped with glass railings to provide much needed safety without disrupting the view. These glass railings are often seen in condominiums in coastal cities like Miami and Los Angeles. The downside of glass railings can be a lack of privacy. So many condo owners opt to install smart glass so they can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Smart Glass Patio Partitions
Many outdoor restaurants are opting to install switchable glass partitions to make their outdoor spaces more dynamic and offer a more intimate dining experience. With a switchable glass partition, customers can choose to enjoy dining in private or keep the glass transparent and enjoy views and people watching.
Can Smart Glass & Smart Film Get Wet?
Another common question people ask is whether or not smart film can get wet. The answer is that both privacy film and electric privacy glass can sustain exposure to moisture so long as they are installed correctly. Both products should be sealed along the edges with a non acetic silicone gel to protect the electrical components from contact with water. Once this step has been done, smart glass can be used anywhere from showers to outdoors in rainy conditions. However, if the glass will be in direct contact with water, we still would recommend using our smart film over the smart glass in these conditions.
In summary, while smart film is an excellent choice for interior spaces, it is not recommended for outdoor applications due to the risk of damage and a reduced lifespan. Smart glass, on the other hand, is specifically designed for both indoor and outdoor use and can provide many of the same benefits as smart film with added durability, protection, and temperature control. If you are unsure which solution is best for your project, our product advisors are happy to provide expert advice and help you find the perfect fit for your needs.
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