The Truth About Smart Glass and Film
While switchable glass and film are innovative products, there are a few things you should be aware of before purchasing them. Discover what most smart glass manufacturers aren’t telling you and how to avoid low quality smart glass and film.
Switchable glass is the biggest innovation to come to glass technology in over a century. Both smart glass and film go from clear to frosted when powered on and off. Now, glass can be installed with built-in privacy or you can apply smart film to the surface of existing glass, transforming it into smart glass. While switchable glass technology may seem like magic and the ideal solution, there are a few things you should know before purchasing smart glass or film.
Watch this video and keep reading to better understand how smart PDLC glass works, its limitations and the value it offers beyond privacy.
When privacy glass is switched to clear, there can be a slight milkiness that we refer to as haze. This cannot be avoided because of the PDLC crystals that give the glass it’s switchable properties. These crystals act as tiny droplets that reflect the light and create some haze. Under normal lighting conditions, smart glass will look perfectly clear when powered on. Any haze will be most obvious under uneven lighting conditions and artificial light.
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize this haze. With a high quality product, this haze will barely be noticeable. Smart Glass Country’s products have a haze rating below 4 percent, which is the best on the market. Lower quality PDLC films may be hazier due to an uneven distribution of PDLC crystals throughout the film and cheap plastics. Any haze can be made less visible by optimizing lighting conditions.
Smart glass and film are not as cheap as buying a standard set of curtains. Smart glass costs $80-100 dollars per square foot and smart film costs $25-40 per square foot. While you may come across some PDLC films being sold at cheap prices overseas, this is usually for a reason. Many of these films are thinner, more prone to damage and difficult to install.
If you are considering privacy glass as an option for your windows, walls or doors it is helpful to consider it’s overall value, as smart glass offers many other benefits in addition to providing privacy. Our smart glass is laminated and tempered, comes with built-in soundproofing and minimizes heat gain.
Here is a breakdown of how much each of these features would cost if purchased separately:
Tempered glass = 10$/sqft
Laminated glass = $15 per sqft
Smart glass blocks 99% of UV light
Cost of UV protection= $12 per sqft
Smart glass blocks 73% of Infrared light
Cost of heat gain reduction treatment= $15 per sqft
Privacy glass includes built in soundproofing
Cost of sound reduction glass= $100 per sqft
Smart glass is as convenient as motorized blinds
Motorized blinds= $50 per sqft
It can also be used as a whiteboard or rear projection screen.
Whiteboard= $5 per sqft
Projection screen= $10 per sqft
The total value of all these features bought separately is $217 dollars per square foot.
High quality smart glass combines all these properties and costs 60 % less.
SMART FILM IS MORE PRONE TO DAMAGE
Smart film is not recommended for outdoor use, moisture prone areas and public spaces where vandalism is common. While our smart film is made with the best materials available, it still is an electric device and may become damaged if exposed to excessive moisture and should not be used outdoors. Privacy film can be used indoors in moisture prone areas and cleaned with liquids so long as the edges are covered with silicon to prevent damage.
The busbar area is the most delicate part of the film, as this is where the wires connect. If it is damaged the film will no longer switch from clear to frosted. So you should pay extra attention to this area and handle it with care.
Like any plastic, smart film can be scratched by dogs, cats or small children. If you are installing privacy film on a window or door that your pets or young children will constantly be in contact with, you will want to place a protective liner over top of the film to protect it from scratches.
We recommend purchasing smart glass for high traffic areas, public spaces and glass surfaces that are exposed to the outdoors. With smart glass, the PDLC film is sandwiched between two pieces of laminated and tempered safety glass, which protects it from damage. This is also why our warranty for our switchable glass is 3 years and our warranty for the switchable film is 1 year.
Some privacy films will slowly discolour as they are exposed to UV light and become yellowish. However, high quality window films will not yellow with the sun and will always look clear.
Low quality smart film can easily become delaminated. One factor that can lead to delamination is the peeling strength of the film. A high quality film will have a strong PDLC glue that keeps the layers of the film stuck together, lower quality films may have poor adhesives and peel apart- even when in storage.
Delamination can also occur during smart film installation. These common mistakes, such as trimming the film with a dull blade, can easily be avoided and we provide thorough installation instructions to ensure smart film is installed successfully.
Now you know the truth about privacy film and glass. For more information please explore our website or contact us and we will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with a free estimate.
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