Selling Security Film…August 5th, 2021 by Bryan
And Following up with an Expert Install
By Jeff Franson
Selling and installing security window film has always been serious business. However, today, with the spotlight on securing schools and safeguarding our kids, our industry has an elevated responsibility to deliver these important solutions professionally while managing expectations of anxious parents and administrators.
Tackle the Big Three
There are three main phases necessary to a successful security film project and both affect the contractor and customer alike: Presentation, site assessment and installation services.
When presenting security window films, it’s critical that dealers clearly state what security films will and will not do. Within the industry, we all know window films (and advanced glazing) are not “bulletproof.” Nothing is. Unfortunately, prospects have other ideas based on videos of dubious origin across the Internet. The best way to avoid this pitfall is to make sure to ask the customer what their threat level is—what they are trying to defend against? You also need to know what their budget is.
If they’re looking to ‘stop’ bullets, it’s time for you to refer a ballistic glazing expert or invest in becoming one yourself. If the customer’s goal is ‘delay,’ then security window films are an effective and affordable part of any layered defense plan for buildings. If delay is the goal, then you’re the right person for the job. Still, don’t forget The Golden Rule for selling security window film performance—under promise—because creating a false sense of security could be deadly.
Once security window film has been identified as the proper solution intended to “delay” an attacker from entering a space, it’s time to confirm that the existing glass and glazing systems are suitable for anchored film protection. If you care about your customer, you should advise them against installing security film for active shooter mitigation without the proper anchor to the frame. Without suitable frames, it’s your responsibility to refer the customer to a solution better suited for existing conditions. If you’re using a caulk anchor, make sure to perform an adhesion compatibility test to ensure the caulk with bond properly to both the applied film and existing glazing frames.
Once your assessment has confirmed the suitability of the anchored film solution, it’s time to go to work. Job number one on any security film project is to make sure your project manager confirms application and aesthetic standards with the customer representative responsible for sign-off. Too many projects go sideways when a customer’s expectations are not met—and that’s your fault—not theirs. Utilize the third party IWFA-provided worksheet for installation quality and curing standards. Provide a ‘mock-up’ of a completed window with anchor so everyone is on the same page concerning what the ‘finished product’ looks like. Once agreement is made, make sure the entire installation meets or exceeds the approved mock-up.
An Expert Install
To follow is a high level overview of the process to install anchored security window film to meet written standards and (hopefully) some helpful hints to ensure a smooth project for you, your customers and installers.
1 Confirm exact glass size.
2 Measure the gasket to confirm an appropriate caulk bridge. Remove the gasket and use a backer rod as needed
3 Clean the glass wit a razor scraper, soap and water.
4 Clean the interior of glazing frames
5 Pre-cut the security film from film handler to exact glass opening.
6 Re-wet the cleaned glass thoroughly with soap and water.
7 Remove the film liner, wet adhesive side for easy mounting and apply to glass.
8 ‘Lock down’ the film on glass.
9 Evacuate water with the appropriate hard squeegee (multiple passes).
10 Thoroughly dry the window frames and filmed edge
11 Utilize an adhesion promoter to enhance the anchor bond
12 Tape the interior and exterior of the glass and frames to prep for a caulk bead
13 Apply a sufficient structural grade caulking to meet the performance spec.
14 Tool by hand and smooth the caulk bead for a professional, finished look
15 Remove and dispose of the masking tape after 1-2 minutes depending on humidity levels.
Presenting, assessing for and installing security window film requires a commitment to learn about real world threats and how glass and glazing frames respond to forced entry and ballistic attack. It’s critical to make sure your client has the right expectation of the film’s performance and that you confirm that security window film will meet their threat level. If not, take the time to learn about all the security glazing retrofit options available in the market today.
Jeff Franson is CEO of Window Film Depot in Marietta Ga. He will be speaking at the International Window Film Conference and Tint Off on September 4.
To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.