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"Ask the Expert" Offers Application Tips for Window Graphics


Mike Petrich, 3M Technical Service Specialist

Some customers have asked about the edges of window graphics lifting on their vehicle or store windows. It's usually a matter of not allowing adequate space around the edges during installation. Windows have dividers (mullions), which have gaskets that the glass is set into. The graphic cannot be applied to the gasket, as it will not adhere, causing the edge of the film to curl. Whenever a window graphic film is applied, it is necessary to cut it 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch away from the edge of the mullion.

Clear Advantage

One of the advantages of using new 3M™ Scotchcal™ Clear View Graphic Film IJ8150 on windows for a one-way vision effect is that you do not need to use an edge tape. Because there are no real holes in film IJ8150, it offers more adhesive contact, and is not prone to edges lifting.

Also, no holes means there is no place to collect dirt and water; therefore this film will maintain its see-through feature. An overlaminate is still a good idea though, to protect inks from abrasion and maintain warranties.

The same trimming technique applies to the installation of window graphics on vehicle windows. For perforated window films, it is required that you use an edge sealer. 3M™ Scotchcal™ Optically Clear Overlaminate 8914 Edge Sealer comes in 1/2-inch-wide rolls. As the name implies, this product seals exposed edges of compatible films to help prevent the film from lifting due to environmental exposure or cleaning.

Another question pertaining to window graphics is: "I can't see through the window graphic – what is happening?" What you are experiencing is dirt filling the holes on the film, thus making it difficult to see through. So when someone asks this question, it is most often because an overlaminate wasn't used over a perforated window graphic film. Although you can apply perforated window graphics without an overlaminate, this becomes a non-warranted application. For 3M™ MCS™ Warranty applications, you must use a specified overlaminate.

For more information on graphic materials, visit 3Mgraphics.com or locate a 3M distributor.