Gila Window Film

Review of Window Film and Application Kit

View of skis, out the window of a hut.
Daniel Milchev / Getty Images

Whenever you encounter a replacement window salesperson, the one selling point they keep harping on is that "these windows will pay for themselves," from the energy savings. They don't tell you these savings are amortized over many years. If at all.

But how about saving energy without spending $425 per window? Does a couple of bucks per window sound better? Don't you think the product will pay for itself then?

This is one of the strongest selling points for low-e window film.

Window Film Basics

Window film reflects the majority of the sun's heat coming through your windows. Not only that, it can do the opposite: in winter, it helps your house retain heat.

In addition, window film blocks exterior glare--important if you live on a busy street--and reduces fading of carpeting, fabrics, and just about anything else affected by UV rays.

Window film will not:

  • Block sound
  • Reduce drafts
  • Provide insulation

What Does Gila Window Film Look Like?

The version of Gila Window Film that I reviewed is the Platinum All-Season Heat Control Film LES 361. Who cares about all those numbers? You'll see in a minute.

Each package contains a roll of film that is 3 feet by 15 feet. In its rolled-up state, Gila Window Film looks reflective and silvery. Don't despair; your house will not look like an office park. On the window, the film has only a slight tint--no mirror effect at all.

Is Gila Window Film Hard to Apply?

In the sample package provided by Gila, I also received the Gila Window Film Application Kit RTK 500, containing a squeegee handle, squeegee refill blade, edging tool, utility knife, lint cloth, and application solution.

Even though you may have some of these items in your toolbox, the application kit is worth purchasing for those things you decidedly do not have: edger tool, solution, and maybe even the squeegee.

Gila Window Film is no more difficult to apply than any other window film. You do need a large, clean, flat working surface and a long straightedge I have a 48" drywall square, which works great for this type of thing. Cut the film slightly larger than the glass.

The film is slippery and does take some patience (do not apply when you're on the tail end of a caffeine bender).

The best part? No sticky-sticky adhesive to worry about. Spray the solution, lay down the film, readjust as needed, cut the excess, and that's about it. You can even pull up and reapply as long as 3-5 days after initial application.

The Inside Scoop from Gila

Dan Birkenmeier, Sales and Marketing Manager for Gila, tells us the following:

  • Gila Window Film can "last as long as five to seven years, depending on the homeowner's location." So, Phoenicians may expect shorter lifespans for their Gila, while Seattleites may be able to celebrate their Gila film's seventh birthday.
  • The reason for that ugly cracking you see on most window films is due to degradation of the films' adhesive from UV rays. Gila's adhesives are specially formulated to withstand adhesive discoloration and cracking.

Finally, note that Gila is owned by CPFilms, Inc., itself a subsidiary of Solutia Group. My searches for Gila Window Film turned up a lot of products with names like "Generic Gila Window Film." So, make sure that your Gila Window Film comes from CPFilms, Inc. and that it is product #LES 361 and the application kit #RTK 500 (for the products in this review).