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The Sun's Elements That Cause Fading

Do all films cut out 99.9% of the U.V. rays, and if they do, will I get maximum fade protection?

Wood Fading

Not too many years ago, window film manufacturers did not take fading as seriously as they do today. That's why many window film manufacturers sell the feature of 99% U.V. fade protection. If you really want to educate yourself on fading of interiors, read this entire page, and you will be able to make a more educated decision on how you can protect the interior in your home.

From our experience in the window film business two things that some window film contracting companies do over and over again (and we are not trying to "bash" our competition) can mislead good paying customers:

Curbside Appeal:

1. Some film contractors sell the fact that their films cut out 99.9% of the U.V. rays without actually demonstrating to the customer how much of the U.V. radiation they are actually cutting out. They typically point it out on the manufacturer's sample card the U.V. protection. It goes like "And as you can see on the sample card, this film cuts out 99.9% of the Ultraviolet rays which will stop the fading of your furniture" . Our approach: We bring out actual samples off a roll with the sample card or install a sample on the glass and measure how much U.V. is filtered out with the different films. You would be surprised how much of a difference there is between what some manufacturers claim and what the the U.V. meter reads. (We won't mention names here).

2. We have found that most customers that want maximum fade protection (meaning they don't want any fading), and also want the absolute lightest and clearest film available in the market place. Some competitors just sell what the customer wants and tell them that since 99% of the U.V. rays are cut out you can let as much light in as possible, and your furnishings will be protected. Our answer: Chances are if you have standard non-laminated or most manufactured dual pane windows, a super light or clear film will not give you maximum fade protection.

How does each element cause fading?

UV damage to carpet
UV Light:

The sun’s ultraviolet light spectrum is responsible for 40% of the fading which occurs, and can be very harmful to human skin. High grade window films can cut up to 99.9% of the U.V. A&B spectrum from entering the home once the film is installed. U.V. light can come into a window that is not directly receiving sun. U.V. rays bounce and scatter and once they enter the home, they will bounce off your walls and hit your furnishings, which may fade very sensitive items.

Visible Light:

The sun’s visible light spectrum is responsible for 25% of the fading which occurs. On a window film parameter sheet, V.L.T (visible light transmission) shows how much light is coming through the glass once the film is applied. Some customers may want their films to be as light as possible. We caution these customers, that if fading is very important, look at films that are less reflective and not the lightest (see chart below for the optimum choice for fade protection).


The direct heat from the sun is responsible for 25% of interior fading. The convection of energy swirling around a carpet, wood floor or painting, can stir up atoms that cause a friction on the surface of an area. Direct heat from the sunlight can be reduced dramatically by choosing the right film. On a window film sample card or spec sheet, the higher the Total Solar Energy Rejection or the lower the Shading Coefficient, the more direct heat you will stop from coming through your windows. Infrared light is a major source of heat. That's why it is important to investigate how much infrared light is rejected, to prevent direct heat from damaging your furnishings.

Faded Carpet
Example of color fading

These are the causes of fading spectrum that cannot be addressed by film selection. Certain electrical lighting and chemicals in the air such as perfumes, cleaners and even salty air can all be a contributing factor to fading of certain items.


Conclusion: Generally speaking , if you have the right window film installed mixed with the right windows, you can dramatically slow fading down to a minimum. This will allow you to enjoy and prolong the life of your furnishing.

Specific (Branded) Films

Below is a chart of branded and types of films you may want to consider if fading is a major concern mixed with aesthetic look of the film once it is installed on the glass:

What the consumer wants

What film may work best

I want maximum fade protection, I don’t mind a medium darkness as long as it has low-reflectivity and is not shiny Huper Optik Drei (High Performance)
Huper Optic Ceramic 30
I don’t care if the film is shiny outside, but I do care if the film is shiny inside Dual Reflective Films:
  3M night vision 25-35
  Hanita Optitune 40-30
I don’t care how dark or shiny it is, I just want maximum fade protection Dual Reflective Films:
  3M NV 15
  Hanita Optitune 15
  Vista V-14
  Silver 20 (multiple manufaucturers)
Lightest film possible and best fade protection. Huper Optik Sech (High Performance)
I’ll choose a low reflective film over the lightest film, if I have better fade protection Huper Optik Ceramic 40 (our most popular for fading and maintaining view)
I am kind of on a budget, but I still want it as light as possible as long as it stops 95%- 99% of the U.V. rays. Standard Films:
   3M Re50,70 neutral
   Lumar n1050,70
   Hanita Cold Steel 50,70
   Madico Sg-550
   Solar Guard stainless steel 50,70
I don’t care if the film is shiny inside (at night) or outside (during the day), as long as I am getting maximum fade protection

Standard Films:
   3M P-18, RE-35
   Nearl Lumar R20 Silver
   Madico SRS-220,330Silver
   Hanita 20 Silver, Cold Steel 35