How is Automotive Window Film Different from Architectural Window Film?

Are there reasons you can’t put automotive window film on building glass? Or for that matter, architectural window film on a car? Find out if all window film is created equal.


Whether they’re just looking for a way to save money or are just curious, prospective customers may ask you what the difference is between automotive window film and architectural window film.

Here’s the main difference.

Automotive window films absorb solar energy, which means a car can actually grow warmer inside as the car sits idle.

The magic of creating interior comfort happens as the window’s absorbed heat radiates as the car drives down the road.

Architectural window film, of course, is used on stationary structures. If one tried to install automotive window film architecturally, you can imagine how the solar-absorbing auto film would prove detrimental to a home or office environment.

It’s for this reason that architectural flat glass is designed to reflect heat. In fact, if you were to try putting solar-energy-absorbing auto film onto flat glass, there’s a good chance heat buildup would cause the glass to break.

There are other differences. For example, automotive film is designed to be heat formed during installation, allowing the installer to shape the film as needed around the curvature of a vehicle’s windows.

Architectural film uses a different adhesive than automotive film. It is formulated to give an installer more control when positioning film on large glass surfaces.

If you’d like a handy reminder list that includes the differences between automotive and architectural window films, please download the content that accompanies this Madico U video.