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Why Small Cut Samples of Window Film can be Misleading


“Can you send a sample?” – A question we are often asked.

Uninstalled Window Film Samples are a particular challenge for us as they look very different to a completed installation, and can therefore be highly misleading. It effectively means that cut samples are useless as a means of assessing what a complete finished installation will look like.

We do have samples and do often send them out, but this is only really to installation professionals who wish to assess the physical attributes of the product such as ease of installation, adhesion, backing sheet removal, etc. Cut samples are very much used as a physical rather than a visual assessment of products.


Comparing like for like

The appearance of window film changes based on the amount and location of lighting, and as such we must remember to compare like for like. A loose sample on a table (or window) looks worlds apart from a fully completed installation of the same product.


Here is a photo of a completed installation, and then a sample of the same product uninstalled.

(Note: This is the DARKEST product we do in our entire range! Notice how light it still actually is.)


And the same product (front and back), not installed:

The loose samples look nothing like the completed installation. They appear MUCH darker.

Even when viewing a fully completed pane, a partially completed area can be misleading compared to the end result:




The completed installation appears much lighter than the partially completed installation.

The reason for this is due to how our eyes work.

Our eyes naturally adjust to different light levels. If we are looking at a pane with a small sample on, our eyes are dimming the whole area, so that we can cope with the amount of light still coming through the “non-filmed” areas. Our eyes dim the whole area, including the film, which as a result appears darker than it actually is.
Once the entire area is covered with film, our eyes are better protected, and don’t need to dim the area as much. The whole area appears brighter.

This happens every time with window film, and is why loose samples can be misleading. We therefore try to avoid sending out loose samples altogether.


What will the completed installation look like?

If you are keen to get a feel of how the finished installation will look, photographs and videos of similar installations are best. We have hundreds of case studies covering a wide range of installations so we will be able to show you how a range of films appear when installed. Simply ask a member of our sales team and these can be sent across.


Still want samples?

If you still need samples for whatever reason, we can of course send these out. However, remember to take into account that the completed installation will be much, much lighter than how the sample appears – even when held up against the window.

We’re perfectly placed to help, whatever your requirement. Take a look at our extensive range of products and services, or gain more insight into our solutions by reading our case studies and articles.

ARC Window Films

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Unit 1, ARC Business Park, Sankey Valley Industrial Estate, Newton-le-Willows, WA12 8AT

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