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Window Glazing Versus Window Film: What’s the Difference?

By October 5, 2022Window Film
window glazing vs window film

When it comes to glass windows and doors, it pays to know the ins and outs. These gateways to our lives are opportunities to welcome in light and rebuke unwanted heat or cold drafts. We have to work with windows and doors to get the most out of them. Doing so happens when we educate ourselves and act accordingly.

First and foremost, there is a distinct difference between window glazing and window film. Knowing what each option is and how it benefits property owners allows us to get the most bang for our buck. Let’s consider this a brief tutorial on the creation and implementation of glass windows and films.

Window glazing

Window glazing is the glass inside of a window, not the window or frame itself. That glass can be single, double, or triple-glazed. If you are thinking, “Isn’t that supposed to be single pane, double pane, or triple pane?” You are correct. We generally refer to this difference with the description “pane.” The term “glazing” is more commonly used by those in the industry.

In some scenarios, window glazing can also refer to the putty that holds the glass in place. In other instances, you may hear laymen refer to the installation of the glass into the window with putty as glazing. It can be confusing, but now you know the numerous ways the term “glazing” is used. As a result, you can better discern what is intended when the phrase is used according to prevailing circumstances.

Glazing compound

Glazing compound is a putty used to hold pieces of glass into place in window frames, often referred to as sashes. This compound can enhance the energy efficiency of older windows by stopping drafts from passing through and sealing the space between the glass and the sash.

You may also hear a window installer refer to this part of the installation process as “glazing.” Hang out with an installer long enough and you will quickly be able to determine the exact type of glazing they are referring to according to where they are in the process of installation.

Types Of Window Glazing

There are four general types of window glazing; single glaze, double glaze, triple glaze, and low-E glaze. Each adds an additional layer of insulation and energy efficiency.

Single Glaze

Not so long ago, a single glazed window was the only type of pane available. We still find them in older homes today. Most home buyers will immediately replace them as they are the least energy-efficient choice and offer little to no insulation during fluctuating temperatures. Essentially, a single pane window contains a single sheet of glass.

Because single-glazed windows fail to adequately regulate temperatures within the home, we rarely use them in new builds today. The inability to provide true insulation within a structure means that HVAC systems run harder than necessary and can also cause undue wear and tear on these units and equate to higher energy bills. As we move closer to a carbon-neutral future, energy efficiency takes precedence. Consequently, single pane glazing may be on its way out.

Double Glaze

A double glazed or double pane window contains two sheets of glass that have a space between them. That space is most often filled with argon gas to provide greater insulation. This is a non-toxic, odorless gas that is considered a poor heat conductor compared to air, making it better at insulating. (In this case, you actually want a poor performer!)

Double glazed is currently the most common type of glazing installed in commercial buildings or homes. It’s understandably more affordable than triple glaze or three-pane windows.

Triple Glaze

Triple glaze, more commonly referred to as triple pane windows, contain three sheets of glass with argon gas between them. This type of glazing offers the best insulation available in a window. Typically, it is found in colder climates that require extra insulation. The reason it isn’t more frequently used is because it is more expensive than other options.

Low-E Glaze

Low-emissivity glaze, also known as low-E glaze, is a type of glass that is coated in an invisible layer of metallic oxide. This helps prevent heat from passing through the glass by reflecting ultraviolet rays back to the atmosphere. Thus, this glaze is highly energy efficient and sought after in areas with more extreme temperatures.

Low-E glaze can be used on double pane or triple pane windows without making the window itself heavier. Windows that have low-E glaze may carry a higher price tag than their non-coated counterparts. However, these costs are typically recovered through the reduction in utility bills that result following install.

Low-E glaze isn’t tinted and allows visible sunlight to shine through and brighten the room. In addition, Low-E glaze protects the home’s occupants from ultraviolet rays. It can also help prevent fading of your interior furnishings and artwork from the sun’s infrared rays.

Another benefit for commercial buildings is to opt into coatings that maximize the heat transmitted from the outside, as this solar heat gain can reduce heating costs in colder climates. In contrast, low solar gain coatings can be used to keep cooling costs to a minimum in hotter climates.

Glazing Compound

Glazing compound is a putty used to hold pieces of glass into place in older window sashes. This compound is particularly helpful in enhancing energy efficiency. Older windows are often drafty and glazing compound acts as a sealant in the space between the glass and the sash. It is not used in modern windows. Instead, it is a solution for older windows that need a boost when an owner can’t afford to replace them.

Glazing compound can last for years, even decades depending on the quality of the installation and the putty itself. Keep an eye out for cracking though. This is when you need to replace the glazing putty.

Window films

Window films are a somewhat recent artform in comparison to windows themselves. With too many options to count, window films have changed our relationship with both glass and light. Now we can implement privacy, solar protection and heat reduction with an array of window film options.

Because we still have single pane glass in so many existing structures, ensuring that those windows or doors are properly protected requires action. The bad news is replacing glass windows can be quite costly. The good news is window films provide numerous forms of protection at a much more cost-effective rate.

Applying window films can be a mere third of the expense that replacing glass windows or doors would be. Consequently, your return on investment maybe three years or less. Due to the recent Inflation Reduction Act legislation, it’s plausible to have your window film installation process reimbursed via a tax credit. This is an incredible opportunity to provide your building or storefront with the privacy or solar protection that it needs.

Redesign with privacy window films

Twenty-first-century window films include an array of privacy films that can be used as a form of décor. Often frosted, but also available in prints, privacy window films have found a place in office design. Whether you are adding much-needed privacy to glass conference room walls or creating a spa-like experience for your employees on office dividers, there is a privacy film option that will take your breath away.

The 3M™ Fasara™ line has options that mimic nature, including stones or bamboo, and are stunning. These elegant privacy window films are a step above frosted glass in both design and creativity. 3M has hundreds of options and updates their Fasara line annually. If you can dream it, we can achieve it!

Premier Retrofit Glazing Solutions

Now that you’ve had a mini-tutorial on window glazing versus window films you are better prepared to choose the best solutions for your current commercial building or other property. Whether glazing or adding a window tint specific to your needs, the right option is out there.

NGS, (National Glazing Solutions) is the leading graphics and window film contractor and installer in the nation. Our expertise and reputation afford our clients the best of care from beginning to end of service. We take your satisfaction seriously.

If you are pursuing glazing or window tinting solutions, let us help guide you through the process. We offer complimentary building assessments that use digital analysis for both solar and security protection. To learn more about what we do watch our webinar on the services offered.

NGS Product Demonstration
Hosted by  James Beale
Join our 15-minute virtual product demonstration to learn how our products and services can help you make your buildings better. Plus, watch us put Riot Glass™ to the test with a sledgehammer!


Feature Photo by Amel Majanovic 

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