I'm here to answer whatever questions you have about window tinting. This one comes up rather often when a customer is getting window film installed for the first time. Some think that we apply the glue to the film. The only thing we use in the installation process is distilled water with a mild liquid soap.
The window film has an adhesive layer that is protected by a clear liner. We remove the liner and wet the adhesive with our soapy water solution. Then we squeegee the product on the glass. The water allows the film to be applied to the glass without any air pockets. Once the moisture is dry, the adhesive is cured directly to the window.
There are two main types of adhesive
Dry Adhesive - This is a chemical coating on the film that is activated by the water. It takes longer to cure but can be more optically clear once it is dry. This creates a chemical bond with the glass and can be more difficult to remove than the pressure sensitive adhesive system. However, if it has not cured, the film can be removed very easily within the first week. Most residential films use this technology.
Pressure Sensitive - This is a sticky coating on the film that creates a mechanical bond with the glass. It tacks up to the window much faster than the dry adhesive. Removal is much easier than dry adhesive, especially on certain glass. Depending on the manufacturer this adhesive can decrease the clarity and run the risk of premature failure. There appears to be a number of different versions of this, as we have observed some last over 20 years on a home and some fail in less than one year.