One Way Mirror Film – What is it and how does it work?

A one-way mirror film is a type of window film that is a thin, multi-layered sheet of laminated material made from polyester. It is usually installed on the exterior or interior glass surfaces in homes, commercial buildings, automobiles, boats, etc.

This reflective window film gives a mirror-like effect when installed on any glass surface in residential and commercial buildings. It is commonly used as a window tint in homes and offices for daytime privacy, heat control, and protection from harmful UV rays.

Read on to know more about how a one-way mirror film works plus the benefits it provides to homes, offices, vehicles, and workplaces. Furthermore, you’ll also learn some of the little-known facts about this one-way mirror film for windows.

How does a one-way mirror window film work?

Visible Light Transmission

To understand how a one-way mirror window film works, we must first understand what is a VLT or Visible Light Transmission. The percentage of VLT in a glass film indicates how much light can pass through the film and window.    

A window film with 5% VLT on a glass window means there is only 5% of visible sunlight transmitted from outside the window to the room. 

The lower the VLT in a window film the lesser is the amount of sunlight allowed to pass through the glass window. Hence, the room with the lowest VLT installed on its glass window would be much darker than outside the house or building.

Here are the various percentage of VLT and the corresponding amount of light allowed to pass through:

  • 65% – very light
  • 50% – light
  • 35% – lightly dark
  • 15% – dark
  • 5% – very dark 

Reverse effect due to lighting conditions 

Many homeowners use the silver reflective window film for its one-way mirror effect. Also known as the one-way privacy film, it prevents outsiders from seeing what’s inside your home during the day.

However, one-way mirror window films do not provide night-time privacy as a change in lighting conditions reverses the mirror effect. 

During the day, when there is more light outdoors than indoors, outsiders won’t be able to see what’s inside a room through the window tint. Outsiders only see their reflection, hence the term “one-way mirror effect”. 

At nighttime, the situation is reversed, as there is more light indoors than outdoors, through the use of artificial indoor lighting. Outsiders can see what’s inside a room through the one-way mirror window film. 

In contrast, people indoors can see only a little of what’s outside the window or none at all depending on the lighting condition outside the house or building.

Where are one-way mirror films also used?

Aside from residential use, one-way mirror films are also used in:

  • Interrogation Room Applications
  • Commercial Applications
  • Automotive Vehicle Applications
  • Residential Homes & Garages

Interrogation Room Applications

We commonly see the use of one-way mirrors in police TV shows. A person and a police investigator are inside the interrogation room while the others are in the next room standing near a one-way mirror glass window looking in.  

One-way window film helps police investigators observe the behaviors of people being interrogated without being seen.

Commercial Applications

Aside from daytime privacy and decreased energy bill, offices need window films with anti UV properties to protect computers, desks, carpets, and other soft furnishings. 

Here’s a list of company types that require window film installation:  

  • Private businesses
  • Dealerships
  • Doctor’s office
  • Coffee shops
  • Churches
  • Credit unions and 
  • Insurance agents

Automotive Vehicle Applications

One-way mirror window films prevent other drivers and pedestrians from peeking into the interior of your car. Privacy window films help keep whatever valuables you have in your automobiles hidden from prying eyes. 

The Advantages of One Way Mirror Window Film

Maximized privacy 

Many people who have beautiful bedrooms or offices face the dilemma of choosing between giving up their privacy or using draperies to keep outsiders from glancing into their windows.   

Luckily, there’s a third option — privacy and solar heat control window films.  With window films, you can keep your privacy while letting the right amount of sunlight in to enjoy the view of your room.

Save on energy bills

Sun streaming through the window and into the room forces your air conditioner to work harder and thus use more energy. Window films can help reduce your energy bill by 50%. 


One-way glass films regulate the amount of solar heat that enters your room.

Reduced glare

Anyone working in an office or watching TV on a sunny afternoon knows how irritating a glare can be. Window films can reduce glare so no more headaches while watching TV or get work done on your PC without distractions.

Eliminate hot spots

A reflective film helps eliminate hot spots in old and new homes. Patterns of sunshine that enter a house cause hot spots, which makes some areas of a room warmer than other areas.   

Increased window glass strength

While window films cannot make your glass window completely shatterproof, they can help in increasing the chance of making the glass from getting cracked or broken.

How do you install a one-way mirror film?

Installing window films is the same as installing any other architectural films. 

  • Always make sure to get high-quality films from trusted brands. 
  • Look for the product information. 
  • Be sure you have the application kit as it will make it easier for you to install the window film.
  • You may opt for films with a static cling design that allow you to apply the films without the adhesives. 

Here’s the step-by-step DIY window film installation guide:

  1. Measure the area of the window. Cut the film according to the area of the window. 
  2. Create a slip solution. This will make the film shift into place and trigger the self-adhesive glue backing.
  3. Create the soapy water mixture and liberally spray on to the glass surface.
  4. Take the film and put it on the glass surface.
  5. Remove all the soap bubbles with a squeegee. To properly remove the air bubbles, start from the center and work your way outwards. 

Let us do the window tinting for your home improvement project!

You can do the installation yourself or you can leave the job to a professional for best results. At Solar Solutions, we have the largest variety of window films including privacy films and other decorative films. For quality service and professional installation CONTACT US TODAY!

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