Last updated: August 5, 2021

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Mirror, mirror on the wall or rather on the window? Unlike conventional glass mirrors, mirror film has a few more functions, it is a little all-rounder. It not only reflects its surroundings, but also ensures pleasant temperatures in the room. It keeps out unwanted glances and offers you the opportunity to be creative in your living space.

With our large mirror film test 2021 we want to support you in choosing your mirror film. For this purpose, we have looked at different models and types of mirror films and worked out the most important criteria. In the course of the article, you will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of mirror films. Enjoy reading.




Summary

  • Mirror film comes in two different varieties: Window film and decorative film. Window film can usually be applied to the inside or outside of your windows and glass doors. Decorative mirror film, on the other hand, is only suitable for interior use.
  • Both types of film can only be applied to smooth surfaces. Glass, tiles, wood, plastic and also walls are suitable. For coating, there are wet and dry application methods.
  • Window mirror films have various additional functions such as privacy and heat protection. This makes them an inexpensive and uncomplicated option for retrofitting door and window fronts in existing buildings.

The Best Mirror Film: Our Selection

Buying and evaluation criteria for mirror films

When looking for the right mirror film, you may be overwhelmed by the large selection. In the following, we would like to show you which criteria you should consider before buying mirror film. This will make it easier for you to choose the right film.

The aspects that you can use to compare mirror films with each other are:

In the following, we will go into further detail on the criteria mentioned.

Application

The technique of application depends on the condition of the surface to which you want to stick your mirror film. A distinction is made between application to a damp and dry surface.

Check whether the surface is smooth and sealed, then it is usually insensitive to moisture.

If the surface is not sealed, moisture can penetrate and cause damage. There are two main differences in the handling of mirror films.

Method of application In practice
Wet bonding 1. Cleaning the surface

2. Moistening the surface

3. Applying the mirror film

4. Wipe out moisture and air bubbles

Stick dry 1. Loosen backing paper

2. Attaching the mirror film

This way you can decide whether the mirror film is suitable for the surface you want to apply it to. When buying a mirror film, make sure that it can be used for the respective application technique.

Surfaces

Mirror film can be applied to a variety of surfaces. While it usually serves a special purpose on windows and glass doors, it is primarily used for decorative purposes on furniture or walls.

However, not all surfaces are suitable for mirror film.

Wood

Wood is a suitable surface for self-adhesive mirror film or decorative film. The prerequisite for this is that the wood surface must be smooth. In addition, it must be made dust- and grease-free and dry before applying the film.

You can apply mirror film to the following types of wood:

  • Solid wood
  • Plywood
  • Chipboard
  • Raw chipboard
  • OSB boards

In general, the smoother the wood surface, the better the mirror film will adhere to it.

Glass / Tiles

Glass and tiles are the classic substrates for mirror film because of their smooth and even surface structure. Windows and doors are therefore ideal for being covered with a reflective film.

You can also work with mirror films on tiled surfaces. The various manufacturers offer mirror films especially for indoor and outdoor use. Grease and dirt on the glass surface negatively affect the final result.

Use glass cleaner and a dry, lint-free cloth to keep the surface clean.

Plastic

Similar to glass, plastic surfaces can also be extremely smooth. This means that plastic surfaces are also among the substrates on which you can apply mirror film very well.

In the category "plastic surfaces", mirror film is often used on the visor of your ski, snowboard or motorbike helmet or on veneered furniture. The plastic surface must be free of grease and dust before you can apply the mirror film.

Wall

You can also redesign your wall with self-adhesive mirror film. As described above, only smooth surfaces are suitable for mirror film. Therefore, it is not possible to apply mirror film to all walls. Textured plaster, woodchip wallpaper or exposed brick walls are therefore not suitable as substrates.

If you intend to apply mirror film to a smooth and even wall, nothing stands in the way of your project.

Functions / properties

Mirror films can have other useful properties and functions in addition to the function already contained in their name, i.e. reflection. Sometimes several of these characteristics are combined in one film.

Privacy protection

Mirror film on windows and doors is often used as a privacy screen. Due to the transparency on one side, the openness of a glass surface is maintained. At the same time, the film prevents unwanted views into the room.

Due to the reflective properties of the mirror film, light rays, mostly sunlight, are prevented from entering the room.

The view into the room is made even more difficult because other bright objects in the environment are also reflected in the film. The one-way privacy of mirror film has also earned it the name "spy film".

However, mirror film does not offer you complete privacy. There are two exceptions:

Someone stands very close to the window pane covered with mirror film and forms a darkened peephole with his hands.
As soon as it is dark outside and there is light behind the film, it becomes possible to see inside from the outside.

Generally speaking, mirror films always make it more difficult to see from the lighter to the darker surroundings.

Heat protection / thermal insulation / UV protection

Especially in summer, large glass surfaces, such as those of skylights or conservatories, are often accompanied by high temperatures inside. This is due to the greenhouse effect, which causes excessive heat to build up in the room.

The temperature can rise so high that you find it uncomfortable.

Here, too, the mirror film provides a remedy. Depending on its composition, the film filters UV-A and UV-B radiation. After coating the glass surfaces, up to 80 percent less sun rays enter the room. Less sunlight also means less heat.

Light transmission, or LT for short, indicates how much solar radiation a mirror film allows through.

The value is measured in percent. The brighter a mirror film is, the greater its light transmission, i.e. the more light it lets through. Keep in mind at this point that mirror films deflect sunlight all year round. This also applies in winter.

You may have to start heating earlier.

Optical enlargement

Mirror film on walls provides an optical enlargement of the room due to its reflective properties. The available light is collected and makes the room appear brighter and larger.

This effect is used particularly often in small rooms and rooms with little incidence of light.

Durability / Service life

Depending on their quality, mirror films have different lifespans. The higher the quality, the longer the properties of the film are retained. On average, the durability of interior films is 10 to 20 years.

Outdoors, the lifespan of mirror films is somewhat shorter, as they are exposed to greater stress through weather and environmental influences. Here you have to replace the mirror film after about 5 to 15 years. Depending on the supplier, the specifications can vary greatly.

You can positively influence the life of your mirror film through good maintenance. This includes thorough cleaning at least once a year.

The warranty for your mirror film is usually somewhat shorter. For exterior films, various manufacturers offer a warranty of between 2.5 and 10 years. The lifespan of interior mirror films is guaranteed by the manufacturer for between 5 and 15 years.

Size / Dimensions

You can buy mirror film by the metre. There are different lengths and widths. Basically, a distinction is made between window film and decorative film. Common widths are:

  • Decorative foil: 40 cm, 50 cm or 58 cm
  • Window film: 40 cm, 60 cm, 76 cm or 90 cm

The length can often be individually determined for yard goods.

Especially for interiors, mirror foil is already available for purchase as tiles. There is a wide range of sizes for mirror tiles. You can find formats with 15 x 15 cm, 23 x 15 cm or 21 x 30 cm. The manufacturers often base the dimensions on common tile formats.

In addition to the tile shape, you will also find a variety of prefabricated shapes and motifs made of mirror foil. The selection is large and ranges from geometric shapes such as circles and hexagons to lettering and animal motifs such as butterflies and fish.

Mirror film is also available as custom-made products. The film is then cut exactly to the size you need. This applies to both window films and decorative films. Of course, you can also cut your own custom-made mirror film from appropriately sized yard goods at any time.

Colours / Patterns

In addition to the classic chrome or silver, there are films in the following colours and patterns:

Mirror film in colour:

  • silver
  • blue
  • green
  • brown
  • black
  • red
  • gold
  • copper

Pattern of mirror foil:

  • chequered
  • striped
  • dotted

Mirror film designs are diverse and colourful in the truest sense of the word.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying mirror film

If you are thinking about coating windows, furniture or other objects with mirror film, there are a few things you need to know. In the following, we have collected and answered frequently asked, useful questions on the subject of mirror film for you.

On which surfaces can mirror film be applied?

All smooth and even surfaces are suitable for coating with mirror film. The classic is glass. Mirror film adheres particularly well to glass windows and doors. The display of many smartphones is also made of glass and can therefore be easily covered with mirror film. Smooth tiles are another good surface for the film.

Plastic is also suitable for applying mirror film. The visor of your helmet, furniture or displays are examples.

Spiegelfolie-1

In winter sports, mirror film on your visor protects your eyes by reflecting the light rays.
(Image source: Matt Pet / unspleash)

You can use self-adhesive mirror film on smooth wood. It is important that the surface is as even as possible so that the film fits well. If the wood surface is too rough, you can try sanding it first. Afterwards, it is important to clean it thoroughly. Dust, moisture and grease have a negative effect on the durability of the mirror film.

You can even cover your walls with mirror film. Here too, however, you must make sure that the surface is not too uneven. On the one hand, the mirror film simply does not adhere well enough because it has too little contact surface.

On the other hand, a surface that is too uneven will cause too much distortion of the reflection.

Decorative film is suitable for walls and wooden surfaces. Window film is used for glass and plastic surfaces. Make sure that the film is suitable for exterior or interior use.

Who is mirror film suitable for?

Mirror film is basically suitable for everyone. The handling requires a little practice at the beginning, but the result is all the more convincing afterwards. Special technical knowledge is not required.

At the beginning, smaller surfaces are best, as they are easier to cover with mirror film.

Spiegelfolie-2

Mirror film on windows serves as a privacy screen. No one can see into the room from outside.
(Image source: Wilhelm Gunkel / unspleash)

As already described, mirror film has a number of functions that can be particularly useful for glass doors and windows. Once you have applied mirror film there, it offers you privacy, heat and UV protection. Therefore, use mirror film to retrofit existing glass surfaces.

The windows of older buildings are usually not yet made of solar control glass. By coating them with mirror film, you reduce light transmission. This keeps your rooms pleasantly cool even in summer.

Coated vehicle windows require a general operating permit.

The same is possible for your car or caravan windows. The mirror film lets less sunlight into the vehicle, so the temperature rises more slowly. It also prevents outsiders from seeing into your car or caravan.

The application of mirror film in the driver's field of vision is prohibited:

  • Windscreen
  • Side windows between A- and B-pillar

The application of mirror film outside the driver's field of vision is permitted:

  • Side windows behind B-pillar
  • Rear window

Mirror film is also ideal for you if you don't want to show everyone what you are doing on your mobile phone, tablet or laptop. You can buy films with a privacy function for almost every model.

Mirror film optically enlarges small rooms. This makes it perfect for you if you want a more open feeling of space, but your flat doesn't have any more room. On your walls, it provides more light in the room and gives it a feeling of more depth.

At the same time, installing mirror film is far less time-consuming than installing a real mirror. It is only glued and does not require any drilling, screws or dowels. At the same time, it is less expensive than a real mirror.

Mirror foil also visually enlarges the room on your tiles. At the same time, it changes the look of the tiled wall and thus provides variety in your home.

Mirror film is perfect for you if your furniture has become too boring. Maybe the wooden front of your shelf isn't quite as nice to look at anymore.

To save money and avoid having to buy new furniture, give your furniture a new look.

How is mirror film applied?

There are several things to consider when applying mirror film. First of all, the thinner your mirror film is, the quicker it will crease and wrinkle. Thicker mirror films are therefore easier to apply. The larger the surface to be covered, the more difficult it is to apply the mirror film without bubbles and creases.

Before applying the film, you also have to distinguish between wet and dry application. We show you step by step what is important in both variants.

Apply mirror film at cooler temperatures. This makes installation easier. Optimal temperatures are 15 to 20° C.

Wet application:

You need the following materials for the wet application of mirror film:

  • Lint-free, soft cloth
  • Glass cleaner or spirit
  • Spray bottle with washing-up liquid (2 drops of washing-up liquid to 1 litre of water)
  • Rubber or felt squeegee
  • Optional: Cutter knife

If your mirror film does not yet have the right dimensions, cut it to the desired size using a cutter knife. Then you can start with the actual application.

  1. Cleaning the surface: Clean the surface on which you want to apply the mirror film very thoroughly. To do this, go to the corners of the window or glass door. Glass cleaner or spirit is particularly suitable for this. Then dry the surface with a lint-free cloth. No more dust particles or lint should be visible on the glass surface.
  2. Moisten the surface: Spray the glass surface with your spray bottle so that it is evenly moist. It is better to have too much moisture than too little. This will prevent bubbles from forming later.
  3. Removing the transfer film: A transfer film is attached to the back of your mirror film. First remove the first third of the transfer film from the mirror film. Spray the adhesive side of the film that has now become free with the washing-up liquid.
  4. Position the mirror film: Place the removed mirror film on the upper edge of the glass pane. Don't worry, you can adjust the position of the film with the liquid. When the position is correct, remove the rest of the transfer film. Hold the area that is stuck on tightly so that the position of the mirror film does not change again. Again, spray water onto the surface. Now let the mirror film adhere completely to the glass.
  5. Remove excess liquid: Now use your squeegee. Use the squeegee to wipe off excess liquid from the centre to the outside. At the same time, press the mirror film against the glass. In this way, you also remove trapped air and bubbles from the film. Carefully dry up the water that escapes at the edges with a cloth. Depending on the ambient temperature, your wet-applied mirror film must dry for 8 to 24 hours.

With these 5 steps, mirror film can be applied easily and without any problems.

Dry bonding:

The dry application of your mirror film is somewhat simple. You need the following materials:

  • Cutter knife
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Ruler

First, cut the mirror film to the required size. Depending on the manufacturer, there are guide lines on the back of the transfer film. These make it easier for you to make straight cuts. Put on the ruler and cut the mirror film into the desired shape with the cutter knife.

  1. Clean the surface: In order for your self-adhesive mirror film to stick to the wall or piece of furniture, you first have to clean it. To do this, use a lint-free dry cloth. If you need to remove coarse dirt, use a damp sponge. Make sure that you allow the surface to dry completely before you start applying the stickers. The surface should be dry and free of grease and lint.
  2. Position the mirror film: Now remove the transfer or protective film from your mirror film a few centimetres from the upper edge. This will prevent the film from sticking together. Carefully press the adhesive side onto the desired surface. Use the soft cloth to smooth the mirror film from the inside to the outside. When the first part is firm, peel off another piece of the transfer foil and stick it on. Do this until the entire mirror film is stuck to your wall or furniture.

Whether dry or wet application - especially if you have little experience in applying mirror film, a second pair of hands can't hurt.

What does mirror film cost?

The price of your mirror film varies greatly depending on the size, quality, function and area of application. Decorative film is cheaper than window film. Mirror films for indoor use cost less on average than films for outdoor use. When buying your film, make sure it is of good quality. It has a considerable influence on the life of the film.

Type of mirror film price
Interior fixed film 5 to 190 euros per m²
Exterior fixed film 5 to 230 euros per m²

Especially in comparison to large-area custom-made mirrors or heat-insulating windows, mirror film is a cost-effective alternative.

  • Costs for custom-made mirrors: 50 to 70 euros per m²
  • Costs for heat protection film: from 150 euros per m²

Additional costs are incurred for the installation of the windows if you have to rely on external services.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of mirror film?

Mirror film has some advantages. At the same time, the film has to make some concessions in other points. We have summarised the advantages and disadvantages for you in the following table.

Advantages
  • Easy to apply, as no drilling is necessary
  • Low price
  • Robust material
  • Various designs available
  • Very light weight
  • Additional functions
Disadvantages
  • Reflection sometimes blurred
  • Not suitable for all surfaces
  • Large surfaces require practice
  • Often does not look valuable

The mirror film is very easy to apply. However, the reflection can sometimes be blurred.

How do I clean mirror film?

You should pay attention to these points when cleaning:

  • The first step is to clean the exterior mirror film with running water. This loosens coarse dirt.
  • Always use damp cloths or sponges.
  • Do not use aggressive cleaning or scouring agents. These attack the mirror film and leave scratches on the surface.
  • Glass cleaners and washing-up liquid are ideal for cleaning the mirror film.
  • Clean water is sufficient for minor soiling.

Cleaning mirror film is simple and straightforward. Most dirt can be removed with a soft, damp cloth.

How can mirror film be removed?

After a few years on the windows, you usually have to replace your mirror film because its durability has been reached.

Removing your mirror film can be a little tricky. It is usually not the mirror film itself that causes problems, but the adhesive residue. First, loosen the mirror film at one corner and then pull it off further and further.

If adhesive residue remains on the glass surface, give the adhesive some time to soften before removing it. After all, the adhesive has been in use for several years. You can use glass cleaner to soak it.

Do not use aggressive solvents.

It is important that you keep the adhesive moist for a few minutes. You can do this by simply placing the removed film back on the moistened adhesive. The liquid will evaporate much more slowly.

After about a quarter of an hour, you can remove the mirror film. The adhesive has now had enough time to soak. You can now carefully remove the adhesive residue with a ceramic or glass scraper.

Very stubborn residues can be removed with a little spirit and a sponge.

Conclusion

By covering your windows with mirror film, you can prevent excessive heat build-up in your living space and protect yourself from prying eyes from outside. Especially in comparison to heat protection windows, the coating with mirror film is a favourable alternative. The application is uncomplicated and you can easily apply the film yourself.

With the decorative mirror film, you can create additional shine in the interior. On walls or furniture, the reflective surface reflects the light and automatically makes rooms brighter. Smaller rooms in particular benefit from this. The additional depth makes your home seem wider, more open and therefore larger.

Image source: gregbrave / 123rf

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