Product hacking is described as repurposing a product to change its appearance or make it perform a different function to the one originally intended by its manufacturer. Window film is one such product.

A product developed in the sixties by NASA, window film has long been used to reduce solar heat gain in buildings and vehicles. However, the application of window film has evolved from its original purpose to innovative uses including increasing privacy in bathrooms to keeping birds safe and dogs quiet.

The Window Film Association of Australia and New Zealand (WFAANZ) lists ten different ways film can stylishly solve problems in the home.

Privacy and light in the bathroom

Bathroom windows need to allow light in while ensuring privacy for the user. Curtains are impractical in bathrooms, blinds are hard to clean and awnings can be unsightly. WFAANZ President Ally Cronan suggests frosted or decorative window film to solve many problems at once in the bathroom. The water-resistant window film not only provides privacy and light but can also be used on any glass surface to jazz up shower screens or disguise water marks.

Decorative film in home entranceways for first impressions

Decorative window film can be used to transform the entrance if the front door has glass panels, a transom or sidelights. The house number or surname can be cut from window film and applied to the glass for a sophisticated one-of-a-kind look. Decorative film can also add pattern, colour and life, giving guests a sense of the homeowner’s creative style before they even step foot inside.

Keeping dogs calm

Homeowners who are hassled by their dogs barking at the sight of any movement outside the front window can use decorative or frosted window film on the lower windows to obscure their vision; in addition to solving the dilemma, the homeowners can also prevent any contravention of council noise regulations caused by barking.

Keeping the kitchen bright, fresh and as good as new

Yellowing is a major problem for white kitchen cabinets exposed to direct sunlight, which over time can fade painted wood and laminated surfaces. Window film on kitchen windows has been found to shield cabinets from direct sunlight and reduce fading issues.

Preventing bird strikes

Bird strike refers to the phenomena of birds getting injured or killed by flying into windows because they see the outdoors reflected in the glass. Application of window films that appear as opaque to the birds can prevent such accidents while providing the residents a clear view out.

From cabinet to whiteboard

Office cupboards with glass doors can also double as stylish reusable whiteboards by applying white opaque window film.

Glass fences

Glass railings or balustrades are increasingly being installed for balconies, pools and staircases not only for compliance with the Building Code of Australia but also for their aesthetic appeal. Privacy can be added to such installations by applying frosted film that also helps retain the smart look of the railing.

Tool protection in garden sheds

Garden sheds are typically stocked with expensive tools and equipment but very rarely secured to prevent theft. WFAANZ recommends the application of a frosted security film to garden shed windows so that the glass cannot be broken easily by smash-and-grab thieves. The frosted finish will additionally conceal any view into the shed from the outside.

Strong, safe and pretty

Decorative glass cannot be heat strengthened or tempered, and can therefore pose a threat if broken. Safety film on decorative glass will hold the broken pieces together and mitigate any serious injury.

Preventing algae in fish tanks by blocking UV

Fish tanks exposed to direct sunlight for some part of the day are at risk of developing algae. A clear UV-blocking window film can help keep the tank clean by retarding algae growth since UV is required by algae for photosynthesis. Installing a film will help slow the rate of algae growth regardless of other non-solar light sources.