Window Tinting Finger Bubbles

Hey, my name is Ralph. I'm with Flexfilm and we're in the Flexfilm studio. Today, we're going to talk about finger bubbles. I've identified four different types of finger bubbles. We're going to talk about what causes each one of them and how you can prevent them.

The first finger bubble we're going to talk about in our lineup today, it's called a surface discrepancy finger bubble. I have an example of one right here. This is a side window. This is a compound curve piece of glass. Rear windows can be the same thing. We put our film on there because the film is flat and the glass is curved and we have a discrepancy in surface area. So what we do to deal with this finger is we heat mold it and there's techniques that we all know about and some of us choose wet shrink, some of us use dry shrinking, and all the shrinks in between.

But ultimately, we have our ways of shrinking these fingers, eliminating them, so when we install the film on the rear window or the side window, we don't have to deal with them anymore. This is obviously a preventative way to not deal with this finger and make the film easy to lay down and make it smooth and not have to scratch it or bring trash up in the installation. And we can get rid of these fingers before we encounter them.

The second finger bubble in our lineup and it's called a stress finger. It's also, you could probably call it the shifting finger. This occurs on the side window, especially, when we've tinted the window, we've rolled the window up, but yet there's been a shift and the shift has caused additional fingers that we didn't anticipate or we didn't see before we started, after we shrunk it.

And there's a lot of things that can cause this. There's also the same problem that you can experience on the back window when you're installing it and you're squeegeeing it. You might get a shift in the film that might cause a finger that might be problematic where you have to deal with it. So you can either try to salvage the job or you can try to maybe just start over. We always don't. We always want to try to not start over.

Some of the ways that we can prevent these, a slip stress fingers, is hard tooling. I would say the hard tool of your choice, everybody uses different ones. After you've anchored your film down, I'm going to do this real quick. It's simple just to go by and just do a quick, hard, aggressive, hard tool along the top edge like this. You might even do like me and go a little further down, just to get a further anchor going. And then you're certainly in a better position to roll the glass up.

There's some other ways to prevent these fingers that are big in their own ways, but I want to go through them really quick, is be aware of what kind of film you're using. Some films have really aggressive adhesive and some don't. So you may want to be aware of the film you're using, because that might also cause these flipping problems on rear windows and side windows. You can also pay attention how you make your slip solution and even the climate we're in. And just be aware of whether you're using detergent based slip solutions or slip solutions like baby shampoo, which contain lanolin. And of course, like I said, the temperature. All these variables affect slip and how you're going to expect your film to cooperate with you.

Our number three finger bubble on the list is called a moisture finger. A moisture finger can show up in our installation on rear windows and side windows. Right now, I've got one showing up on a side window I just tinted and what these are are where moisture actually draws up into the window film. See, when we install the window film, we create a suction on the glass. So on the bottom of a rear window or the bottom of the side window, we're like the rub rails are, where moisture hangs out. This moisture can draw back up in the film by the suction that the film's created once we squeegee it out. This draws up trash.

It actually makes it very difficult for us to really get a clean installation once we see these fingers, and then you got to deal with them. We've got to use hard cards. We've got to use heat guns. You see the problems that can cause. We want to show you how to prevent these finger bubbles that are moisture related by either taking a door panel off, removing the bottom seals, or just removing our moisture source before it gets there so it doesn't go up in the window.

Another way we can prevent the moisture fingers is by a technique called the double snap. I'm going to show you quickly what the double snap is, but I do have a video right now on my YouTube channel that goes into great detail on how this technique can prevent finger bubbles.

This is a quick explanation of the double snap technique. This is for the tenders who wish to leave door panels on and you want to keep the rubber rails in place so you don't damage anything. But you quickly shrink these patterns on the outside of the glass when it's on the car, and then you over shrink the film all throughout the bottom. So once you install the film, you actually deal with these little fingers that look like this, that you actually, you come down here, you usually smooth the bottom out and then you pull this finger this way, you pull this finger this way. It creates tension on the inside, which stops moisture from coming up in the bottom of this. Without the tension, you get the moisture fingers all across the bottom, usually brings in the trash. It causes you extra work, and then you got other problems. But this double snap technique actually prevents you from having the problems and you can go on your way.

What we have here is a weakened adhesive finger. You see these fingers at the top and one on the side, this film was actually one I had to dig deep into my bag of tricks. It had a very weak adhesive on it to begin with. Some films that you choose have very aggressive adhesives and some have very weak adhesives. This one had a weak adhesive. I used a regular slip solution. I shrank this window, like I was supposed to, got all the fingers out, installed it. And here I am with these fingers. Had this tint had more aggressive adhesive, this film should have laid down nicely.

There's two things you can do to really prevent this type of finger. Number one is choose the right film, a film that has an aggressive adhesive and certainly compliments your tinting style. The second thing you can do is pay attention to how you mix your slip solutions. Too much soap or the wrong soaps of choice could actually cause this to happen with the correct film that has aggressive adhesive.

But these two things are very critical. These make a big difference. But most importantly, check the film that you're using. Make sure it's got the right adhesive because the weak adhesive causes these extra problems and you have to go back and fix them and you have to apply additional heat. You have to use hard cards. You risk scratching the film and you risk bringing contaminants right into your installation.

Now we've dealt with four types of fingers and these fingers can be very frustrating to deal with. It's better to deal with these fingers before they occur, rather than after they occur.