We live in a late-70s condo in California with some windows a few inches above ground level. On one of them, the previous owners placed some plastic film which is now cracking and unsightly. Clearly not for insulation because there’s no plastic on the sash window above.

Was this an attempt to “kick-proof” the window? How can we remove the plastic and should we replace it?

window a few inches above ground level with plastic cover

  • 1
    That sure looks like tempered glass that has been shattered. Are you sure it's the plastic film that is cracked?
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 19:40
  • If it's tempered glass, (likely, as it's apparently just about ground level) there should something etched into the glass on a corner stating that. Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 21:05
  • Whether you should replace it is a matter of prerogative & local building code. My guess is that you're right about it being a safety film installed in lieu of tempered glass, possibly to catch up to modern standards for windows low to the ground.
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 21:21

1 Answer 1


Unless it peels off, which it apparently doesn't, it's probably an adhesive-backed clear coat application. You don't mention if the window is glass or acrylic (Plexiglass). Assuming it's glass you might be able to get it off with a safety razor scraper. Any adhesive could possibly be dissolved with finger nail polish remover or a commercial product such as Goof Off.

If it's acrylic, any scraping or solvent application may damage the pane. In that instance, you may just want to replace it but if you're going to do that you might want to try scraping and solvent first. Nothing to lose.

  • Sometimes vinegar will dissolve those adhesives.
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 21:18
  • Doing some further research, I believe it is "safety film" and per comments above is in lieu of tempered glass, in case of impact or earthquake. From what I can tell, safety film needs a professional installer so will probably have to hire someone for the new film. When they remove the old film, I'll update this post on how they did it.
    – ed94133
    Commented Feb 11, 2020 at 17:26

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