Abstract The film growth processes occuring during the deposition of AgCl on NaCl substrates are studied by means of the gold decoration technique and Rutherford backscattering spectrometry. At substrate temperatures between 20 and 100°C, first an intermediate monolayer forms by the nucleation and coalescence of 2D islands. Further growth proceeds by the formation of secondary islands on top of the monolayer and a layer-by-layer growth of the continuous AgCl film after their coalescence. At substrate temperatures above 100°C, mixed films form due to interdiffusion with the NaCl substrate. At all temperatures applied, single-crystalline films form with the epitaxial relationship (001)AgCl ‖(001)NaCl.