Before you embark on tinting your vehicle, your home, or your office windows, you first have to understand how it’s done, what gains you can get from it, and what unexpected issues you may have to deal with in the process. In this article, we discuss both car and home window tinting, and we offer you all the information that you need before you contact a tinting service.
Reasons for Installing Window Tint
There are many reasons why you should consider installing tint on your car or even on your house windows. Window tint can contribute to your personal comfort, your health, and even your privacy and security. The following are some of the most common reasons for installing tint.
Reducing interior heat
Without tint, windows can typically block only about one-third of the thermal radiation that hits the glass, and they allow the rest of the solar heat to get inside your house or car. This makes the interior very uncomfortable, especially on long drives during the summer in your car or on hot afternoons at home. Tint contains a thermal film that can block most of the solar heat. Different grades of tint have different capacities to block thermal radiation, so you can choose from a variety of options. Tint also helps you save energy because you don’t need to crank up your car’s air conditioning system in order to dissipate the excess heat. You end up using your AC less often, and you get to enjoy comfortable rides, all while saving on fuel.
Glare is a nuisance that most motorists have to deal with, and it has been known to cause accidents in some instances. Glare from the rear window or the side windows can be a major distraction when you are on the highway. It can blind your vision, reduce your concentration, and affect your response time. Glare can be experienced throughout the day, but it’s particularly common during sunset. The UV blocking layer in tint can block over 90 percent of glare, allowing you to have a good view of the road ahead and the traffic around you. If you drive past any roadside attractions, your passengers will be in a better position to enjoy viewing them if there is less glare.
Privacy and security
Privacy is one of the most common reasons why people tint their windows. Privacy in a car is important, whether you are out on the highway or you are parked in a public lot or in your own driveway. You certainly don’t need prying eyes when your kids are being rowdy in the back seat, or when you are carrying goods that are bound to arouse some curiosity from other motorists. The tint film rejects visible light, and this makes it hard for someone to see the inside of your car, even if they are intentionally trying to take a peak. Different shades of tint provide different levels of privacy, so you can choose the one that suits you the best.
Although tint is not meant to be a security feature, its security benefits cannot be discounted. Car burglars are usually very hasty, and they are more likely to break into your car if they can see the valuables inside, so tinted windows can serve as deterrents. For most thieves, breaking into a car without knowing what they’ll find is too much of a gamble. The tint film also makes it much more difficult to break a window since it holds the shattered pieces together.
Protection from skin cancer
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is one of the major causes of skin cancer. UV light comes in two forms, namely UVA and UVB. The first kind, UVA, has been known to cause damage to the skin and to contribute to aging. UVB, on the other hand, is much more dangerous, and it causes sunburns, as well as most forms of skin cancer. There’s lots of scientific evidence that shows that both types of UV light can be carcinogenic, especially in cases of prolonged exposure. In fact, about 95 percent of all skin cancer can be attributed to UV radiation.
Ordinary house and car window glass is inadequate when it comes to UV protection. Clear windows can only block a little more than a third of the UVA radiation, and it offers virtually no protection against UVB. However, the solar control layer in window tint film can block up to 99 percent of both types of UV, thus protecting the occupants of a car or a house from skin cancer. It’s important to understand that not all types of tint offer adequate UV protection, so you have to be careful when selecting the tint film. If you are doing an aftermarket installation for your car or you are selecting glass tinting for your house, be sure to stress to your provider that you need as much UV protection as possible.
Protection from shattered glass
Tint film prevents glasses from shattering into small pieces when they are broken. The film essentially laminates the glass, so when the window breaks, all the small bits are held together within a confined space. In the event of a car accident, this prevents shards of glass from flying all over or cutting the car’s occupants. Additionally, passengers are less likely to be ejected through the car windows, and external objects are less likely to enter the car during the crash. In a nutshell, tint film can reduce the risk of injury, and it can even save your life.
Tint gives your car or house a certain aesthetic charm. In fact, many people use tint to make their cars cooler and more stylish. You can use a tint colour that complements your car. If you don’t like dark windows, there are many coloured options that still provide benefits such as UV protection.
Because of reduced radiation, tint can help to preserve the colour and quality of your car’s upholstery and the interior in general. Direct sunlight can discolour vinyl or leather seats, but tinted windows will help keep them looking new for much longer. The same goes for wooden or plastic trim.
How to tell between Good and Bad window tint
Whether you are installing tint in your home, your car or your office, you need to ensure that you get good tint. A good tint job is a product of two things: 1. the quality of the tint film that is used and 2. The quality of workmanship during installation. Before committing to a certain type of tint or picking an installer, you should insist on seeing samples of the tint, and the work done by that installer. Here’s how you can tell between good and bad tint.
Good tint comes with a manufacturer’s or installer’s guarantee
When you are looking for good quality tint you should restrict your search to installers or manufacturers who readily offer guarantees or warranties on both the tint and the labour. Manufacturers are always aware of the quality of their tint, so if they are willing to put their money where their mouth is, then it’s more likely that they have the good stuff. Similarly, installers who are confident in their own expertise are more likely to offer you a long-term warranty because they know that you are less likely to need. Good tinting services are not necessarily expensive but beware of installers who offer dirt cheap services with no warranties.
Good tint has clean and precise edges
You should closely examine the edges of the tinted windows. If there are large gaps, bubbles, tears, folds or misalignments, it means that you are dealing with a bad tint provider. Good tint installers use computerized systems and templates to cut the tint film in a precise manner, so the gaps at the edges should be barely noticeable, and the tint should be perfectly aligned with the glass. If there are large gaps between the tint films and the edges of the glasses, it means that the provider is cutting corners by using pre-cut universal tint. Universal tint may be cheaper, but it’s often a bad fit, and it doesn’t adhere that well to the glass.
Bad tint turns purple over time
There are cheap tint films on the market that are made using a certain type of dye which tends to fade over time. You may not be able to notice this problem during installation. However, after a few months, you will find that your tinted windows are losing their dark shade and gaining a purple or blue one. Since it’s difficult to tell at the beginning, your best bet is to do a web search of whatever type of tint that’s presented to you so that you can see what other customers are saying about it. Providers are always ready to extol the virtues of their tint films, so instead of hanging on their every word, do your due diligence.
Bad tint can affect cell phone reception
Some metallic window tints have been known to affect cell phone, radio or television signals. Try to avoid metallic and shiny tints, but if that is your preference, your provider can help you work around that problem.
Watch out for the bubbles
When bad tint is used, bubbles will soon start forming between the glass and the film. Bubbles can either be a sign of poor workmanship, or they can mean that the film’s adhesive is weak and it’s starting to wear off. Bubbles are often unsightly and they make your car look bad. They can also cause a safety problem by obstructing or distorting your view. Good tint, when properly installed, should be absolutely bubble free. You should take a close look at work samples from your provider to ensure that there are no small hidden bubbles in the tint.
Good tint shouldn’t have cut-outs
Some tint providers leave cut-outs where you can stick your registration and other stickers. This shouldn’t be the case. Good tint should cover the entire glass and it shouldn’t get damaged when you place or remove stickers. The tint placed on all car windows, including the clear film on the windshield, should be without unsightly gaps at all times.
Benefits of Home Window Tinting
Home window tinting has many practical benefits, and it is a viable alternative to many window treatment options that are much more costly. Here are some of the most notable benefits of home window tinting.
It increases energy efficiency
Energy efficiency is perhaps the most compelling benefit of home window tinting. Traditional glass windows usually allow all the thermal energy from the sun into the house, and this drastically raises the room temperature. In cold seasons, clear windows let out a lot of heat. To balance this out, you will have to heat your house more during the winter and cool it more during the summer. On the other hand, if you use the correct kind of home window tint, you can block out excess heat in the summer and keep in the warmth during the winter, so you don’t have to overwork your HVAC system. This dramatically reduces your electricity and fuel bills. In some cases, window tint has been found to reduce heating and cooling bills by more than a quarter. This means that in the long run, home window tint is good for the environment and for your bottom line.
It provides protection from the sun
We’ve already discussed how UV rays from the sun can cause sunburns, skin cancer and a number of other complications. If you are cautious, you may remember to use sunscreen when you go out, but it doesn’t occur to most people that UV protection is still important even when they are indoors. Home window tint can filter out most of the harmful UV rays while still allowing you to enjoy the warmth and the vitamin D from the sun.
Home window tint reduces glare which as we have already mentioned, is a major nuisance. At home, glare can be a bother when you are watching television, performing chores, reading or even working on your computer. If you want a sunlit interior without excess glare, tinting is a better option than most other window treatment alternatives. With tinted windows, you won’t be forced to close your blinds every time you need to reduce glare.
Tinted glass also protects your walls, paintings, furniture, electronics, and other valuables from the sun. If your artwork, carpet, and fabrics are exposed to direct sunlight on a daily basis, they tend to fade, discolor or wear out. With the right tinted home windows, you can prolong the lifespan of many items in your house without having to close your curtains all the time.
Window tint adds a lot of curb appeal to your house’s exterior, as well as lots of aesthetic value to the interior. Most tint companies provide films of different accents which are designed to complement different houses. You don’t have to worry about being restricted to particular generic shades. You can ask for films with patterns, and with some companies, you can even get custom made tint film. Some providers also offer mural designs, which you can place on your screen door. Professional installers can easily remove the tint if you change your mind later, or if you want to sell your house.
Tinted windows are easier to maintain
Good quality window tint is designed to be scratch resistant as well as water resistance, which makes it easy to clean and maintain. However, just to be safe, you should have your provider advice you on the proper way to clean your particular type of tint. Different tints are best cleaned using different cleaning agents, so you should get the correct instructions to avoid ruining your tint.
Improved safety, security and privacy
As we’ve mentioned, it’s quite difficult to look into a tinted window or to break it, tint film can help to deter prying eyes and potential burglars. If a tinted window breaks, you won’t have shards of glass all over the room because the film will hold them back. This makes your house a little safer for your family especially if you have little kids.
Specific Issues related to Car window tinting
Before you tint your car windows, there are some important issues that you need to be aware of. Car tinting is subject to traffic laws, so there are regulations that you must adhere to if you don’t want to get in trouble with the law. You also need to know about various types of car window tints so that you can select the one that offers you the maximum benefits.
Car Window Tinting V’s Factory Window Tinting
If you buy a new car, chances are that it will come with a factory tint. It has been a standard practice among car manufacturers in recent years to design windows that are slightly shaded for the purpose of privacy. However, the shade on these windows doesn’t provide the same benefits as aftermarket car window tint. The factory tint is only meant to provide a bit of privacy, and it is woefully inadequate when it comes to key functions such as UV protection, skin cancer prevention, and solar heat reduction.
You should add aftermarket window tint to your vehicle irrespective of whether or not it comes with factory tint. This is particularly important for if you spend long hours on the road, or if you frequently drive your kids around. Research shows that young children and commercial drivers are the two groups of people that are most susceptible to UV exposure. Children and babies have sensitive skin which can be harmed even if the UV exposure is limited. Commercial drivers, on the other hand, tend to spend endless hours on the road, which exponentially increases their risk of developing skin cancer.
Unlike after sales tint, factory tint doesn’t come in form of a film. Instead, the glass is dyed in an electrical process that introduces a dark pigment into the pane. This process is called ‘deep dipping’, and aside from slightly altering the color of the glass, it doesn’t change its physical properties. So while deep dipping improves the aesthetics and the privacy of your vehicle, it does very little to protect your health, enhance your car’s security, or increase the comfort of your vehicle’s occupants. While after sale tint blocks 99% of UVA and UVB rays as well as most of the solar heat, factory tint barely outperforms clear glass.
If your car already has factory tint, you can get special film installed on your windows to boost UV protection and heat rejection. This special film is very light, so it won’t darken your car windows any further. Installing dark after sale tint over factory tint can darken your car windows past the legally acceptable limit, so the special light film is your best bet. Contrary to popular belief, tint film doesn’t necessarily have to be very dark to protect you from UV radiation.
What the law says about car tint
In all of Australia, the darkest tint that you can install on all of your vehicle’s windows (with the exception of the windscreen) is one with a Visible Light Transmission (VLT) level of 35%. In Western Australia, you can go as low as 20% for the windows behind the driver, and in The Northern Territory, the minimum is 15% for the same. You should keep this in mind if your car already has factory tint. If you install after sale tint over factory tint, the cumulative amount of light that is blocked by both tints should not exceed the legal limit. Most providers will guide you when you are selecting your aftermarket tint so that you don’t end up on the wrong side of the law.
Breaching tinting laws has serious consequences for drivers and car owners. If your vehicle is involved in an accident and it’s found to have darker windows than legally permitted, the courts will have no choice but to assign some of the blame to you, and your insurance company could be relieved of any financial obligations. This means that you could be forced to pay any fines or liability claims out of pocket. You can even be charged with criminal negligence in case other parties are injured. Even if you really love dark car windows, it’s certainly not worth it to break the law. Try as much as possible to stay within the legal limits when it comes to car tint.