My name is Brad Maguire, I’m a window tinter by trade, and if you’re considering getting some windows tinted, whether it be for your home, car or office; then there are a series of things you should understand so you make the best possible decision for windows in your particular environment and circumstances.
The first and undoubtedly the most crucial thing you need to understand about window film is the difference between good window film and bad quality window film. And this is why: Premium window film will last for the life of your windows whereas bad window films will only last 2-3 years, depending on the rigors of your environment.
HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE
The only way for a non-professional person to discriminate between premium quality and poor quality film is price and guarantee. When inquiring with a supplier, be sure to ask how long the film is guaranteed for. If it’s not at least 12 years don’t buy it. And also beware of the unscrupulous operator who offers you a guarantee on cheap film and hikes the price, to make it appear like it’s good film, but will not be around, or simply do nothing if you get back to them because your tint has spoiled.
Here’s my first pro-tip. If your only goal in getting quotes is looking for the lowest possible price, then you will naturally gravitate towards the poor product and the real price you pay will be in 2-3 years when your windows start to blister, fade and/or peel and just look unsightly. Be warned, the cheapest price is usually just a crap product!
INSTALLING WINDOW TINT
Each and every window film you use will bring together a unique series of advantages, so the first thing you need to be sure of is the most important benefit for your situation. Lets look at each benefit in a little more detail so you can more completely the most appropriate solution for your circumstances.
The core benefits of good quality window tinting are:
Heat Rejection: Good quality window film rejects heat by blocking up to 73% of total solar energy through windows. That really is cool!
UV Blocking: Premium window film eradicates up to 99% of infra red radiation from coming through windows. And as a bonus, it also stops 93% of glare, which does wonders for your view and means things look really cool!
Privacy: The right film will also provide daytime privacy, allowing everyone inside to be cooler, enjoy the views, and at the same time have total privacy from prying eyes during the day.
Impact Safety and Security Films: These specially designed films stop glass from fragmenting on impact. Safety films are made to withstand the force of human impact. Many security films can withstand a bomb blast without shattering. Since the collateral damage from accidents where windows are broken comes from shards of glass flying like shrapnel, or large sections of glass dropping like a guillotine, the major risks around safety are mitigated. It also stops your windows from becoming a soft and easy entry point for thieves, because both the force and noise required to gain entry is so noticeable burglars would rather just move on in search of an easier, ‘softer’ target.
Lastly of course there’s the matter of style. Good quality window film also adds style to windows; and for many people it’s the aesthetic charm that tinted windows provide that is the primary driver for installing them.
SPECIFIC ISSUES RELATED TO CARS & VEHICLES
The next point I want to discuss is relevant to drivers and it concerns installing the darkest legal tint on your car or truck.
Assuming you live in Australia, the darkest legal tint legally permitted on a vehicle is one with a VLT (visible light transmission) level of 35%, on all vehicle windows (excluding the front windscreen, which cannot have any window tint except for a visor strip across the top). The northern Territory and Western Australia are the only exceptions. In the NT you are legally permitted a minimum VLT of 15% for windows behind the driver; and in WA you are allowed 20% VLT on windows behind the driver. Most vehicles already have a slight tint in the glass in their front windows, so this should be considered when adding tint to a window. Here’s how the maths looks.
If the factory windows on your car block 30% of light, when a film with the “darkest legal tint” of 35% is added to this window, it will emit only 35% of light into a window that is already only emitting 70% of light, so the end VLT reading will be impacted by the addition of both VLT ratings.
This is critical because if a driver accidentally fails to comply with tinting laws, the result can be a fine. But worse still, if a vehicle is involved in an accident and its illegally dark windows are considered by the court to be a contributing factor, this could result in the cancellation of your insurance policy, leaving you exposed to the full financial implications of the accident. And if that’s not bad enough criminal charge could apply if property is damaged or people are injured.
The last thing to consider is that if you accidentally modify with illegally dark windows, the vehicle is deemed unroadworthy, which means the driver can’t drive the car again until it has been put through the pits, in which case the illegal tint will have to be stripped off the windows. That’s why the combined VLT of both the glass and film really should be considered when you’re selecting the appropriate tint.
So what do I really want you to get from this article? When it comes to window tinting, make sure you use a good quality product and that your installer has the expertise to be able to offer you the best solution for your circumstances. That way you’ll end up with a range of benefits, rather than a headache.