If you're considering getting your windows tinted, whether they be in a residential or commercial situation, then there are a number of things you should know and understand to ensure you make the right choice for your particular environment and application.
The number one and undoubtedly the most crucial thing you need to know about window film is the difference between good quality window film and poor film. And this is why:
Premium window film will last for the lifetime of your windows but poor window film will barely last a few years, depending on the rigours of your environment.
The only way for a novice to discriminate between premium quality and low quality film is price and guarantee. When inquiring with a supplier,
find out how long the film is guaranteed for. If it's not at least 12 years keep looking. And also look out for the shady operator who offers you a guarantee on cheap film and hikes the price, to make it appear like it's good film, but will either not be around, or simply do nothing if you get back to them because your tint has spoiled.
Here's the tip, (and incidentally I've found this to be true with most things in life), if your only consideration in getting quotes is looking for the lowest possible price, then you will naturally gravitate towards the bad product and the real price you pay will be in around 3 years when your windows start to blister, fade and/or peel and look unsightly. Be warned, the cheapest price is most likely to lead to regret!
REASONS FOR INSTALLING WINDOW FILM
There are many and varied benefits you can get from window tinting, and each particular film you use will encapsulate some of these benefits, so the first thing you should be sure of is the most important reason for applying window tint in your circumstances. Lets look at each benefit in a little more detail so you can better understand the most appropriate solution for your circumstances.
Heat Rejection: Premium window film rejects heat by blocking up to 73% of infra-red radiation through windows. That's cool!
UV Blocking: Premium window film prevents up to 99% of infra red radiation from coming through windows. And as a bonus, it also blocks 93% of glare, which massively improves for your view and makes things look really cool!
Privacy: The right film will also provide daytime privacy, enabling everyone inside to remain cool, enjoy the views, and at the same time have total privacy from onlookers in daylight.
Impact Safety and Security Films: These specially designed films stop glass from shattering on impact. Safety films are made to withstand the force of human impact, while security films can withstand an explosion without shattering. Since the collateral damage from accidents where windows are broken comes from shards of glass spraying like shrapnel, or large sections of glass falling like a guillotine, the major issues associated with safety are mitigated. It also stops your windows from becoming a soft and easy entry point for burglars, because both the force and noise required to break and enter is so noticeable criminals, would rather simply move on in search of an easier, 'softer' victim.
Style: Lastly of course there's the matter of style. Good quality window film also makes windows look good; and for many people it's the aesthetic charm that tinted windows add that is the major reason for their purchase.
SPECIFIC ISSUES RELATED TO CARS AND VEHICLES
The next point I want to discuss is relevant to vehicles and it concerns installing the darkest legal tint on your car, truck or work vehicle.
In all States and Territories of Australia, the darkest legal tint allowed on a vehicle is one with a VLT (visible light transmission) level of 35%, on all vehicle windows (excluding the front windscreen, which is not allowed to have any window film with the exception of the visor strip across the top). The only exception to this are in the NT and WA. In the Northern Territory you are permitted a minimum VLT of 15% for windows behind the driver; and in WA you are allowed 20% VLT on windows behind the driver.
So here's the critical point. Most vehicles already have a slight tint in the glass in the front windows, so this should be considered when adding tint to a window. Here's what I mean.
If the factory windows on your car already block 30% of light, when a film with the "darkest legal tint" of 35% is added to this glass, 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 combination of both tint ratings.
This needs to be respected because if a driver inadvertently fails to comply with tinting regulations, 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 mean the nulling of your insurance policy, leaving you exposed to the full financial implications of the accident. Additionally criminal charges could apply if property is damaged or people are injured.
The final thing to consider is that by modifying a vehicle 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 roadworthy testing, in which case the illegal tint will have to be removed. That's why the combined VLT of both the glass and film really should be considered when you're selecting the appropriate tint for your car.
Summing up everything I've discussed, what's the critical takeaway from this article? When it comes to tinting windows, 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, instead of a headache.