If you're thinking about getting some windows tinted, whether it be residential or commercial, then there are a series of points you should understand so you make the best possible decision for your particular environment and circumstances.
The number one and undoubtedly the most important thing you need to understand about window film is the difference between good quality window film and poor window film. And this is why:
Good window film
will last for the life of your windows whereas poor quality window film will only last a few years, depending on the rigours of your environment.
The only way for a novice to discern between premium quality and poor quality film is price and guarantee. When inquiring with a supplier, 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 look 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 by the way I've found this to be true with most things in life), if your only motivation in getting quotes is looking for the lowest possible price, then you will naturally find yourself with 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 look awful. Be warned, the cheapest price is usually just crap!
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 need to be sure of is the most important benefit. Lets look at each advantage in a little more detail so you can identify the most suitable solution for your environment.
Heat Rejection: Good quality window film rejects heat by blocking as much as 73% of infra-red radiation through windows. That really is cool!
UV Rejection: Premium window film stops up to 99% of IR radiation from penetrating windows. And as a bonus, it also blocks 93% of glare, which does wonders for your view and makes things look 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 onlookers 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, while 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 issues around safety are mitigated. It also stops your windows from being a soft and easy entry point for burglars, because both the effort and noise required to force entry is so noticeable thieves, would rather simply move on in search of an easier, 'softer' victim.
Style: Finally of course there's the matter of style. Good quality window film also makes windows look cool; and for many people it's the aesthetic charm that tinted windows add that is the driving force for their installation.
ISSUES RELATED TO CARS AND 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.
In all States and Territories of 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 with the exception of the visor strip across the top). The only exception to this are in the NT and WA. In the NT you are allowed 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 point. 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 what I mean.
If the factory installed windows on your car already 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 finalised by the addition of both VLT ratings.
This is critical because if a driver accidentally 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 result in the nulling of your insurance policy, leaving you exposed to the full financial implications of the accident. Furthermore criminal charges could apply if property is damaged or people are hurt.
The last thing to remember is that by modifying a vehicle with darker than legal windows, the vehicle is deemed to be unroadworthy, which means you can't drive the car again until it has been put through a roadworthy test, 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.
So what's the moral of this story? When it comes to tinting windows, make sure you use a quality film and that your installer has the knowledge to be able to offer you the right solution for your circumstances. That way you'll end up with a range of benefits, rather than a bunch of hassles.