If you're looking to install window tinting, whether it be for your home, car or office, then there are a series of points you should know and understand so you make the best possible decision for your particular environment and application.
The first and undoubtedly the most crucial thing you need to know about window film is the difference between good quality window film and bad quality film. And this is why:
Good window film will last for the life of your windows but bad window film will merely last up to three years, depending on the rigours of your environment.
The only way for a non-professional person to discern between premium quality and bad 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 less than 12 years save yourself the pain. 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 failed.
Here's the tip, (and by the way I've found this to be true with most things), if your only goal in getting quotes is looking for the smallest possible price, then you will naturally find yourself with the poor product and the real price you pay will be in around 3 years when your windows start to blister, fade and/or peel and just look awful. Be warned, the cheapest price is usually the rubbish product!
BENEFITS OF INSTALLING WINDOW FILM
There are a number of benefits you can get from window tinting, and each particular film you use will package some of these benefits, so the first thing you should be sure of is the most important reason for installing window tint. Lets look at each advantage in a little more detail.
Heat Rejection: Premium window film rejects heat by blocking up to 73% of IR radiation through windows.
UV Rejection: Premium window film eradicates up to 99% of infra red radiation from penetrating windows. And as a bonus, it also prevents 93% of glare, which massively improves 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 onlookers in daylight.
Impact Safety and Security Films: These specialist films stop glass from shattering on impact. Safety films are designed 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 problems associated with safety are prevented. It also stops your windows from being a soft and easy entry point for thieves, because both the impact and noise required to gain entry is so noticeable criminals, would rather simply move on in search of an easier, 'softer' victim.
Lastly 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 main reason for their installation.
ISSUES RELATED TO CARS AND VEHICLES
The next point I want to discuss is relevant to car/vehicle owners and it concerns installing the darkest legal tint on your car.
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 film except for a visor strip across the top). The northern Territory and Western Australia are the only exceptions. In the Northern Territory 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.
So here's the critical 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 how the maths looks.
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 window, it will emit only 35% of light into a window that is already only emitting 70% of light, so the end VLT will be calculated by the combination of both VLT ratings.
This needs to be considered because if a driver accidentally fails to comply with tinting laws, the result can be a fine. But even worse, 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. Additionally a criminal charge 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 becomes 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.
What's the moral of this story? When it comes to window tinting, make sure you use a 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 series of problems.