If you're thinking about getting some window tinting done, whether it be residential or commercial, then there are a number of things you should be aware of so you make the right choice for your particular environment and situation.
The first and undoubtedly the most crucial thing you need to discriminate about window film is the difference between quality window film and bad window film. Here's why. Premium window film will last for the lifetime of your windows whereas poor window film will barely last 2-3 years, depending on the rigours of your environment.
The only way for you to tell the difference between good quality and poor quality film is price and guarantee. When making enquirers 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 unscrupulous operator who offers you a guarantee on low quality 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 failed.
Here's the tip, (and by the way I've found this to be true with most things), if your only motivation in getting quotes is looking for the lowest possible price, then you will naturally gravitate towards the rubbish 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 ghastly. Be warned, the cheapest price is usually the rubbish product!
REASONS FOR INSTALLING TINTING
There are a range of benefits you can get from window tinting, and each particular film you use will package some of these advantages, so the first thing you need to be sure of is the most important reason for applying window tint in your situation. Lets look at each benefit in a little more detail so you can better figure out the most applicable solution for your circumstances.
Heat Rejection: Premium window film rejects heat by blocking up to 73% of IR radiation through windows. That really is cool!
UV Rejection: Good quality window film prevents up to 99% of IR radiation from coming through windows. And as a bonus, it also prevents 93% of glare, which massively improves 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 in daylight.
Impact Safety and Security Films: These specialist films stop glass from fragmenting 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 flying 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 being a soft and easy entry point for burglars, because both the impact and noise required to force entry is so noticeable thieves, would rather simply move on in search of an easier, 'softer' target.
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 provide that is the major reason for their purchase.
SPECIFIC ISSUES RELATED TO CARS & 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 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 Northern Territory you are legally 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 thing. Most vehicles already have a slight tint in the glass in the front windows, so this needs to be taken into consideration when adding tint to a window. Here's why.
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 will be calculated by the combination of both tint ratings.
This needs to be taken into consideration because if a driver by mistake 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 cancellation of your insurance policy, leaving you exposed to the full financial implications of the accident. And if that's not bad enough a criminal charge could apply if property is damaged or people are injured.
The final thing to remember is that by modifying a vehicle with illegally dark windows, the vehicle becomes unroadworthy, which means the driver 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.
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 film and that your installer has the knowledge to be able to offer you the best solution for your situation. That way you'll end up with a range of benefits, instead of a number of issues.