We asked a professional window tinter to give us a few points on what people should look for when installing window tinting so they can select the best film for their individual circumstances, and Brad Maguire from Precision Window Tinting in Perth, Australia gave us the following professional tips.
The first and undoubtedly the most important thing you need to grasp 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 lifetime of your windows whereas poor window film will barely last a few years, depending on the rigours of your environment.
The only way for a non-professional person to discern between good quality and poor 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 seem 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 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 horrid. Be warned, the cheapest price is most likely to lead to regret!
REASONS FOR INSTALLING TINTING
There are a range of benefits you can get from window tinting, and each particular film you use will bring together some of these benefits, so the first thing you should identify is the most important reason for installing window tint. Lets look at each benefit in a little more detail so you can better recognize 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’s cool!
UV Blocking: Good quality window film prevents up to 99% of infra red 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, enabling everyone inside to be cooler, enjoy the views, and at the same time have total privacy from prying eyes in daylight.
Impact Safety and Security Films: These specially designed films stop glass from breaking 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 falling like a guillotine, the major issues around safety are prevented. It also stops your windows from being a soft and easy entry point for thieves, because both the force and noise required to gain entry is so noticeable thieves, 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 adds style to windows; and for many people it’s the aesthetic charm that tinted windows add that is the driving force for installing them.
SPECIFIC 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, truck or work vehicle.
In all States and Territories of Australia, the darkest legal tint legally 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 except for a visor strip across the top). The only exception to this are in the NT and WA. In the NT 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 cars 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 glass 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 final VLT reading will be impacted by the combination of both tint ratings.
This needs to be respected because if a driver accidentally fails to comply with tinting regulations, 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. And if that’s not bad enough criminal charges could apply if property is damaged or people are injured.
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 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 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 for your car.
So what do I really want you to get from this article? When it comes to window tinting, make sure you use a quality film and that your installer has the expertise to be able to offer you the best solution for your situation. That way you’ll end up with a range of benefits, as opposed to a number of issues.