My name is Brad Maguire, I'm a window tinter by trade, and if you're considering getting some window tinting, whether it be for your home, car or office, then there are a number of points you should be aware of so you make the best decision for your particular environment and circumstances.
The number one and undoubtedly the most crucial thing you need to discriminate about window film is the difference between good window film and poor film. Why is this so important?
Good quality window film will last for the life of your windows whereas bad window film will only last 2-3 years, depending on the rigours of your environment.
The only way for a non-professional person to discern between good and poor quality film is price and guarantee. When talking to a supplier, find out how long the film is guaranteed for. If it's not at least 12 years save yourself the pain. And also beware of the shady 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 degraded.
Here's the tip, (and incidentally I've found this to be true with most things), if your only consideration in getting quotes is looking for the cheapest possible price, then you will naturally gravitate towards 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 horrible. Be warned, the cheapest price is usually just crap!
REASONS FOR INSTALLING WINDOW TINT
There are a number of benefits you can get from window tinting, and each particular film you use will encapsulate some of these advantages, 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 infra-red radiation through windows. That really is cool!
UV Rejection: Good quality window film stops up to 99% of infra red radiation from penetrating your 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 onlookers in daylight.
Impact Safety and Security Films: These specially designed 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 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' target.
Finally of course there's the matter of looking good. 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 vehicles and it concerns installing the darkest legal tint on your car.
In all States and Territories of Australia, the darkest legal tint 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 vehicle. 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 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 impacted by the addition of both tint ratings.
This is critical because if a driver by mistake 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 mean the nulling 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 final thing to remember is that by modifying a vehicle with illegally dark 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 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 good 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, instead of a series of problems.