Home window tinting can provide homeowners the comfort and privacy they are craving for. The main purpose of tinting is to reduce transparency. But it can act as protection from the sun, heat, breakage, or simply as a decoration of home windows. You have full control of what kind and what level of protection to apply to your windows.
Much like the tint films you may find on car windows, they are used in properties as well, and this is also mainly for protection from sunlight and privacy from the outside.
Almost 50 years ago, a new technology called the “Window Film” was invented. And since then, the technology has improved to offer homeowners better versions of window films to stay protected and to provide extra privacy for their families and homes.
Is the choice of window tinting worth it for your home privacy?
Home window tinting can be a practical and inexpensive substitute for using curtains or blinds. Window tinting options provide many styles, colors, and tint levels to suit your individual needs in terms of daytime and nighttime privacy for your possessions.
In a bit, we will discuss the types of window tints. We will also talk about night and daytime privacy, and if it’s really worth getting your home windows tinted. Finally, we will briefly instruct you on how to apply and maintain window tints.
So if you want to learn more, go ahead and keep on reading…
Characteristics of Window Films
A window film is basically a thin laminate film that can be applied to the interior or exterior side of the glass in apartments, houses, and other buildings.
There are many types of window films with different functions that are combined to get the desired effect. You should always check to what extent (usually given as a percentage) a window film works in a given range.
Some films involve multiple layers to achieve satisfactory results. These are usually less than 0.3 inches (or 1 mm) thick.
In order to create a barrier, various formulations are being used by manufacturers.
One type of film is dyed. The method absorbs the harmful rays from the sun in order to protect the interiors. This may sound really great but according to the International Window Film Association, this absorption causes stress in the glass which may lead to glass breakage after a certain period of time. Therefore, it is essential to check the window restrictions before applying a film.
Another type of film uses a reflection of harmful rays from the sun. This film is metalized.
There is a new type of film that uses advanced ceramics to reflect sunlight and is the most widely used in Europe.
Not only do window tint films have different mechanisms but they also come in various colors and shades: from opaque to see-through. Many available tints have a metallic look such as grey or silver. Some of the newer versions of tints are completely transparent.
Along with style, colored tint films can offer various other benefits. Colored tints tend to provide a lot of privacy while transparent tints are less reflective which may cause a window to look less like a mirror in the evening.
Why Tint Your Windows? – The Most Important Benefits
These days, window tints are made to match the requirements of the house owner. Some window films might provide more protection from sunlight while others might be more privacy-oriented. So there is always a trade-off. You must know how to assess the qualities of various tints, and then make your final decision.
Obviously, saving energy has to be one of the most important aspects of home window tinting. This is due to the fact that windows can cause about 75% heat gain during the summer, which massively drives up your air conditioning costs.
Heat reduction is essential, but window films can also help protect the interior furnishings and belongings. Wooden furniture, leather sofas, carpets, or the wood floor can all experience the harmful effects of ultraviolet sun rays, which cause their color to fade. So in order to keep your interiors in good shape, you should install UV ray-rejecting films on your windows.
Other window films provide benefits such as shatter resistance. Even though tints may cause your windows to crack wide open at some stage and time, they are great at keeping your windows intact in case of a stone or something is being hurled at your house. It’s because the adhesive properties of the film hold the glass shards together effectively when cracked instead of spilling all over the floor. The window film itself acts as a barrier between the glass and the interior of the house.
Almost all window tint films help to reduce the dazzling glare on your TV and computer screen.
Besides offering more privacy from the outside at night and daytime, a dark film can always give more glare reduction. Darker films also have a higher reflectivity rate, which means that they may reflect sunlight during the day (which is beneficial) but will also show a dull reflection of your own home at night.
And of course, the best part is that your belongings and yourself will be out of plain sight for extra privacy and safety.
How Effective is Home Window Tinting for Privacy?
The effectiveness of tinting or filming windows for privacy for daytime compared to night time is a debatable and intriguing topic.
Privacy films for windows are critical for some residential spaces, such as for a bathroom or an office.
There are separate mechanisms for day and night window films and so they are very much different, although there are small amounts of similarities at times.
The effectiveness of certain films may be great at a certain time of the day but be terrible at another. For example, you get your house windows filmed and they work perfectly fine during the day. But at night, you see people staring right at you through your window while walking by your house. On the contrary, you get your windows filmed and they work just fine at night but they just don’t absorb any heat in the daytime. Thus, most of the time, full privacy solutions require a mix of films.
Finding the right window tint to balance day and night is critical and we will be discussing both nighttime and daytime privacy.
Reflective (two-way) window films reflect sunlight outward like a mirror and thus offer excellent thermal protection, protection against UV rays, and in the case of TV and computer screens, protection against glare. They are slightly darkening the interior.
The mirror effect the dark reflective films ensures privacy during the day. This type of film is not tinted but it is clear and it works because the light outside is brighter than the light inside. As a result, this film will not work at nighttime or when it’s dark outside. Unfortunately, as soon as you turn your interior lights on in the evening, no matter how dark or reflective the film is, it won’t prevent people from looking inside. Solar reflective films are designed to see through them.
So if you want a proper solution for evening and night, you will have to get something other than a reflective film.
Since the outside is not brighter than your home at night, the solutions for a privacy window film need to come in some other way. This certainly means that you will have to use a completely different type of window film for nighttime privacy.
Here is a list of options that you can go for:
▹ Using tinted window films instead of reflective ones
▹ Using one-way mirror window tints
▹ Using perforated window films
▹ Using blackout window films
▹ Using decorative window films (frosted or opaque)
In reality, there isn’t any solution for privacy window films that completely block the view from outside at nighttime, and at the same time, allowing you to clearly see through it from the interior.
Blackout Window Films
On the other hand, privacy films that are blackout or whiteout block nearly 100% light. When applied to a window, this type of film will ensure a nearly black setting in the interior. Therefore, blackout privacy window films are the best if you require complete darkness and maximum sunlight and heat control.
Frosted and Opaque Window Films
The one way to get complete privacy at night is to apply a frosted or opaque type of film. These films belong to a decorative window film range and are designed not to see through them. In most circumstances, you won’t be able to see through the glass either direction day or night. This will allow you to have great nighttime privacy.
Matte Window Films
On some occasions, it is necessary to use matte films. They offer adequate
privacy protection, both during the day and at night, even when the light is on. They protect against the eyes of those looking from the outside, regardless of the lighting conditions outside and the time of day. In a room where windows are covered with matte films, only the contours of objects and things in the immediate vicinity of the window are visible. Thanks to this, the matte film is ideal for protecting your privacy, especially in bathrooms, toilets, or offices.
It also acts as glare protection and it serves as an aesthetic and harmonious decorative element of your glass surfaces.
Matte films are easy to apply and durable in use.
Also, high-quality, self-adhesive matte stickers can be a cheap alternative to the more expensive window films.
Protective and Security Window Films
These are completely transparent films available in various material thickness levels. They reduce the flow of UV radiation by up to 96%. Windows protected with the protective film are more resistant to high temperatures than windows without it.
Their main function of a security window film is reducing the risk of glass breakage, thus preventing injury from contact with glass shards in the event of broken glass. It definitely strengthens the glass surface and thus reduces the risk of material damage as well.
Security window films are mainly used to protect homes and offices against burglary and vandalism. Even though breaking the glass covered with film is possible, but the intrusion into the building involves the use of greater force and extra time, which effectively discourages burglars to make further attempts.
This is a transparent, durable, flexible, and wear-resistant polyester film, which increases the glass’s resistance to pressure, impact, shock, and high temperature. If the glass breaks, the film prevents the glass from breaking completely, keeping the whole glass shards.
However, unlike protective films, security films withstand much greater force, such as in case of a hurled stone, and thus provide greater security.
Disadvantages of Home Window Tinting
The dark-tinted films could be thought of as a two-way beneficial option but it must be noted that these films have a few drawbacks. These drawbacks must be kept in mind and in check.
You might be simply looking for privacy when tinting your home windows but there is a chance that you go too far. Can you imagine going too far in tinting your windows?
When you go for window tints that are very dark, it can lead to damaging your eyesight, obstruct rescue operations, gather more attention to your house, and even get you in trouble with the law!
These dark window tints do not allow you from being seen and for some people, this is the most priority. So even though you pay a price, your privacy is not at all compromised.
Tinting your windows too dark can attract people’s attention. And let’s be honest, that is the exact opposite of what you want.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, blackout windows films can intrigue people. So, when you tint a window by more than a certain level you attract the unwanted attention of passers-by. Even burglars (and that is getting a little too serious for comfort) will want to check out your house first as the blackout will give the impression that perhaps you’re hiding something valuable in your home. Not being able to see something makes you all the more curious about it. Keep that in mind when selecting your film.
Also, in case of some tragic event when your house is lit on fire, firemen and rescuers will probably look first through the windows of your house in order to ensure that nobody is inside, trapped, or being burnt to death. The thought is simply scary.
Additionally, there are some law regulations regarding dark tints or films that you should be aware of. Many homeowner associations (HOAs) have certain rules or guidelines regarding the exterior appearance of houses in the neighborhood.
Some of these guidelines have rules that prohibit the tinting of windows by a level of more than 50%, be it for privacy reasons, or protection from the sun and its harmful rays. To be free from any sorts of problems, be sure to get in touch with your local HOA before selecting and installing new window tints.
Just because the darker tints can prove to be dangerous does not mean that all levels of tints are likely to cause harm. In fact, if a proper level of window film is applied, the benefits it brings can surely outweigh the aesthetic appeal of your tinted windows.
As a concluding remark, we would say that the drawbacks of having darker tints applied to your windows do not mean that tints are not the way to go.
Applying Window Tints
Of course, the type of film you choose and the price you pay for it matters, but the actual application of the tint also matters greatly for your bills.
The process of applying tints is very easy and similar to the application of a normal wallpaper. You have a choice to either do it yourself or get your windows tinted by a professional.
If you decide to try it as a DIY project, first of all, what you need to do is to thoroughly clean your window and measure the window dimensions. Then, cut the film and add 3/4 to 1 inch (1.9 to 2.54 cm) of extra material on all sides.
If you’re by yourself, it might be useful to call a friend for help in separating the protective liner from the adhesive coating so as to ensure that the film does not attach to itself.
As almost all of the adhesives used on window films area water-activated, you need to spray the film and window with water. After this is done, the film is ready to be applied to the window with the adhesive side towards the glass. In order to get rid of any air bubbles or imperfections, it’s suggested to use a slightly wet rubber window squeegee.
When the film becomes smooth, the excess film can be cut off or trimmed. The surface may then be blotted in order to remove any amount of water left.
Window films require time to dry. This process can last from between a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the temperature and the kind of film used.
The do-it-yourself window tinting method is considerably cheaper when you compare it with professionally installed window tints. The costs may range from around $1 per square foot for a do-it-yourself method to $35 (or more) per square foot for highly specialized, professionally installed films.
It is also worth taking notice that several brands of window films are also sold through professional installers.
Maintenance of Tinted Windows
After the installation of window films, maintaining them is the next priority. Tinted windows are as easy to maintain as plain windows. Almost all window cleaning solutions can be used on window films. Other possible cleaning solutions include soap and water, or water with vinegar. Many producers and installers suggest avoiding abrasives, from rough paper towels to chemicals.
However, even the perfect maintenance you may need to change window films after some time as the average film lasts about 10 to 15 years. Most manufacturers will give you at least a five-year replacement warranty, while some even offer lifetime warranties.
So you can conclude that window tinting is a long-term method to provide security and privacy for your home. Window films are not something that you will be changing very often.