If you're considering getting some windows tinted, whether it be for your home, car or office, then there are a series of points you should be aware of so you make the best decision for your particular environment and application.
The first and undoubtedly the most important thing you need to understand about window film is the difference between good quality window film and bad film. Here's why:
Premium window film will last for the life of your windows whereas bad quality window film will only last 2-3 years, depending on the rigours of your environment.
The only way for you to discern between good quality and low 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 don't buy it. And also look out for the unscrupulous 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 spoiled.
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 lowest 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 look unsightly. 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 bring together 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 so you can more accurately comprehend the most applicable solution for your circumstances.
Heat Rejection: Good quality window film rejects heat by blocking as much as 73% of infra-red radiation through windows. That really is cool!
UV Blocking: Premium 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 massively improves for your view and means 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 specially designed 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 risks around safety are avoided. It also stops your windows from becoming a soft and easy entry point for thieves, because both the effort and noise required to break and enter is so noticeable thieves, would rather simply move on in search of an easier, 'softer' victim.
Fashion: 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 provide that is the main reason for installing them.
SPECIFIC ISSUES RELATED TO CARS & 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 or truck.
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 is not allowed to have any window tint with the exception of the visor strip across the top). The northern Territory and Western Australia are the only exceptions. In the NT you are 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 critical point. Most vehicles already have a slight tint in the glass in the 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 finalised by the addition of both VLT ratings.
This needs to be taken into consideration because if a driver accidentally 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 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 consider is that by modifying a vehicle with illegally dark windows, the vehicle is deemed to be 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.