The number one and undoubtedly the most important thing you need to grasp about window film is the difference between good quality window film and bad quality window film. And this is why:
Premium window film will last for the life of your windows but bad quality window film will only last 2-3 years, depending on the rigours of your environment.
The only way for a non-professional person to discriminate between premium and low quality film is price and guarantee. When talking to a supplier, ask how long the film is guaranteed for. If it's less than 12 years don't buy it. And also beware of the unscrupulous operator who offers you a guarantee on cheap 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 spoiled.
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 cheapest possible price, then you will naturally find yourself with the poor product and the real price you pay will be in 2-3 years when your windows start to blister, fade and/or peel and just look unsightly. Be warned, the cheapest price is usually just crap!
BENEFITS OF INSTALLING WINDOW FILM
There are a number of benefits you can get from window tinting, and each particular film you use will encapsulate some of these benefits, so the first thing you should be sure of is the most important reason for applying window tint in your circumstances. Lets look at each benefit in a little more detail so you can better understand the most appropriate solution for your application.
Heat Rejection: Premium window film rejects heat by blocking as much as 73% of infra-red radiation through windows. That's cool!
UV Blocking: Premium window film prevents up to 99% of IR radiation from coming through windows. And as a bonus, it also eradicates 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 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 falling like a guillotine, the major issues associated with safety are avoided. It also stops your windows from becoming a soft and easy entry point for criminals, because both the force and noise required to force entry is so noticeable thieves, would rather simply move on in search of an easier, 'softer' victim.
Looking Great: Lastly of course there's the matter of looking good. Good quality window film also makes windows look good; and for many people it's the aesthetic charm that tinted windows provide that is the major reason for their installation.
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 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 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 thing. 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 installed 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 addition 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 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 nulling of your insurance policy, leaving you exposed to the full financial culpability of the accident. Additionally criminal charges 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 the pits, 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 quality film and that your installer has the expertise to be able to offer you the right solution for your situation. That way you'll end up with a range of benefits, instead of a series of problems.