Get the facts on this window treatment before tinting your home windows.
Are you struggling with home windows that are energy-inefficient, dated or weak? Tinting home windows from the inside with an aftermarket window film is one of the easiest and most economical ways to boost the energy efficiency, safety, even curb appeal of your home without replacing the windows themselves.
While most residential window films are lightweight, self-adhesive polyester coverings made of Polyethylene terephthalate (the same polymer used to make plastic water bottles), not all window films are equal or worthy of your investment. Keep reading to learn about the different options, as well as the benefits and pitfalls of tinting home windows, so you can decide whether this window treatment is right for you and how to install it with the best results.
1. Benefits of Different Types of Window Film
There are three main types of window film, each of which is installed for a different reason on home windows:
- Decorative: As the thinnest of all types of window film, decorative window film absorbs or reflects minimal heat; its primary purpose is to enhance or add privacy to a room. It is sold as a clear or bold-colored film in a variety of etched patterns (such as stripes), stained glass motifs, or opaque frosted designs that keep out peering eyes.
- Security: If preventing storm damage or deterring burglars is your biggest concern, install security film, the thickest of all types of film. Most security films (usually clear or silver) do not absorb or reflect much heat. In the event of a storm or a home intrusion that results in damage to the window, they do prevent the window from shattering completely by restricting the damage to a large crack, in effect allowing your window to hold out longer. Read More: Adding a Layer of Protection to Your Home.
- Solar: This option is recommended if improving energy efficiency is your main reason for tinting home windows. Thicker than decorative film but thinner than security film, solar films absorb or reflect (most products do a combination of both) up to 99 percent of UV rays from the sun. This regulates indoor temperature (so rooms stay cool in summer and warm in winter), reduces glare, prevents the fading of interior furnishings, and, ultimately, increases indoor comfort and energy savings. The film is usually sold in neutral tones ranging from silver to copper.
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2. Not all window films are compatible with all types of window glass
As mentioned in the section above, different types of window film absorb varying degrees of heat, which some windows are equipped to handle, and others are not. Most decorative and security films block minimal heat and consequently don’t place much thermal stress on the windows. Unless your manufacturer discourages it, you can usually apply them to all three common types of window glass with minimal risk of damage to the glass:
- annealed (basic flat glass)
- heat-treated (annealed glass that has been exposed to high temperatures)
- insulating (consists of two layers of glass with an intervening layer of air or gas)
However, the International Window Film Association recommends avoiding solar film when tinting home windows in the following situations because the film’s higher rate of heat absorption can increase the thermal stress so much on these types of window glass that they crack:
- Clear annealed glass: thicker than ⅜-inch or that has a heat absorption rate of more than 50 percent
- Tinted annealed glass: over ¼-thick
- Insulated glass: over 10 years old or has had seal failures
When in doubt, check the manufacturer’s literature for your windows to identify a compatible window film.
3. Windows without energy-efficient coatings benefit the most from tinting
Older windows without low-emissivity (low-E) coatings (a thin layer of metal oxide on the glass) that block out heat stand to gain the most from the energy savings afforded by tinting. Newer windows with low-E coatings already provide homes with a measure of energy efficiency, so your indoor comfort and energy savings may not significantly increase by applying window film to these windows.
Related Article: Keep the Heat Out with Residential Window Tinting
4. Tinted home windows are economical
Window film is generally cheaper than other popular window treatments that block the sun; solar screens (fabric shades that absorb and/or reflect heat) go for an average of $40 to $280 per window for installs, and cellular shades (fabric coverings that trap heat in honeycomb-shaped cells) will typically run you $45 to $220 per window for similar setups.
5. Renter-friendly options exist
Solar, safety, and decorative window film are sold in three options for permanence:
- Temporary varieties: can be repositioned or removed easily and cleanly (great for renters)
- Semi-permanent varieties: removable with some residue likely left behind on the window from the film adhesive
- Permanent varieties: not designed to be removed
Decorative film is more often sold as a temporary tinting solution, which makes it an option for renters or commitment-phobic homeowners, while solar and security film more often tend to be semi-permanent or permanent options for tinting home windows, which make them more suitable for homeowners.
Tintmaster is Proud to Provide their Clients Window Tint Options for their Homes
If you need window tinting, Tintmaster is the place to call. Whether you want window tinting for your home, your office or your car, you can count on Tintmaster to do it right and to stand behind our work. We use quality films installed by experienced and professional installers with years of experience. We can give you the option of several different types of film to fit your project and your budget. Don’t go with some fly-by-night window tinting company in the Sacramento area. Choose the experts you can depend on to do it right and to be here tomorrow.
Related Article: 3 Reasons to Choose Tintmaster for Your Window Tinting
As a family owned and operated business, Tintmaster prides themselves on professional installation, high-quality materials, and unparalleled customer service. They have been serving the Sacramento area since 1989 and have built a reputation for excellence. If you need automotive, residential, or commercial window tinting, give the specialists at Tintmaster a call at 916-852-8468.