Window Tint FAQs

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What is window tint/film?

Window Film is a low-cost, high-return energy conservation measure made of micro-thin layers of film combined with high performance coatings that bond to the glass surface.

Why should I install window film?

Adding Window Film upgrades your existing windows by improving energy efficiency, cutting glare, enhancing privacy, providing UV protection, and reducing damage to furniture due to fading. It also helps make occupants feel more comfortable within a home or commercial building.

How do I choose the right tint?

When selecting a window film, understanding your specific needs is crucial. Our goal is to help you find the perfect solution for your solar control issues, enhancing comfort and safety in your architectural spaces. Here are the common challenges we address:

  • Heat Reduction - Minimize heat build-up to keep interiors comfortable without excessive air conditioning use.
  • Protection - Shield furnishings from the damaging effects of sunlight, extending their life and vibrancy.
  • Glare Reduction - Improve visual comfort by reducing the harshness of bright sunlight.
  • Privacy - Increase seclusion for glass-walled areas without compromising on light.
  • Aesthetics and Design - Enhance building appearance with decorative film options.
  • Safety and Security - Reinforce windows to resist breakage and provide an additional layer of security.

What is one-way/mirrored tint? Why can people see in at night?

One-way daytime privacy refers to a window treatment's ability to allow people inside a building to see out while preventing those outside from seeing in during daylight hours. This effect is achieved through the use of reflective window films that have a mirror-like appearance on the exterior side when exposed to sunlight. The principle behind this effect is based on light differential: during the day, the brighter light outside causes the film to reflect the external environment, thus creating a mirror effect when viewed from the outside. Meanwhile, the interior, being less bright, allows occupants to see through the film to the outside.

The effectiveness of one-way daytime privacy depends on the light levels on either side of the window. At night, when the interior is typically brighter than the exterior, the effect can reverse, and visibility from outside to inside can increase. For this reason, additional privacy measures may be required during nighttime hours, such as curtains or blinds, to maintain privacy.

Window films that offer one-way daytime privacy are ideal for settings where privacy during the day is a priority, but natural light is still desired. They are popular in residential homes for rooms facing busy streets, as well as in commercial settings where there is a need to shield interior spaces from public or neighboring views without sacrificing the openness and welcoming nature of natural light.

Is installation disruptive?

Most windows can be filmed in about 15 minutes with minimal or no disruption to occupants.

Is window tint expensive?

Window film starts at $10/SF installed.  This is about 5-10% of the cost of window replacement.  

What kind of energy savings can I expect?

The energy savings depend on many factors, such as the existing type of glass, existence of overhangs, your location, and energy rates. However, for most buildings, high-performance window films can reduce energy costs from 5 to 15%.

Can window film help with LEED certification or with an Energy Star Labeled Building?

Window film can significantly contribute to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and other green building initiatives by improving a building's energy efficiency. By reducing solar heat gain, window film can lower cooling demands, thus decreasing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It also helps in optimizing natural daylight use, reducing the need for artificial lighting, and protecting interiors from UV damage, extending the life of furnishings. Additionally, window film can earn points in several LEED categories, including Energy & Atmosphere, Indoor Environmental Quality, and in some cases, Materials & Resources, by contributing to the overall sustainability and efficiency of the building.

Commercial Window Films can assist with as many as 9 LEED Certification points (out of the 32 required for Silver LEED Certification). For more information about Window Films and LEED Certification, see The energy savings provided by window films can also assist buildings with their Energy Star Labeling requirements.

Can I receive a tax credit for installing window tint?

You may be able to receive a tax credit.  Always check with your CPA first.  You can also get additional information from the SunTek document on our website by clicking here.

I have window treatments so window film isn't necessary. Correct?

The sun will often damage window treatments such as draperies, curtains, blinds and shades. Window film helps protect furnishings, including window treatments.

Can window tint be removed?

Yes, window tint can be removed.  The process should be done by professionals to avoid damaging the glass.  Removal may be necessary if the tint is damaged, faded, or if you want to change to a different type of tint.  

Are there any restrictions on window tinting?

It depends.  In our area, restrictions mainly applies to historic buildings.  We will check with local authorities before installation.  Approval is typically based on the type of film being installed.

What are the common window tinting mistakes?

Don't say we didn't warn you!  If you take this on as a DIY project, not washing the windows throughly prior to tinting is a big problem, in addition to using the wrong slip solution.  If you decide to get quotes from window tinting companies and go with the cheapest bid from a less-than-reputable company, you'll get what you paid for.  This company can also use the wrong film which can cause stress fractures on some double-pane windows.  

Do I need to tint all of my windows?

No.  The more sun that comes through the windows, the more energy savings you receive.  Focus on South and West facing windows first.  

How do I maintain my tint?

When treated with care, tint can last 15 or even 25 years.  To maintain the integrity and appearance of window film, it is recommended to use a soft, lint-free cloth or a rubber squeegee with soapy water for cleaning. Avoid using abrasive tools, harsh chemicals, or ammonia-based cleaning products, as these can scratch or damage the film's surface. After cleaning, the surface should be dried with a clean, soft cloth to prevent water spots. Adhering to these cleaning recommendations ensures the film's longevity and visual clarity.  Check in the documents section of the website for our Window Tint Care and Maintenance white paper.

What is security film?

Safety and security window films are specifically engineered to enhance the strength of glass windows and doors to improve their resistance to breakage from impacts, whether accidental or intentional. Unlike standard films that primarily focus on solar control or aesthetics, safety and security films are thicker and made with stronger adhesive bonds that help hold glass fragments together upon impact. This can help prevent injury from flying glass in the event of an accident and deter break-ins by making windows more difficult to penetrate.

Does tint affect wireless signals and electronic devices inside the building?

Most architectural window films have minimal to no impact on wireless signals and the operation of electronic devices inside a building. However, films with metallic components, especially those designed for high solar heat rejection, can in some cases interfere with radio frequency (RF) signals. Advances in film technology have led to the development of non-metallic options, such as ceramic-based films, that offer excellent heat rejection capabilities without affecting signal transmission for cell phones, Wi-Fi, and other electronic devices.

What factors should be considered when choosing window film for a commercial building?

Selecting the right window film for a commercial building involves considering several factors:

  • Energy Efficiency Goals: Identify the primary objectives regarding heat and glare reduction, and energy cost savings.
  • Aesthetic Preferences: Decide on the desired appearance, whether it’s a reflective, tinted, or clear film.
  • Building Orientation: Consider the direction windows face and the amount of sun exposure they receive.
  • Local Climate: Factor in the typical weather conditions and how they impact cooling and heating needs.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensure the chosen film complies with local building codes and energy regulations.
  • Security Requirements: For enhanced protection against break-ins or natural disasters, consider safety and security films.

I've seen VLT referred to for tint. What is VLT?

The Visible Light Transmission (VLT) rating of a window film indicates the percentage of visible light that passes through the film. Films with a high VLT allow more natural light into the space, which can be beneficial for maintaining bright interiors and reducing the need for artificial lighting. Conversely, films with a low VLT rate reduce glare and solar heat gain more effectively but can result in darker interiors. Choosing the right VLT rating depends on balancing the need for natural light with the desire for heat and glare control.

I'm in a historic building. Is there a tint I can use?

When installing window film in historic buildings, it's important to consider the preservation of original glass features and the building's aesthetic integrity. Use films that are visually compatible with the historic character, such as those offering clear UV protection without altering the appearance of the glass.

Will tint affect my indoor plants?

Window film can affect indoor plant growth, but this largely depends on the type of film applied. Films that block a significant portion of the UV light and reduce visible light can impact plants that require high levels of sunlight. However, many indoor plants thrive with filtered light, which can be provided by certain window films that reduce harmful UV rays while still allowing enough natural light for photosynthesis. It’s important to consider the light requirements of your plants when choosing a window film.

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