The first and undoubtedly the most crucial thing you need to grasp about window film is the difference between quality window film and bad film. Here's why this is so important:
Good quality window film will last for the lifetime of your windows whereas bad window film will only last 2-3 years, depending on the rigours of your environment.
The only way for you to discriminate between good quality and low quality film is price and guarantee. When making enquirers with a supplier, be sure to ask how long the film is guaranteed for. If it's not at least 12 years don't buy it. And also beware of the unscrupulous operator who offers you a guarantee on low quality 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 failed.
Here's the tip, (and incidentally 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 gravitate towards the bad 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 awful. Be warned, the cheapest price is usually just crap!
BENEFITS OF INSTALLING TINTING
There are a range 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 benefit so you can see the most suitable solution for your environment.The primary advantages of good quality window tinting are as follows.
Heat Rejection: Premium window film rejects heat by blocking as much as 73% of infra-red radiation through windows. That's cool!
UV Rejection: Premium window film blocks up to 99% of infra red radiation from penetrating your windows. And as a bonus, it also blocks 93% of glare, which does wonders for your view and means things look really 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 during the day.
Impact Safety and Security Films: These specially designed films stop glass from shattering on impact. Safety films are made 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 risks associated with safety are avoided. It also stops your windows from being a soft and easy entry point for criminals, because both the force and noise required to force entry is so noticeable criminals, would rather simply move on in search of an easier, 'softer' target.
Finally 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 add that is the driving force for installing them.
SPECIFIC ISSUES RELATED TO CARS AND VEHICLES
The next point I want to discuss is relevant to drivers and it concerns installing the darkest legal tint on your car or truck.
In all States and Territories of Australia, the darkest legal tint legally 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 Northern Territory 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 thing. Most cars already have a slight tint in the glass in their front windows, so this needs to be taken into consideration when adding tint to a vehicle. Here's how the maths looks.
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 final VLT will be calculated by the addition of both tint ratings.
This needs to be considered because if a driver inadvertently 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 culpability of the accident. Furthermore a criminal charge could apply if property is damaged or people are hurt.
The final thing to remember is that by modifying a vehicle with darker than legal windows, the vehicle is deemed 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 stripped off the windows. 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.
So what's the moral of this story? When it comes to window tinting, make sure you use a good quality product and that your installer has the knowledge to be able to offer you the right solution for your circumstances. That way you'll end up with a range of benefits, rather than a bunch of problems.