Window film (a/k/a, tint) is a thin laminate film that can be installed to the interior or exterior of glass surfaces in automobiles. It is usually made from polyethylene terephthalate due to its clarity, tensile strength, dimensional stability, and ability to accept a variety of surface-applied or embedded treatments.
Window films are generically categorized by their construction components (dyed, pigmented, metallized, ceramic or nano), by their intended use (automotive, marine or architectural), by type of application (glass or polycarbonate), and/or by their technical performance (privacy, solar control, safety and security).
The first tints were done back around the time World War II started, a popular manufacturer was EZ Eye factory tint. Since they were the first real company to manufacture tint films some people at home tried making their own make shift window tints using a spray which didn't have the same effect. In most cases it was uneven and hard to keep consistent throughout the window. The first real window tint was invented in 1966. Overall window tints are increasingly growing and has started vinyl car wraps, which have increased in popularity. Tints will always be in demand due to their scientific and proven benefits and increasing style and common usage.
Cost and Pros/Cons
Window tint costs can vary between different window tint brands in the market in 2021 (see below). Choosing which brand and materials, while factoring in price, can be a tricky process. Getting your windows tinted by a professional window tinter is a great way to avoid having to worry about regulations (and spending your time doing it yourself).
Here are the most significant factors that come into play when determining cost:
1. Number of windows.
2. Type of tint (ceramic, dyed or carbon).
3. Warranty (several years or lifetime).
4. Location and state laws.
Here’s a closer look into the three main types of window film, along with the unique pros and cons each has to offer.
Ceramic Window Tint
Ceramic window film is the highest quality film you can purchase, as it doesn’t contain any metal or dye. Instead, this tint contains ceramic particles that are both non-metallic and non-conductive. As a result, this film doesn’t block cell signals of phones, GPS systems, and radios needed to operate. However, ceramic window tint is the most expensive because of the advanced technology required to create this film.
A newer type of film that Rayno has pioneered contains a hybrid of both ceramic and carbon. The film contains nano carbon-ceramic particles to help stabilize the color of the tint, increase durability, increase heat rejection, and increase visibility.
- Blocks UV light
- Resists fading
- Blocks UV light.
- Resists fading
- Ceramic tinting improves the value of your car
- No heat gets through the windows
- Resists fading
- Prevents glare
Dyed Window Tint
- Less privacy
Dyed window tint is the original and most affordable type of tint you can purchase for your car windows. A dye is used in the creation process that’s added to a layer next to the adhesive, which is then applied to your vehicle’s windows. The sun’s UV rays will more quickly cause the tint’s dye to fade. Over time your tint will look purple, brown, or turn completely transparent. Dyed window tint is cheap to purchase because there isn’t any advanced technology that is used to improve the performance of this type of tint. In addition, due to its poor functioning and durability, and common bubbling problems, dyed window tint has to be replaced more frequently than ceramic window tint does.
- Costs less and is the least expensive option
- Absorbs solar heat so it never enters your car
- Provides a dark appearance
- Protects against interference with any electronics.
Carbon Window Tint
- Fades over time
- Gives off a bubble appearance when not installed properly
- Layers can separate and peel
- Blocking properties not as effective as other window tints.
Carbon tint contains carbon particles that can help block infrared light very effectively. The carbon helps keep interiors cooler. The film will not quickly fade compared to dyed films. Carbon film doesn’t have any metal, so the issue with cell phones and radio transmission doesn’t arise when used. However, the carbon can create glare and haze that make it difficult to see the road outside your car. Carbon window matte tint costs more than dyed film. Rayno recently formulated a new type of carbon film that contains nano-scale-sized carbon particles. Rayno MonoCarbon is a 2-ply true carbon-based film with a highly concentrated coating layer. This film makes the outside look clearer without any haziness vs. other carbon films.
- Durable and long-lasting
- Protects the car’s interior from harmful UV rays
- Prevents fading
- Keeps you warm in winter, cool in summer
- No “mirror” look
- Provides black appearance.
- A bit more expensive than dyed and metallic tints.
If you choose a more affordable tint, such as Rayno MonoCarbon, you can expect to pay between $50 per window or about $250 for all 7 (two front sides, 2 backsides, 2 rear quarter windows, and the rear) windows on your vehicle. On the other end of the spectrum, you can expect to pay between $100 per window or about $650 for all 7 windows on your vehicle for high-performance nano carbon-ceramic window tint.
If your coupe has steep rear windows or curved windows, you should expect to pay more. These types of windows are more challenging to cover with tint, which will increase the labor costs. The average cost for tinting a two-door car (with 5 windows) is estimated to cost between $120-$450.
Buying a pre-cut kit to install window tint yourself may seem like a cheap and easy option. However, taking the DIY route isn’t always a more affordable alternative than hiring a window tinting professional.
Applying a DIY tinting kit requires specific tools, skills and patience. Even if you have experience detailing vehicles, it’s not guaranteed you’ll do a sufficient job applying the tint. With DIY tinting kits, you have to make sure that the modification you make to your car is within your state’s limits. Plus, there’s an increased chance of your tint bubbling up, causing you to have to restart the entire tinting process.
Did you know that 40 of 50 states have window tint laws?
This is because automobile window tinting reduces the "Visible Light Transmission" (VLT) through car windows. This can be problematic at night, or when motorists must be able to see through the windows of other vehicles in order to spot hazards. Police also may want to be able to identify the passengers or any potential threat inside a vehicle.
Law enforcement officers use a special device to measure the amount of light passing through a tinted car window. If the visible light transmission doesn’t fall within the acceptable range, you could be issued a citation.
The percentage of light that a window tint film allows to pass through your car windows is called the VLT (Visible Light Transmission), and each state has different legal allowable VLT limits. The tint applied by car manufacturers at the factory must allow at least 70% of visible light through. When determining how much to tint windows, you must check with your state’s department of motor vehicles to learn about its VLT limits.
(Note- Most states limit the amount of tint on a car’s windshield or front side windows). Once you determine this, you can choose the appropriate window tint film for your car.
Check out this sample of state laws:
The following is a link to a diagram showing what is permissible for all 50 states.
- Six states (AK, CA, DE, IA, NY, PA) and the District of Columbia require 70% light transmission
- New Mexico allows the darkest tinting for front side windows, permitting 20% light transmission
- Vermont, New Hampshire, and New Jersey prohibit any aftermarket tinting on the windshield and front windows
These laws are for everyone's protection. While very dark tint looks cool, anything below 30% severely impairs a driver's night vision. Look at the tint image, below.
Penalties vary for violating a state’s laws on tinted car windows. Depending on the jurisdiction and the officer, penalties can be as minor as a warning, a “fix it” order that requires removing the car window tint film, or a fine for exceeding the legal limit for window tinting. While a first violation could bring a $100 fine, a second infraction might have a fine twice that amount.
Georgia, for example, is among the states with harsh penalties for violating window tinting laws. The state stipulates that driving a vehicle with illegal window tint or installing unlawful material is a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment up to 12 months. Additionally, the law applies to all vehicles, whether registered in Georgia or another state.
By SRT-Tom · Nov 8, 2021 ·
To view comments, simply sign up and become a member!