REAL ESTATE- GIMME SHELTER- Got glare? Window tinting not just for cars
Q: I've heard about window tinting for residential homes, but don't know much about it. What are the benefits of window tinting? And can I do it myself?
A: I think most people know about window tinting for their cars, but most don't know there is window tinting available for their homes, and offices/stores. Residential and commercial window films offer benefits to your space that other treatments cannot.
Window film still allows a tremendous amount of natural light into your home or office while filtering out the damaging rays that are in sunlight. These include UVA/UVB rays, infrared heat, and egregious glare.
Look at window tinting like a water filter on your kitchen tap. When you put that filter on the tap and turn it on, you still receive water, just not the harmful chemicals that are in the water. Window film (tinting) does the exact same thing.
Most residential or commercial window films block 99 percent or greater of the UVA/UVB rays, which are the primary reasons for fading of floors, furniture, carpets, and artwork. They also block 60 to 97 percent of the infrared rays that are associated with the heat that you feel coming through glass, and is also a contributor to fading.
In recent years, technology has allowed window film manufacturers to create a wide variety of films for almost any situation. There are films that now exist that are clear to medium shaded that are not reflective (you can't see them on your windows from the outside of the home) that perform almost as well as those very dark and reflective films of the past. Of course if you have a tremendous amount of glare coming through you windows, film can take care of that as well. Window film will also increase the energy efficiency of your home or office.
Since Virginia is such a warm-weather state, it will add year-round comfort, and protection even in the winter. I know most people want solar heat gain in the winter, but unless your house is set up as a solar passive structure any solar heat gain during the day in a non solar passive house just escapes through the house and windows because of conduction. However from March through November when it is still warm, window film pays huge dividends.
Almost all residential window films come with a lifetime warranty, and commercial films come with a ten to fifteen year warranty on parts and labor.
While you certainly can, I do not recommend doing it yourself. The film from a big box store doesn't offer the choices or quality of professional grade film, and it is near impossible to install for a novice. We recommend you contact your local professional for a consultation to make sure you get the right window film for you, and a professional installation. To ensure quality of film and installation, please choose a company that is an accredited solar film control specialist approved by the International Window Film Association.
Of course, one thing that window film can't accomplish yet is night time privacy. If you're looking for that, I recommend conventional window treatments in bedrooms and bathrooms.