How Does Window Film Work?

At the most basic level, window tinting entails the application of tinting film onto a window glass surface. A layer of clear polyester film makes up the bulk of tint film, with an extra thin layer made up of tinting agents like metals and dyes added to achieve the desired performance characteristics.

One of the biggest myths about tinting is that it impedes vision at night, and so driving at night is impossible when a car is tinted. In reality, however, you will find films of many varieties specially designed with night-time to reduce glare and similar problems when driving at night. Tinting film doesn’t give the same effect as other visual shields like sunglasses, which most certainly do impair vision at night. For the much darker types of film, there are state window tint laws in place that can act as guidelines as to what level of darkness is within reasonable limits.

People also often get confused about where the window tint will be placed. In almost all cases, window tint is applied on the inside of the window glass. This is done to protect the tint from external sources of wear-and-tear, including flying debris and other hard objects.

Window tint changes the characteristics and amount of light that is transmitted through the window glass into the car. Auto glass that hasn’t been tinted transmits 90% of visible light (VLT% rating of 90), absorbs 5% of visible light (VLA% rating of 5%) and reflects 5% of visible light (VLR% rating of 5%).

The quantities above vary dramatically once tinting film is applied, and mostly depend on the type of tint. Different tints are available for different characteristics; for example, some tints are used to reflect light, while others will be fitted to absorb light.

The Visible Light Transmittance (VLT%) rating is the most widely used measurement rating for window tint, and this rating is typically included in the name of the specific tint – for example, Johnson Executive PBC30 or Madico Charcool CH-55. The lower the percentage, the less visible light will be allowed to shine through the glass, which also affects the overall darkness of the tint.

Over and above blocking ordinary visible light, tinting film also blocks dangerous, cancer-causing ultra-violet (UV-A and UV-B) and infra-red (IR), both of which contribute to heat building up inside the vehicle. The effectiveness and extent of the blocking will depend on the quality of the installation, the specific manufacturer, and the type of window film used.

Don’t be discouraged if you find all of this information overwhelming – we at TintCenter know that your venture into the window tinting world can be daunting at first, but if you simply follow the information presented on this site you surely find something that meets your needs. For our own recommendations, please use the Car Tint Price Quote Request form.