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Things to Consider Before Tinting Your Home Windows

Tinting Home Window
California can be quite hot and sunny, which tends to increase energy costs because people need air conditioning to keep their homes at a comfortable temperature. One way to limit these cooling costs is to install the right type of window tinting in your home.

Factory Coated Windows Versus Window Films

You can purchase windows with coatings already applied by the manufacturer, or you can have aftermarket window films applied.

Window films tend to be inexpensive and relatively easy to apply, but factory-applied coatings may be better at reflecting the infrared portion of the light that causes a room to heat up while still allowing plenty of light into the room. However, the newer types of window films are getting better at this.

Warranty Considerations

Check the warranty on your windows before applying window films. Some manufacturers will void your warranty if you apply window film. Certain types of window film can cause the window itself to heat up and expand, increasing the risk that it will break and need to be replaced. This is particularly true with double-pane windows.

Efficiency at Reducing Heat Gains

If you're tinting your windows to lower energy bills in the hot climate, you'll want to look for a tint with a low solar heat gain coefficient. This means that the tint blocks out much of the heat from the sun. 

Visible Transmittance Value

Some types of window films and tints block both heat and visible light, meaning that your room won't be as bright. If you want to limit heat in the room while still having the room relatively bright, you want a visible transmittance value that is higher than the solar heat gain coefficient.

Light-to-Solar-Gain Ratio

Window films may list the light-to-solar-gain ratio. This is the visible transmittance divided by the solar heat gain coefficient. You want this ratio to be higher rather than lower. Window films typically don't reach an LSG value that's higher than 1.2, but coatings applied by the manufacturer can sometimes have an LSG value of up to 1.6.

Color Considerations

Window tints often block out certain parts of the color spectrum and not others to get the most energy saving benefits while allowing as much visible light into the home as possible. This sometimes results in a slight color to the window after the tint is applied.

This color often isn't very noticeable with the whole window covered, but you may want to check how it looks installed somewhere else if possible before making a commitment.

Reflectivity of the Coating

One way to keep heat from entering the house without darkening the window with a film is to apply a reflective coating or film. Some of these films only reflect non-visible light, but others can make it so the window looks more like a mirror from the inside at night and from the outside during the day. Some homeowners associations don't allow this, so check your local regulations.

Overall Look of the Tint

Some people apply window films to give the window a more decorative look. These can make the window look like it's been etched or like stained glass, for example. This type of window tint isn't as useful for saving energy. If privacy is a concern, you can opt a tint that darkens the window as well as limits heat entering the home.


Tints applied by the manufacturer should last the life of the window. Window films typically last about 10 to 15 years if they are properly applied. Having a professional install window films may help them last longer because professionally applied films usually use an adhesive, unlike many of the DIY brands.

Contact Hull's Nor Cal Window & Door Inc. for more information on the various window tinting options or to schedule an appointment. We can help with all of your window and door needs.