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Chicago Anti Graffiti Window Film

A surge of anti-graffiti window film installations began about a decade ago, with the businesses on every regularly tagged street in Chicago desperate to have it applied.  Today, it saddens us to see so many Chicago businesses left with the same worn-out film dulling the look of their windows because the owners refuse to replace it, or think they can’t afford to.

Back then, everyone wanted to take advantage of the sudden demand for anti-graffiti films. General contractors, glass and window companies, even handymen found themselves installing this revolutionary product – with no experience beyond having a phone conversation or two with the rep selling them the product. Most would leave windows with large amounts of dirt trapped beneath the film – even large bubbles.

Many, if not all of the people installing anti graffiti film back then charged as though the product would last decades, when in fact it should be replaced every 3-6 years, after it begins to dull.

Overall these facts have left a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of the business owners that we meet, and is the primary reason that most of them have done nothing with the film after it was originally installed.

Our goal is to offer Chicago an affordable anti-graffiti window film service that is both professional and responsible – one that will always be available to fix a problem if it should come up.

Now, after years of winning the trust of Chicago businesses, Precision is proud to be #1 for anti-graffiti window film replacement  in Chicago – offering faster service, more care, affordable pricing, better results and a customer loyalty program.

Having your windows treated by Precision has its benefits. At only $100, customers who have had their windows treated by us have the lowest advertised minimum charge for graffiti film replacement in the city, and they save up to 25% off  future replacement of the film. That’s it – no gimmicks. All we’re trying to do is keep our customers happy and loyal to our company.

This is how all anti graffiti window film services should be . Give us a call toll-free at 800-683-8468 to get a free estimate today!

About Precision Window Tinting

Precision Window Tinting is well known as one of the top architectural window film companies in Chicago. We offer an impressive range of services and provide a dependable quality service at competitive prices.

Unlike some of the smaller window film companies that focus mostly on residential or automotive applications, you’ll find we’re just as familiar with large-scale commercial installations as we are in homes.

We try to stay on the leading edge of the industry, providing advanced services such as computer aided design and corporate identity solutions. Working with our associate window film company in New York, we facilitate new trends in corporate advertising, including escalator and elevator wrapping.

With the high occurrence of vandalism to glass in Chicago, Precision is the first and only window film company in the city to offer significant discounts for the replacement of tagged anti-graffiti window film. Not only do we want to form lasting relationships with our clients, but believe that protecting your business shouldn’t have to cost a fortune.

Even though we’re used to serving big business, the art of our industry is perfecting residential installation. Home window tinting is arguably the most difficult market for window film companies to master. Contaminates such as paint, varnish, silicone and putty offer challenges when working with french panes and large curved entry windows. Attention to detail is paramount in these situations and accountability is the most important thing a prospective buyer should gauge before hiring just any old window film company to do the job.

Trusted by many of the top architects, realty, management and contracting services in the city – Precision boasts the best combination of products, installation, professionalism and value you will find out of any window film company in Chicago. To learn more about our services, please give us a call toll-free at 800-683-8468.

Calculating the Fade Factor Reduction of a Window Film

Calculating the approximate fade factor reduction of a window film is a simple process. Add the Visible Light Reduction percentage of the film to the Total Solar Energy Rejection percentage of the film, then divide by 4. Add 40% to this figure and voila, you have your estimated Solar Fade Factor Reduction Percentage.


A film with 60% Visible Light Reduction and 55% Total Solar Energy Rejection – (.60+.55) = 1.15, Divided by 4 is  .2875 (28.75%), add .4 (40%) to that figure and you have a total of .6875, or 68.75% – this is the total approximate solar fade factor reduction of the film in question.

Clear films with no heat or visible light reduction only have the benefit of the UV blocker added to the adhesive, which qualifies for the 40% added on top of the calculated figure.

This is an invaluable tool to anyone in the process of choosing a window film to protect their funishings from the damaging effects of the sun. Most people discover that the expensive Spectrally-Selective film they were so excited about really doesn’t offer as much protection as a traditional film at half the price. Others are willing to give up additional protection in favor of a higher light level. In either case, with this formula at your disposal you will be able to quantify the benefit of each film you are considering before making your purchase.

Etched Glass Window Film

Although several types of frosted window film exist, there is only one style that naturally mimics etched glass – white matte frost. The most popular style of frosted window film, white matte frost window film is dramatically easier to clean than etched glass, comes at a fraction of the cost, and most importantly – can be removed.

The ability to dramatically transform the glass in your business in a way that will last, yet allow for the removal of the changes at the end of your lease, make for a happy tenant/management relationship. You can feel free to design as bold as you’d like, without breaking the rules of your lease.

Other styles of frosted window film are out there – dozens in fact – but don’t offer the “natural” appearance that you can find with white matte frost. These films usually offer less privacy and are available only in limited roll dimensions. White matte frost is available in up to 72″ width, which allows larger windows to be covered without requiring a seam.

Small projects can sometimes be completed by novice installers using temporary “static cling” films, but won’t have the same longevity, durability or appearance of professionally installed etched glass film. Temporary films applied by novice installers most noticably “pucker” along the edges and have bubbles and/or dirt stuck under the film, making for a very obvious film application. Professionally installed etched glass window film needs to be closely inspected to discern that it is an applied film, not etched glass.

Another distinct advantage to etched glass film over custom etched glass is the dramatic savings. Even hand or computer cut designs can be completed at a fraction of the cost a custom fabricated piece of glass would run you.

If you would like to learn more about the versatility of etched glass window film, or would like to set up a free consulation, call us at 800-683-8468 or click here to contact us.

UV Window Film – Chicago Tinting

If you are having trouble with sun fading, UV window film may be the solution. Our company installs UV window film in Chicago and all neighboring areas and has the #1 source for window film information in the city. This article will get you started, but be sure to read our other posts as they will help you make an informed decision about what UV window film is best for you.

Now that winter is here, the low track that the sun follows through the southern sky reaches deep into homes and storefronts causing fading situations that can actually be more severe than the summer months. If this scenario sounds familiar – don’t wait. Even if you decide that UV window film isn’t the solution for you, cover your windows with some type of treatment quickly. Fading issues can start after only 3 months of exposure.

There are a few things you need to know when selecting a UV window film to protect against fading.  The first is that a clear UV window film with only a UV protectant applied to a clear substrate is the least effective in protecting against fading.  Blocking just the UV light only stops 40% of the fade factors that the sun produces. You must reduce glare and heat in addition to UV light for maximum fade protection. Together heat and glare are 50% of the fade factors that the sun produces.

With a number of shades to choose from, you can find a UV window film to suit your specific tastes. Most commonly our clients choose a Madico Neutralite UV window film with 60% glare reduction and 55% heat reduction. This combination of attributes produces nearly a 69% reduction of the fade factors produced by the sun, yet allows abundant light to pass through the glass.

Depending on the colors in your room and your individual taste, you can use a UV film that blocks an even higher percentage of fade factors, or choose to reduce protection in favor of a higher light level.

Some of the most commonly used UV window films our company installs can be previewed by clicking here. All window films offer nearly 100% UV reduction. Pay attention to the glare and heat reduction statistics – the higher those numbers are, the more fade protection you will get. If you are located in the Chicago area and would like a free estimate for UV window film, call us at 800-683-8468 or click here to request a free estimate.

Blackout Store Windows

Businesses and contractors always call us about having us blackout store windows for them. In most cases they are planning to build a wall, set up shelving, or hide plumbing that is directly in front of a section of windows. This solution saves thousands of dollars and weeks of labor that would normally go into removing the windows to put up a wall.

Unfortunately blackout tint is not safe for most store front windows that are going to get hit with sun. This is because when exposed to sunlight, blackout tint causes glass to absorb high amounts of heat which can cause it to expand and break.

Fortunately there is an alternative to traditional blackout for store windows – whiteout film. Whiteout is an opaque polyester film which duplicates the benefits of blackout tint without the risk of glass breakage. Whiteout film is thick, so even framing, plumbing or shelving which is directly behind the film is completely obscured.

Here are some of the risks of using blackout tint instead of whiteout film:

Single Pane, Tempered

In most cases we only install blackout tint on windows that are tempered and single pane. Tempered windows are heat-strengthened (just like the passenger windows on cars), so they can stand up to the added stress of the tint without breaking.

Single Pane, Annealed (Not Tempered)

The only other type of glass we occasionally apply blackout tint to are those that are annealed and single pane. This can still be risky – especially on larger windows. If there are any unseen chips along the edge of the glass, or if the glass was not installed properly (not given a proper amount of room for natural expansion) – breakage can still occur when the glass is exposed to sunlight.

Double Pane, Annealed

Blackout tint applied to double-pane glass causes the inner pane (the pane that the film is applied to) to heat up and expand in the sun while the outer pane remains cooler and does nothing. Since both panes of glass are glued together, this leads to the two panes of glass fighting with each other until one of them breaks.

Double Pane, Tempered

Even if your double-pane glass is tempered, you may not have to worry about breakage, but you do have to worry about seal failure. Seal failure is when the airspace between the panes of glass is split open. Not only does this affect the insulative properties of the glass, but allows moisture to build up between the glass, which will eventually fog the glass and ultimately begin to mold.

Just to recap: The safest glass for blackout tint is single pane, preferably tempered. If your windows are double pane, blackout tint is not recommended.

If your application requires the black color of blackout tint you can always have the tint installed on the outside of the glass. Since the tint is exposed to cooling breezes, the temperature of the glass doesn’t get out of hand. This means that no matter what type of glass you have, you won’t have to worry about thermal breakage, only film longevity. You will probably have to remove and replace the film every 2-5 years if you install it outside, as blackout tint is not specifically designed to stand up to outdoor use. Whiteout film properly installed to the inner face of the glass lasts much longer and it will probably be around 10-15 years before you have to worry about any type of maitenance.

Another option we offer our clients is frosted film. Costing no more to install than whiteout film, you can get the beautiful look of frosted windows to hide whatever is behind the glass. The only drawback to frosted film over whiteout film is that the lower opacity allows you to somtimes see things that are closer than a foot to the glass. If this isn’t an issue for your application, you have the choice of using either product. The advantage to frosted film over whiteout film is that frosted film allows nearly all of the natural light to pass through the window while whiteout film almost blocks it all.

If you have an upcoming project in the Chicago area and would like to get a free quote, give us call at 800-683-8468 or click here to contact us.

Temporary Construction Window Film & Vacancy Film

Professional contruction grade privacy film, or as we like to call it, “Vacancy Film”, is the elegant solution for temporary window privacy during construction and/or unit vacancy.

Vacancy film is a white, 4-MIL, opaque, professionally applied film that can offer a uniform appearance to your storefront during construction or vacancy, while protecting your glass from construction debris and paint.

Benefits of temporary contruction film are: 

  • Opaque – you won’t be able to see the mess inside until you’re ready to remove the film.
  • End-User removable, with no tools and no residue (for up to 80 days).
  • Much more elegant than traditional temporary construction window coverings
  • 4-MIL contruction helps protect glass during construction.
  • Keeps dirt, paint, drywall compound and sawdust off of the windows.

Construction window film can be purchased and installed at a price around 20% less than standard solar control films,  around $3.50-$4.00/sqft.

Your alternatives are months or weeks of looking at:

  • Uneven soap solution
  • Paint
  • Newspapers
  • Torn construction paper and masking tape
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Sawdust covered clear plastic temporary drop cloths

Yes, believe it or not, these are the main methods used to cover windows during construction. Finally there’s a better way, thanks to the development of this revolutionary product. Vacancy film does not require experience to remove and comes off clean, which means anyone can take the film off with minimal effort – saving you money.

The likelyhood that the windows will get damaged during construction is significantly reduced due to the films’ heavy duty 4-MIL composition, not to mention that all forms of errant debris and paint will just get stuck to the film – not your windows, making post-construction window clean-up a snap.

If you would like to know more, or would like to get a free quote in the Chicagoland area, give us a call at 800-683-8468 or click here to contact us.

Anti-Graffiti Window Film

Why are there different thicknesses of anti-graffiti film?

Not all anti-graffiti window films are created equal. If you intend on having the film installed outdoors, make sure that the anti-graffiti film is at least 6-MIL (six thousandths of an inch) in thickness. This is the industry tested gauge that can successfully stand up to diamond-tipped glass etching tools. Lighter gauge anti-graffiti films are meant to only hold up against attacks by the casual tagger, who would most likely be using a key or coin to scratch the glass. 4-MIL films are most successful when used on stainless panels in public areas or on bathroom mirrors inside retail establishments. The reason lighter gauge films are manufactured is because they use less material and are therefore cheaper to make.

How is anti-graffiti film different from security film?

The major difference is the adhesive. Security films are not meant to be removed and have an aggressive adhesive that is designed to hold the glass together in the event of breakage. The adhesives in anti-graffiti films are designed for easier removal.

Security film is meant to be installed on the interior surface of the glass and only has UV protectant in the adhesive layer of the film.  Since anti-graffiti films are meant to be used outdoors, they have a UV coat on the exterior of the film in addition to the adhesive to prevent premature breakdown of the film.

Although some “safety” films come in thicknesses as low as 4-MIL, the most commonly used “security” thickness is 8-MIL, about 25% thicker than the most commonly used anti-graffiti film.

Does the brand of anti-graffiti film matter?

Not to the consumer. As long as you are using an optically-clear multi-layered film with at least 6-MIL construction, you are good to go. The major difference between each brand is how easy the film is to remove. This is something that matters more to the company installing (and some day replacing) the film. Some films remove easily while others come off in small pieces leaving a lot of adhesive behind.

Is anti-graffiti film easy to install?

No. The most common problems that occur with the installation of anti-graffiti film are:

Peeling corners – the outer frames of windows hold onto a lot of debris. Even after several washings this debris will easily get sucked behind the edges of the film as it is being trimmed to fit the window. Not only does this produce a bubbly “rash” of grit behind the film, but weakens the bond between the film and the glass. Since the adhesives in anti-graffiti film are designed to be more easily removed, any amount of dirt that inhibits this already loose bond will result in the premature failure of the adhesive.

Wind – anti-graffiti window films are around 4 times thicker than average solar control window films. This means that even the smallest speck of dust will create a large bubble behind the film, because the film is too thick to mould around it. Storefront windows are big. To remove the liner on such a large piece of film, soak it with application fluid and get it onto the window without the wind catching the film or peppering it with dust is an issue every installer has to deal with, but only few are well experienced at preventing.

Is anti-graffiti film easy to remove?

Most of the time – no. Even though anti-graffiti adhesives are designed for easier removal – there is no standard adhesive formula across each manufacturer, so some adhesives start to cure over time making them stubborn to remove.

Depending on the age of the film, UV breakdown may have occurred, weakening the film to the point where it will crack apart as you try to remove it.

Even after you have the film removed, adhesive is left behind.  A safe yet extremely slow method of removing the adhesive is to use some type of solvent to soften the glue and scrub it off with a non-scratch sponge. We use the word “safe” because most storefront glass is tempered. Depending on how well the glass is manufactured, using a razor blade to remove the glue can be a bad decision. Most of the time we find that the glass was already damaged by the previous installer. Review our article on window film removal for more information.

If you are located in the Chicago area and are interested in having anti-graffiti film in your business installed or replaced, please give us a call at 800-683-8468 or visit our main web site at to arrange a free, no-obligation estimate.

Differences In Window Film

This is a question we get a lot: “What are the differences in window film brands?” While it is easy for most salespeople to say that all brands are the same – it just isn’t true.

Not only do the chemical composition of heat rejecting materials and the method used to apply them to the substrate differ from company to company, but so do the adhesives and substrate that each manufacturer uses.

The major difference that arises from the use of different heat rejecting materials is how much visible light is cut down by the films to achieve heat reduction. While glare reduction can sometimes be a desired attribute to a film, most residential clients are looking for a film that can reduce heat without making the windows too dark.

Around 2 out of 3 of the brands of film on the market today sacrifice heat reduction to allow more light through the film. It is the minority that pushes for maximum heat rejection and minimum light reduction.

The relationship of heat rejection to light reduction is known as luminous efficacy. Films with a high luminous efficacy reject more heat while blocking less light. Not suprisingly, manufacturers that produce films with lower luminous efficacy typically use adhesives and polyester substrate that can reduce or impair visibility through the film by adding unwanted distortion or clouding.

Some manufacturers are notorious for having distortive architectural films, such as Llumar and 3M. Dealers that carry these products are more likely to do mostly automotive tinting. Since they don’t do much work outside of a car, it just isn’t worth it for them to carry a manufacturer with films better suited for flat glass application.

Other manufacturers such as Panorama, Madico, Huper Optik and V-Kool have shown time and again that the materials used to create their products are of the highest quality, and add no distortion or clouding to the glass they are applied to. Dealers that carry these products are likely to have more experience working in homes and businesses and probably do little or no automotive application.

Regardless if you are having a semi-metallic, ceramic or spectrally-selective film installed – make sure that you have taken the time to look at the film sample to see if it looks cloudy or distortive. Check to see if there is an alternative brand with a higher luminous efficacy.  Although these characteristics may not matter in some commercial installations – when it comes to a home – the less noticable a film is, the better.

If you live in the Chicago area, give us a call at 800-683-8468 to set up a free estimate. If you would like to learn more about our company and products, visit

2011 Window Film Tax Credit Info

The tax credit has been reduced from before. See below.

Tax Credit: 10% of cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50 – $300
Expires: December 31, 2011
Details: Must be an existing home & your principal residence. New construction and rentals do not qualify.

Pretty much everything you need to know about your film’s eligibility conditions can be found by going to your film manufacturer’s website. Each type of film has eligibility depending on the “climate zone”, or area of the country the film was installed. Locate the manufacturer’s letter of compliance and read it to determine if your film qualifies for a credit in your climate zone.  Once you’ve found that the film is eligible, print (2) copies of the letter so you have one to send in with your taxes and one for your records. If you’re having trouble finding the letter from your manufacturer, contact them by phone to ask them where you can find it or ask them to send you a copy. 

Below is a short list of links to manufacturer certification letters. Please let us know if any of these links no longer work and we will remove/update them ASAP.

  • V-Kool
  • Madico
  • Solargard
  • Llumar
  • Vista
  • Huper Optik
  • Sun Tek
  • Panorama
  • 3M
    1. Make a copy of the dealer invoice/receipt (make sure it states the film type and has the material cost itemized)
    2. Fill out the 2011 Form 5695. Window film is referred to as an “insulation material or system specifically and primarily designed to reduce the heat loss or gain of your home” so the film cost should be put on this line (2A).
    3. The total from Form 5695 should be claimed on your Form 1040, line 52.
    4. Send the copies of the certification letter and dealer reciept in with your Form 5695 when you file your taxes.

    That’s it. If you have any other questions, let us know.

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