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What Does Window Tinting Cost?

This article deals with the cost of having a service install window film in a home or commercial application – not the cost of automotive, DIY window film pre-cut kits or bulk rolled window films.  Film is usually installed by the square foot, and the price includes the cost of the film and the installation.

On typical residential installations (100-300/sqft) the best price you will usually find is right around $5/sqft. On installations close to and over 1000 square feet, prices can fall as low as $4/sqft. Using these prices as a base, installation cost can go up as much as $2/sqft more, depending on the difficulty of the installation. These prices deal with the cost of standard semi-metallic films.

Typical “square” windows with clean edges that can be accessed without the use of stools, ladders or scaffold and do not have obstructions in the way should be installed at the low end of the price scale.

Things that can raise the base cost of installation:

  • Excessive putty, paint or silicone on the edge of the glass to be filmed
  • Glass that does not have a frame on some or all of the edges
  • Odd shaped windows
  • Skylight application
  • Removal of existing film
  • Storm window application
  • Ladder or scaffold use
  • Window/Door hardware  removal/replacement
  • Applications that require seaming (usually if window is over 72″ in two directions)
  • Windows blocked by immovable obstructions

Square foot price is usually switched to a per-unit price when dealing with “french-pane” windows. Individual preparation and filming of each of the units is labor intensive, so the prices can range from $10-$20 a pane depending on the condition of the glass and the type of film used.

Shades, blinds & curtains are standard obstructions and the price should not be affected by their presence. The service should either work around or remove and replace these obstructions as part of the service.

Spectrally-selective films fall in a higher price range, from $8-$14/sqft. This base price range is mainly affected by the quality of the film. The “70” series of each of the manufacturers is the most popular, and refers to the nominal percentage of light allowed through the glass after the  application of the film. This level of light reduction is nearly undetectable to the human eye, so the fact that these films can reject up to 56% of solar energy is impressive. These films also act as an after-market low-E coating, which can reflect heat back into the room, saving energy in the winter.

Lower quality spectrally-selective films block less heat, block more light, and in some cases, add distortion to the glass. Review our article about spectrally selective films for more information.

8 Comments

  • By Kelly, October 24, 2010 @ 9:05 am

    Now that I know how much it costs I am wondering how long the window film will last? And is it permenant- if I dont like it can I remove it later? Is it easy to remove myself or do I have to hire someone to remove it. Furthermore, if I do remove it will it harm my windows?

  • By Administrator, October 24, 2010 @ 9:32 am

    Professionally installed residential window film comes with a lifetime warranty. Wear and tear can mark up the film, but typically it will last 15-20 years.

    Professional window film is meant to be permanent, but is easily removed by a trained installer. If you already have window film installed in your home and aren’t sure if your windows are “tempered”, do not attempt removal without consulting a professional. Some tempered glass will scratch easily, so the normal method of razor blade removal would not be recommended. If you know that your windows are not tempered, you can first try to pick up the corner of the film and peel off the polyester layer. If you’re lucky enough to get it off in a couple of pieces, this will leave the adhesive layer exposed on the glass. Simply wet with soap and water, and gently use a razor blade to scrape the glue off the glass.

    If the film starts to tear into small pieces when you try to peel it off, your only options are to either scrape the entire window to remove the polyester (a lot of work), or hire a professional. Most window film services offer removal service for a reasonable price, and some services will remove the film for free if you plan to replace it.

  • By Kelly, October 29, 2010 @ 9:21 pm

    Thanks so much for the thorough explanation. Great blog and website!

  • By lauren, December 27, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

    Hey! Just wanted to say good website. Continue with the good work!

  • By Vanda Smitz, January 4, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

    Very useful info. Thanks for sharing it with me!

  • By Sheldon Hiraki, January 7, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

    extremely good weblog, great work, decent to read.

  • By Fernando Redick, January 8, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

    That was a good read and informative. You obviously know your stuff!

  • By Willia Rennell, January 19, 2011 @ 6:12 am

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

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