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Category: Useful Information

Window Film Benefits For The Home

The benefits of window film in the home are so great, it is an investment that almost everyone should consider making. Just like using compact flourescent lightbulbs or putting in double-pane windows in your home – window film starts saving you energy the day you have it installed.

Energy savings is only the tip of the iceberg. Window films reduce the 3 major causes of fading: UV light, heat and visible light. This means that you can protect your floors and furnishings in your home without having to have your shades drawn all day. Perhaps you have angle-top windows or arches that you don’t want to cover up with shades – window film is the solution!

Another benefit of window films in the home is privacy. Whether you just want to slightly darken the window, make it reflective or completely frost it over – there is a window film that can complete the task.

Most solar film installations pay for themselves in 3-5 years and provide immediate comfort. Expensive double-pane low-e gas-filled windows are great for keeping your home warm in the winter, but let the sun’s heat straight into your home. If you’ve already spent the money on the windows, take the final step and get film installed.

The window films of today are designed to easily cut down over 50% of the heat from the sun without over-darkening your windows. You need to see it to believe it. If you live in the Chicago area, give us a call at 800-683-8468 or visit our main website to arrange a free consultation.

Tinting House Windows For Privacy

Our window film company is based in Chicago. We get a lot of questions about tinting house windows for privacy. There are a few misconceptions about what can be accomplished with window film, so we’re going to help clear things up.

The most common request we hear when people want privacy film for their homes is to get a dark “limo” tint installed. The first thing we tell them is that you will still be able to see in at night when the lights are on. This is usually where that discussion ends. But  for those who want to push forward we give the next bit of infomation:

Dark films cause windows to absorb excessive amounts of heat. It is this thermal stress that can damage glass. The problem with using a limo-like film is that most residential windows are double pane and made of weak plate glass. If you were to install a limo tint to the inside of an insulated glass window it would only be a matter of time before that window seal would fail, causing excessive moisture to collect inside the window, eventually molding.

Even if you had a window that was single pane, the application of a dark film is risky. Windows are frequently chipped during transport and installation. This damage is not visible after the windows are installed. These chips are weak points from which breaks can occur after the application of a dark film. If you insist on using a dark film we recommend you can have it applied to the exterior surface of the window if your windows are double pane. These applications don’t last more than a couple years, but at least you won’t have to worry about damaging the glass.

If it acceptable to have a silver appearance to the exterior of the window, you may want to consider a one-way film. One-way film has a dark limo appearance on the inside, but is mirror like on the outside, providing superior privacy. The only drawback is that most condo associations will not allow you to change exterior windows in this manner.

Another option if you’re only interested in daytime privacy is to use a 25-35% semi-metallic film. You can easily see outside during the day and the film can safely be applied to the inside of the windows. The only drawback to this is not being able to see outside at night.

The fourth choice in films for privacy are those that block the view in both directions day and night. You can go with a frosted, whiteout or blackout film. Frosted films allow all of the light to come through while blackout film lives up to its name by blocking it all. Blackout films can only be safely applied to the exterior surface of windows unless your glass is single-pane and tempered.

Frosted and whiteout films are safe for interior application. Whiteout films are typically used to cover floor to ceiling windows in a commercial space so that a wall can be built in front of them (to increase shelving space).

Frosted films achieve a natural etched appearance without blocking the light. This is usually the first film we recommend to any customer interested in privacy in their home. Visit our website at to see examples of frosted window film styles.

Tint Specialist, Chicago IL

We’re proud to host the #1 Chicago based resource for architectural window film information. We offer general comparisons to popular products and give expert advice about installation concerns and window film removal. If you have a question not covered in our blog, please submit a comment so we can help!

We believe that once you have learned about our quality products, reasonable rates and  experience that every dollar you spend will be with confidence. We are one of the only companies in Chicago that can call themselves an archtiectural tint specialist – we never have and never will work with cars.

Please review our posting categories and frequently asked questions, listed on the right of the page. If you are interested in learning more about our company and services, please visit

Home Window Tinting

Home window tinting is one of  the best values in home energy savings today. Much like replacing your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, the investment in home window tinting pays you back in energy savings from the very first day you have it installed.

Home window tinting lets in plenty of light, blocks between 50%-80% of solar heat  and will last longer than any other home improvement you can make.

Saving on cooling costs is just the beginning. Home window tinting blocks over 99% of harmful UV light and reduces glare – protecting your carpet, flooring, furniture, pianos and artwork from fading. Thousand of dollars of your hard earned money goes into the furnishings in your home – keep them looking like new and help your home hold its value.

Do your research! So many people (even “experts”) are unaware of what low-e windows actually do. They are designed to keep heat in your home, not out. They are not specifically designed to block UV light (usually a maximum of 60% blocked) and do not reduce glare. Home window tinting is the solution to all of these shortcomings.

Commercial Window Tinting

Commercial window tinting is a job best left for a professional window tinting service. When asked by their clients, some general contractors attempt to install graffitifrosted – even energy saving films without outsourcing an experienced company.

Commercial window tinting requires skilled installation if you expect it to look good for years to come. Most of the time an inexperienced general contrator will either give up, make an excuse about the difficulty of working with the product, or believe the installation looks good only to find that it begins to bubble or peel a month down the road. While these contractors don’t do these things on purpose, you have to understand that their ultimate goal is to get the job done at the lowest price possible.

Individually wrapped do-it-yourself residential film rolls are probably the main culprit of  unjust confidence. Some people assume that since you can find DIY films at your local home improvement store that installation is a snap. The truth is while those films are designed to be easier to install, this ease of use is limited to their resistance to creasing. The windows are just as difficult to properly prep and nothing but a skilled installer can minimize airborne dust and window frame debris from getting under the film. Furthermore, DIY films look horrible when compared to professional films, are not designed for commercial application and don’t come with a guarantee or warranty.

Hire a service! Most commercial window tinting can be professionally installed for a price that barely exceeds the cost of the material itself.

What Clear Window Films Can Do

With the hit the economy has taken, the use of  “spectrally-selective” films has seen a dramatic fall. However, the benefits of such films remains unchanged. Such films block UV light (99%), reduce solar heat and heat build-up, retain heat in winter, all while only reducing the visible light by an amount undetectable to the human eye.

Most commonly used in high-end installations, these films were designed to offer the most heat rejection and fade protection possible, without changing the view through the window.

The industry leaders of these films are V-Kool (V-Kool 70), 3M (Prestige 70), Vista (VS70) and Panorama (HiLite 70). This technological breakthrough was originally developed by V-Kool  in 1991, and still manufactures the highest performing spectrally-selective film in the world.

3M had the goal of making spectrally-selective films cheaper, and in some ways, succeeded. There are a couple of caveats: First, the optical clarity, or distortion impediment of Prestige 70 is moderate and adds a waviness to the glass. Some would argue that a film that costs $8-$12/sqft shouldn’t distort the view at all. As for Prestige 70 heat rejection, it is not constant, and on a double-pane installation will only perform between 44%-50% heat rejection, depending on the angle of the sun. Still, for those who want to save a couple bucks per foot, this is a way to go.

Panorama HiLite 70’s distortion impediement is undetectable, and its heat reduction performance on double-pane glass is 51%, but its quality that comes at a higher price than Prestige 70 ($10-14/sqft).

V-Kool 70 ($10-$14/sqft) distortion impediment is undetectable, and offers the highest heat rejection in its class on double-pane glass (56.2%).  

The manufacturer names and product ID’s are as follows (In order of performance
from best to worst):

V-Kool: VK70 | 56.2% TSER | 64.4% VLT

Panorama: HiLite 70 | 51% TSER | 64% VLT

Vista: VS70 | 48% TSER | 61% VLT

3M: Prestige 70 | 44% TSER | 61% VLT

(TSER: Total Solar Energy Rejected)

(VLT: Visible Light Transmission)

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