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Visible Light Transmission

How Dark Do You Go? Vehicle Tint and Visible Light Transmission

Ok, you have made the big decision – you want to put tint on the windows of your vehicle.  The next question will invariably be – how dark should I go?  In most cases, people choose to use a darker film on the back windows and rear windshield, and a lighter tint on the front driver and passenger side windows.  But how do you decide how “dark” to go?

Of course, the best thing to do is consult one of the professionals at Calgary’s top vehicle tint shop, Tint Tech.  We are ready to help answer any and all of your vehicle tint questions.  For decades we have been providing top-notch service to the Calgary region, and want to make sure that you have be best vehicle tint job possible.  For more information call us at 1-403-968-8468, or be sure to fill out our online contact form.

Now, let’s dive into the factors you need to consider when deciding how dark to go with your vehicle tint.

Clarity on the Concept of Visible Light Transmission

Tint films have been standardized by how much light they let through. That is represented as a percentage.  The percent value indicates the amount of light that reaches the other side of the film.  So, for example, a 70 percent film is very light because it lets 70 percent of the exterior light through.  By contrast, a 5 percent film is extremely dark because it only permits 5 percent of the exterior light through the film.

Accordingly, the term Visible Light Transmission, or VLT for short, refers to that percentage.  A 70 percent film is called 70% VLT, and a 5 percent film is called 5% VLT, and so on.

Know the Laws for Your Region

Each province has different VLT regulations about how much light has to be transmitted through the film for your tint to be legal.  For example, some provinces don’t allow any light-blocking at all, others may require that you have a minimum amount of light let through.  Of those, many will not care how dark the tint is around the back seat and the rear windshield, but will have strict requirements about how light the film must be on the front seat.

 Remember “Total” Visible Light Transmission

Many automakers manufacture the windows on their cars with some measure of light-blocking already.  Typically, cars off of the assembly line have 80% VLT windows.  You can see this effect if you open your car so that it casts a shadow and look at the light that hits the ground through the window.  The window itself will cast a slight shadow, and the light that passes through it should look a little bit dimmer than the direct sunlight that hits the pavement. You need to take this treatment into account when deciding what level of vehicle tint you select for your car.

Doing the Math

Assume that your windows come from the manufacturer allowing 80 percent of light through, and you live in a region that requires your front windows to allow a minimum of 70 percent of the light outside to enter your vehicle (70% VLT).  You need to figure out what tint to put on the windows and stay in the correct VLT range.  The effect of tint is not additive, so you have to calculate the percentage of the film based on the 80 percent of light the window is letting in, not on the 100 percent of light outside.

To do that, you need to convert the percentages into decimals.  80 percent is 0.8, so you will multiply any additional tint by 0.8 in order to arrive at the value for total visible light transmission.  In the case above where you need to have at least 70 percent transmission, the darkest film you can put on your windows is 90 percent, because 0.8 multiplied by 0.9 equals 0.72, or 72 percent.

It is highly unlikely that you will find someone selling an 87.5 percent film, which is what you would need to apply to the window in order to arrive perfectly at 70 percent, so the 90 percent film is your best option.  It is the closest to that threshold without violating the rules of the road.

If you walk into a shop and ask for a 70 percent film to be applied to your windows, but the windows are already blocking 80 percent, you will end up with a total visible light transmission of 56 percent.  That will be far below the minimum limit required.

It is easy to calculate this in reverse as well.  If you know the tint laws on how dark the film is allowed to be on your driver and passenger front windows, then you can calculate the level of tint you can have applied and still meet the threshold.  Say your province allows you to have tint on windows up to 35% VLT.  Convert that into a decimal so that you have 0.35, now divide it by the natural percentage the window allows.  If you divide 0.35 by 0.8, you end up with 0.4375 or 43.75 percent.

You will need to round up to the nearest percentage ending in 5 or 0, depending on who makes the film and what your auto shop carries in stock.  If you can get a 45 percent film, your total visible light transmission will be 36 percent, just flirting with the legal limit.  If the only option available is a 50 percent film, then the total will be 40 percent.

You Do Not Need to Go Too Dark

Keep in mind that you do not necessarily need a very dark tint film in order to reap the benefit of having tint on your car.  Would a 5% VLT film on all the windows of a black car make for a sleek look?  Probably.  But it may also be a safety hazard, particularly at night when you rely on headlights from other cars to remain aware of your surroundings. The laws regarding how much light must reach the interior of your vehicle exist because of the potential dangers of limiting driver visibility too much.

Modern, high quality automotive tint will block ultraviolet and infrared rays from the sun, which will keep your interior cooler and protect the leather or fabric from sun damage.  That means your AC will not have to work as hard to cool the car down in the summer, and will extend the life of the investment you made in your automobile.

Talk to the professionals at Tint Tech when deciding on the right VLT for your vehicle tint.  Call us at 1-403-968-8468, or fill out our online contact form.

Automotive Window Films

Automotive Window Films: Why Does Auto Tint Fail?

We’ve all seen that car driving down the road. You know, the one where the windows are purple, and not because the driver is paying homage to a sunglasses trend from the early 2000s. No, this car has a rear window covered in waves and bubbles. Without question, that person got a bad auto tinting job.

Just as good automotive window films add flair and class to a vehicle, there are few things that knock down the aesthetic value of your car like a bad tint job. The same is true for peeling clear-coat on the surface of your car, which often goes hand-in-hand with failing tint.

We at Tint Tech understand all too well the dangers of a bad automotive window film application.  We understand that your car is your pride and joy, and we want to make sure that every automotive window film application enhances – not detracts – from the good looks, lines, and contours of your car. That is why Tint Tech, Calgary’s top automotive window film shop, does a marvelous auto window tint job the first time, every time.  Call us for more information at 1-403-968-8468, or be sure to fill out our online contact form.

Now, let’s answer that important question – What causes automotive window film to go bad?

Cause #1 – The Sun

The radiation from sunlight is the primary reason that tint will bubble, crack, peel or turn purple.  Auto tint’s number one job on your vehicle is to block rays from the sun, in the form of radiation you can see (visible light) and radiation you cannot (ultraviolet and infrared).  Like everything else that blocks light, it does so in one of two ways:  (i) by absorbing light, or (ii) by reflecting light.  Unless you have a reflective metallic tint, it is more likely that your automotive window films are going to absorb the radiation as the method of keeping it out of your car.

Over time, the UV radiation starts to break down the adhesives in the auto tint film.  That includes both the adhesives used to apply it to the windows directly, and any bonding materials between the layers of the film itself.

For that reason, automotive window film will peel away from the glass (also known as “delamination”), and you will also see bubbles inside the film itself.  Even if you could somehow re-attach the film back to the window, those bubbles remain.  Notably, those same UV rays can also be blamed for the delamination of the clear coat on the exterior of the vehicle.

Cause #2 – Old or Low Quality Film

The older your car is, the more likely that an out-of-date film was used to tint the windows. Those films typically incorporate dyes between a few layers of plastic film and were never intended to last for the lifetime of the vehicle. The sun’s rays break down those dyes the longer the film is subjected to the heating and cooling cycles of day and night.  The film typically turns purple, blue, or a faded gray, after prolonged exposure to the sun.  That can take only a few years in some cases.

Many modern, high quality films typically incorporate either carbon or ceramic particles. Because those films have no dyes in them, they are more resistant to fading than the classic films. Ceramic tints are the most expensive that you can buy. So, it is worth discussing with your tint installer the potential benefits of a carbon film versus a ceramic film.  If your car is out in the sun most of the time because you do not have access to covered parking, that may make ceramic a better option. Yet, do your research on the different films and don’t allow yourself to be talked into a higher-ticket item if you do not need it.

Cause #3 – Poor Installation

If the tint was not applied properly in the first place, your vehicle is at a higher risk of having the tint fail.  There are a number of sites on the car where the tint is at risk for delamination due to improper installation or care instruction. The top three are (i) the defrost bars on the back window, (ii) the dot matrix at the edges of windows, and (iii) the film on moveable windows.

The defrost bars on the back window are wires that supply heat to clear up condensation and melt ice.  For that reason, they represent a three-dimensional (3D) structure around which the tint film must be applied.  Because those are large areas where the film needs to be pressed down, they are at the highest risk for peeling or bubbling, and often the reason long waves or bubbles show up on the rear window of the car more often than any other area.

Likewise, the dot matrix is a 3D structure, but rather than produce the large parallel bubbles like those around the defrost bars, the tint here is more likely to come away in a zigzag pattern if the shop did not either sand down the dots a little prior to the install, or did not use extra adhesive in the areas covered by the dot matrix.

The film on the inside of the windows can fail if the windows are rolled down prematurely following the install.  It takes three to five days for the film to adequately bond to the glass. Using the windows during this time period can introduce lifting, which causes more problems down the line.

Protecting Your Investment in Your Automotive Window Film – Tint Tech Can Help

There are steps you can take to help prevent your tint from fading.  Though most modern films come with a warranty somewhere between three years and a lifetime for the durability and colorfastness of the tint, you can minimize the possibility of damage by doing the following:

  • Keep your car out of the sun as much as possible. If you needed an incentive to clear out your garage, then park your vehicle where it will not be exposed to UV radiation to reduce the amount of light the tint is exposed to, and to extend the life of the product.  A carport or awning will help serve the same purpose and is better than nothing at protecting the tint film.
  • Do not use harsh or abrasive cleaners on the insides of your windows. Chemical or mechanical surfactants will shorten the life of your tint considerably. Some compounds will even hasten the fading or color change of the tint by directly breaking down the plastic of the film.
  • Review your warranty.  If your tint comes with a warranty from the manufacturer or installer, keep the paperwork in a safe place so that if you do start to notice fading, peeling, purpling, or other signs that your tint is starting to fail, you can make use of the guarantees offered to you at the time of purchase.

So, there you have it.  A list of reasons why tint fails, and a good set of to-do items to make sure that your tint job won’t be the proverbial car driving on the road with the peeling, purple, bubbling window tint.  For the best results, call the professionals at Tint Tech.  You can reach us at 1-403-968-8468, or if you fill out our online contact form.

Car Window Tining Specialtist

Car Glass Tinting: What to Look for In the Finished Job

So, you decided to get the windows tinted on your car.  You looked into all the local vendors, learned more than you probably wanted to about visible light transmission, researched what areas of your car your state will allow you to tint, and decided how far you wanted to follow the rules.

Perhaps you went to Calgary’s premier car glass tinting shopTint Tech – to get the windows tinted.  Now you ask yourself – “how do I know that I got my money’s worth from the shop?”  While we at Tint Tech guarantee all our work, you still want to make sure the auto tint was done right the first time – no matter where you get your car glass tinting done.

Here is a helpful checklist to make sure that your car glass tinting is top notch.

Step 1 – Check the Heat Transmission

Open the car door and stand so you have one hand in the direct sunlight, and the other in the shadow of the window.  Many modern, high quality films are designed to block UV and infrared rays from the sun, and you should feel that the hand behind the window is significantly cooler than the one in the sunshine.  This is the biggest return you will get on your investment in window tinting. A good quality tint will protect the fabric and plastic that make up your interior from breaking down as quickly (old car smell, anyone?).  It will also provide you with a more comfortable environment in the summer so your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to cool the car.

Most people elect by personal choice or state regulations to tint the rear windows and rear windshield more heavily than the front side windows. Check the heat transmission on whichever window has the lightest tint and allows the most visible light through.  It is important to remember that the ability to block these invisible rays from the sun is not necessarily tied to how dark the tint is.  You don’t need to look like you’re driving in a limousine, and you can have a film on the front side windows light enough to allow 70% of visible light penetration and still have the benefit of this protection.

Step 2 – Check Overall Visibility

Sit in the car and check your field of view.  Move your head back and forth as you look out your driver side window, passenger window, and rear window from the point of view of the driver. Are there any obvious ripples in the tint?  Climb into the back seat and repeat with the back doors and rear windows. Make sure there is no distortion when looking through the tinted glass at various angles because this could pose a safety hazard on the road.

Step 3 – Inspect the Defrost Bars

Check for any gapping or bubbling around the wires on your rear window that provide the defrosting action.  Because these present a raised surface, a hasty install may not adequately adhere the film to the window, and provide the seed for separation between the film and the glass that will only get worse over time and distort your field of view.

Even without signs of obvious gapping, with the edge of a credit card or a fingernail, gently press on the film near the wires in several spots.  Check to see if there is visible flexibility in the film, or if you can hear it sticking to the window briefly before pulling away again.  If either of those are the case, ask questions of the installer.  Did they use extra adhesive to fill in areas covered by the dot matrix?  Are they willing to go over those areas again to make sure they are secured to the window properly?

Step 4 – Inspect the Film Near Window Edges

There is a caveat associated with this advice.  You should not roll down your windows for 3-5 days after the film is applied.  This waiting period ensures the sheet has bonded fully to the window glass, otherwise you risk introducing lifting or scratches to the film.

While at the shop, you can check the visible edges where the film terminates near the sides of the rear window, and by the frame and weather-stripping on the doors.  You are looking for a clean, even line that follows the edge of the window without wavering or fading.  Faded spots may indicate that a section of film was stretched or put under other stress during installation and presents a possible point of failure.

Once the cautionary period has passed, roll each window down slightly and check the edges of the film at the top edge of the window. Like the other edges, the tint should terminate in a sharp, clean line that follows the contour of the window edge without wavering.

Step 5 – Double-Check Your Paperwork

While you’re waiting for the tint to be applied, look over the documents you signed and see if the shop or the tint manufacturer offers a warranty on the tint.  Tint Tech does offer certain warranties, so check with the installer if Tint Tech is installing the car glass tinting for you.

If your installer does provide warranties, verify what is covered with regard to the materials and labor cost, and how long it is valid.  If there is a warranty period, perform the same checks at regular intervals of 3-6 months for the duration of the warranty to make sure there is no delamination of the film, cracking, bubbling, or other failure.

Make sure you keep the warranty paperwork in a safe place, but not so safe that you forget where it is.  Window tint is an investment in your car far beyond the aesthetic benefit, and it is worth protecting.

Finally, Protecting Your Tint

Professional car wash establishments should know how to care for tint when cleaning and detailing the interior of your vehicle.  If you like to be more hands on about your maintenance and wash your own car, remember not to use anything abrasive on the interior glass to maintain the integrity of the tint film. A microfiber cloth and a mild cleanser will be more than enough to clean the windows and keep from scratching the tint so you can continue to enjoy it for years to come.

Tint Tech is Calgary’s top car glass tinting shop.  If you have any questions, call 1-403-968-8468, or be sure to fill out our online contact form.

Office Tint Window Film Specialist

Office Tinting Done Right

Batman and Robin, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, Knight Rider and KITT, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Jay and Silent Bob – the list of headliners and their sidekicks could go on forever.  It’s not that Robin, Tonto, the Blackhearts, or the Heartbreakers are any less important.  Indeed, some would argue that Knight Rider was nothing without his car KITT, and Tom Petty would never have been the same without the Heartbreakers.  But all too often, we put emphasis on the headliner and seem to focus less on the person, or group, who plays second-fiddle.

The same goes true in the window tinting world.  As the premier Calgary window tinting shop, we at Tint Tech know too well that the headliner product in the window tinting world is auto window tint.  It is the product that makes our cars look cool, it is the product where a vast amount of technology is devoted, and arguably it is the after-market window tint product best known in the marketplace.  We don’t focus much on those second-fiddle products like residential window tint and office tinting.

Today’s article is going to change all that.  Today we will focus on the “Silent Bob” of the window tinting world – office tinting.  In fact, after reviewing this blog, you will come to realize that office tinting is the best kept secret in the window tinting world.  It is a marvelous product with amazing benefits.

So, let’s take office tinting out of hiding, and give it the spotlight it deserves.  After reading this blog, you will likely be motivated to inquire further about how you can get office tinting film for your own office or business.  It is easy to get more details.  Just contact us at Tint Tech by calling 1-403-968-8468, or be sure to fill out our online contact form.

What Makes Office Tinting So Amazing

Office tinting has a host of benefits for office management and employees alike.  This blog will touch upon just a few of the reasons why you should look into investing in office tinting for the windows in your building.

First and foremost, once you go through the benefits of office tinting, you will see that there is virtually no downside.  There are few products that can boast such a claim.  But with office tinting, you are looking at all positives that will help your environment, and the bottom line.

Benefit #1 – Aesthetics

What do building owners and property managers do?  They trim the trees and hedges, maintain the grass, power wash the sidewalks, and generally make the property look as good as possible.  That is because it is important for the business and the area to have an attractive place to work.

Well, why not add a real boost to the look of your office building?  Office window film is just the thing to enhance the aesthetic beauty of an office building or office complex.  Indeed, adding reflective or slightly darkened window tint to your office building will give the building that upgraded look, without the massive cost of renovations.

Benefit #2 – Improved Security

Window film, whether it is reflective or darkened in whatever color you wish, brings added security to the office building.  Why?  Because would be burglars cannot see through the windows – particularly those on the first floor.  While computers and other expensive office equipment would normally be in view if someone looked through an office window, darkened or mirror window film would make it impossible for someone with nefarious motives to see if there is anything to steal.  That creates a huge disincentive for a would-be burglar, because a person will not typically take the risk of illegally entering a building if there is no way of knowing that there would be something worth stealing once inside.

Benefit #3 – Privacy Makes Perfect

Employees do better when they are not working in a fishbowl. Office tint will allow your office’s windows to be darkened to maintain privacy, but still let employees see out to enjoy the view.  That added privacy for your employees is just the type of benefit that improves the overall workplace, and just for the price of office tinting film.

Benefit #4 – Go Green

There are, without question, marvelous energy efficiency benefits to office tint on your windows.  Office window film has multiple impacts – it keeps UV rays and the hot sun from coming in, thereby giving your air conditioning system relief from having to work hard against the heat from the mid-day sun; and it insulates the windows to keep more of the air-conditioned air in, again ensuring that your air conditioning system does not need to work as hard.  Taking the added pressure off of your heating and air-conditioning system will result in immediate energy savings, and saved money as well.

Benefit #5 – Glare Mitigation

We all know that there are times during the day when direct sunlight will hit your computer screen.  Having that unvarnished natural light can be pleasant, but not if you cannot see the information on the computer screen in front of you.  Office tint takes away that problem by significantly reducing glare.  That way your employees can be more productive throughout the day.

Benefit #6 – Added Safety

It is a somewhat tangential benefit, but window film also protects the integrity of your office windows.  Many buildings are surrounded by trees, which could do harm to a building during a storm. Office tint film, however, is instrumental in keeping a window together if an object hits it.  Keeping glass from shattering will make it safer for those employees who work right next to a window.

Tint Tech – The Office Tint Specialists Can Help You With Solutions Today

If you are just learning about office tint window film, then you will likely want to learn more about this worthwhile investment for your building. Tint Tech professionals are standing by to help you get more details on this great product.  So, if you are ready to increase comfort and productivity for your employees, and decrease your air-conditioning bills, call us today.  We can guide you in the right direction as to what are the best office tint products on the market, and what will best suit your needs.  Please call us to learn more at 1-403-968-8468, or fill out our online contact form.