Is Window Tinting Right For Your Home?
Guest post by Rachel Abraham
Bright, open spaces with big windows are a huge trend—and with good reason. Who doesn’t feel great in a sunny space? Unfortunately, too much sun exposure can have consequences for your furnishings, décor, and health. You could also be struggling with inconveniences like a glare on your television or computer screen on sunny days. But what do you do if you don’t want to keep the curtains closed all day?
The solution: home window tinting. With window tinting, visible light can still enter your home, but ultraviolet rays are bounced back. Those UVA rays are what fades fabrics and increases your risk of skin cancer. Window tinting does allow you to see outside, but how much visible light you let in depends on the type of film you choose. Options range from almost no visible blockage to films that darken your room as much as 70 percent.
The tinting is usually available as a film that comes in rolls and is installed by a qualified window professional. According to HomeAdvisor.com’s True Cost Guide, the price to put in window tinting averages about $620 nationally but depends on the size and type of windows you are covering.
Is window tinting really worth it just to eliminate a little glare or fading? Actually, window tinting can save you money in the long run while protecting your health. Here’s how:
- Your risk of skin damage may be reduced.
The Skin Cancer Foundation likes window tinting as a way to reduce your exposure to ultraviolet rays that can cause some cancers. Their research found that sitting by a glass window can dramatically increase your exposure to damaging UVA rays, which can make your skin age faster and increase your odds of developing cancer.
It’s those ultraviolet rays you really want to block. According to the International Window Film Association (IWFA), window tinting can filter out 95 to 99 percent of ultraviolet light. In comparison, single-pane windows block about 23 to 28 percentand insulated windows only do a bit better at 36 to 41 percent.
If you sit near a window for long periods of time or if you have children or pets who play in or near the incoming sunlight, window tinting can protect you and your family from the rays that cause health problems, without eliminating light.
- You’ll save more in energy costs.
Window tinting helps keep heated or cooled air from escaping through your windows, saving you money in energy bills. Note that darker or silver reflective films do the best job bouncing away heat and can save you the most if that’s your primary goal.
How much can you actually save? So much depends on your area, the weather, your windows and your current energy usage that it’s hard to give a set number. One window tint installer in the western U.S. looked at a 2900-square-foot home where the owners paid nearly $9 per day in energy costs. By installing new, energy-efficient windows, the energy bill dropped to just over $6.50 per day; after putting on solar window film the total energy cost plummeted to around $2.50 per day. While your results may not be as dramatic, there is definitely the potential for savings by installing window tinting.
- You’ll have safer windows.
The window film applied to glass makes a broken window less of a safety concern, as most of the broken shards will stick in place. This makes cleanup easier and replacement faster.
- You’ll have increased privacy.
A darker window film will give you more privacy if you’re in an area where others can look in. With window tinting, you won’t have to keep your blinds drawn all the time if you have nosy neighbors.
- Your furnishings will last longer.
It’s not only cosmetic fading that the sun’s rays can cause — ultraviolet light exposure over time can lead to structural weakening in your fabrics on sofas and chairs, your carpeting and your window treatments. You won’t need to replace your floor or window coverings or furniture as often with tinted windows.
Also consider your wall décor. Do you have pictures of family or sensitive paintings in harsh daylight? Wall tinting can keep your photographs and artwork from losing color and protect them from other light and heat damage.
Tinted windows do require care when you’re washing them and the film may need to be replaced roughly every 10 years. Talk to a qualified window film installer to find out more about whether window tinting is a good option for your home.
Rachel is a Home Advisor editor who loves high quality home design, decor and DIY on a budget.