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How to Install Windows Tint at Home?

Home / January 25, 2020

Window TintWindow tint for your home is a great solution for a variety of problems. Many homeowners have issues concerning heat from the windows, problems with glare, or privacy issues. Tinted window film can solve these problems without affecting your view. This is a cost-effective and simple way to make your home more comfortable, more attractive, and more energy-efficient. With a handful of common tools, some free time, and a helper for large windows, you can easily install window tint yourself.

  • Insulating films make your home more comfortable year-round. In the summer, they reflect the sun's heat, keeping your home cooler and saving on air conditioning bills. In the winter, these films can retain more of your home's heat. Insulating films also reduce damage to your furnishings, window treatments, and flooring caused by fading from the sun.
  • Static-cling or glare-reducing films decrease glare, and you can also remove and reuse them. If television screen or computer screen glare is a problem in your home, glare-reducing window tint offers an ideal solution.
  • Privacy films block UV rays and create privacy. There are frosted privacy films, which are translucent and provide privacy around the clock, while mirrored privacy films provide privacy during the day.

Installing Residential Window Tint

You can save money and engage in a fun home improvement project by installing your window tint by yourself - or maybe with one other helper if you have large windows. To get started, you will need:

Preparing Your Materials and Windows

Fill the spray bottle with a mild soapy solution using a small amount of baby shampoo (about a quarter of a teaspoon) to a bottle full of distilled water. Avoid using tap water for this, as it can leave spots under the film. If the windows are very dirty or greasy, you may need to clean them with glass cleaner first, but then use the mild soapy solution afterwards to wash away any ammonia or vinegar on the glass, which may dilute the film's adhesive. Have all of your materials handy before you start.

Remember to handle the film carefully. Just like aluminum foil, once creased, the film will remain creased. If your windows are three to four feet wide or wider, this is probably a project best undertaken by two people. Also, do not apply the film during times when direct sunlight is coming through the window or when the temperatures outside are freezing or below. Ideally, choose a time in the morning or evening when the temperature is between 45 and 90 degrees. Also, tint should be applied vertically; laying windows down to apply the film may result in trapped air bubbles. Finally, make sure there is no dust in the area by dusting the area before you begin and turning off any nearby fans.

Applying the Film

  1. Measure the window: Before you ever unroll the film, measure the dimensions of the window. You can apply the film from top to bottom or from side to side; use whichever measurement which leaves the least amount of waste.
  2. Clean the window: Spray the window generously with the soapy solution. Use the squeegee to clean the window thoroughly. If needed, re-spray, and use the razor blade to scrape away any paint or dirt on the glass. Make sure to clean the corners well. Spray once more, and use the squeegee again. Repeat this process until the glass in completely clean. Cleaning the outside of the window is a good idea to ensure complete clarity.
  3. Cut the film: On a flat, clean surface close to the window, unroll the film, and cut it to one inch larger than the measurement of the window.
  4. Wet the window: Spray the soapy solution onto the glass generously; this functions as a lubricant for the film. The water should run down the glass - do not let the window dry while applying the film. Rewet it if it does begin to dry.
  5. Remove the film's backing: Patiently and carefully remove the clear liner from the adhesive side of the film. As you do this, spray the adhesive with the soapy solution. Also, wet your hands with the soapy solution so that you won't leave fingerprints on the adhesive.
  6. Place the film on the window: With both the film's adhesive and the window wet, apply the film to the glass with the adhesive side touching the glass. Begin at the top of the window, and let the film lay down gently onto the glass. Remember that wrinkles and creases cannot be removed, so handle the film very carefully. As long as both window and film are very wet, you can slide the film around on the glass to position it correctly.
  7. Spray the outside of the film: Wet the outside surface of the film, and use the squeegee to rub air and water out from underneath. Make sure the squeegee is clean (you may need a different one than you used to clean the windows).
  8. Trim the edges: With a razor blade that is very sharp (a dull one might tear the film), trim around the four edges of the film. Use a guide to leave a 1/16" wide gap around the perimeter to allow for expansion of the glass. Wet and squeegee the film yet again. Pressing very firmly, make sure to remove all water so the adhesive will stick properly. Any cloudiness that is left will disappear within a few days as the adhesive cures. Once the process is complete, windows can be cleaned and maintained like normal.

Key Terms You May Encounter When Shopping for Residential Window Tint

Total solar energy reduction

This refers to the film's ability to prevent UV rays, heat, and visible light from entering the home.

Light transmission

This is a measure of how light or dark the film is. Darker films have lower numbers.