13 Pros and Cons of Tinted House Windows

Many homeowners are looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency rates of their houses. With green building techniques growing in popularity, one option to start considering is a tinted house window.

You can apply a film against an existing window to create a cost-effective way to boost the efficiency of a home, reduce utility costs, and experience additional benefits too. Transparent film can act as a solar shield, blocking up to 80% of the sun’s heat without changing the look of your property. Adding tinting can add even more benefits.

When you install a window film as an upgrade option, then you’re going to get your money back in 24-36 months when working with a reputable contractor or dealer. This product lasts for up to 25 years with correct installation and proper maintenance, which is why it is such a great deal.

You can also choose to install tinted windows that function like double-pane designs. You’ll keep more of the heat inside of the home while creating more opportunities for airflow and outside noise reduction.

List of the Pros of Tinted House Windows

1. You can cut your utility bills by up to 40% with tinted windows.
When you add a window film to your existing design, then you can immediately reduce your utility bills. Most homeowners see a savings of at least 30%, and some can go much higher. Since you can place tinting or transparent film on your existing glass for as little as $6 per square foot, it is a budget-friendly option that is definitely worth considering. It’s a lot cheaper to use this upgrade than to replace all of your windows with a tinted version unless your house is old enough where a window upgrade is necessary.

2. There could be a rebate program to help you control costs.
There are some utilities in the United States that offer a rebate program for customers who install window films and tints to control energy costs. You might find some tax incentives are available for this investment in some areas too. This advantage creates two ways for you to save money – with fewer energy costs and less capital to create the upgrade in the first place. You might even be able to do some of the work yourself if you know how to install window film or tinting.

3. Window films can add another layer of security to the home.
When you add a window film to your existing glass, then you are creating a laminated effect for the product. If it should shatter for any reason, then it can hold the shards together to prevent a safety concern. More resiliency is added to the surface as well, making it more challenging to break through that entry point if someone wanted to rob your home. It won’t stop a brick or a hammer, but it could work to prevent a casual robbery attempt. At the very least, you’ll slow someone down a little so that there is enough time for the authorities to respond.

4. You will block almost all of the UV light coming into your home.
If you choose a transparent window film for your home, then you’ll block up to 99% of the UV light that comes into each room. This benefit helps to reduce the fading that occurs over time as the sun’s rays hit your furniture. You can add tinting to darken spaces where you might not want a lot of light to come in as well, such as a bedroom with windows that face the morning sun. You can avoid the reflective effect that used to occur with older forms of the films or ready-made windows that you could have a contractor install.

5. It is an easy retrofit project.
You can potentially add window films to the inside and outside of a window. That means your older glass can become as efficient as a low-E, triple-pane product that a contractor would install for a fraction of the price. It may not be a suitable option in all homes, especially if the windows are made with older glass that tends to settle with gravity and become thicker at the bottom. If you want a short-term solution before doing a major upgrade, you’ll discover that this easy project is a quick and affordable way to save some money until you can finish the entire project.

6. Tinted house windows can reduce the heat of the sun in your home.
You can experience heat reduction levels of up to 55% when you install tinted house windows. That means you’ll feel cooler whenever you’re sitting next to one of your windows. This advantage reduces your cooling costs during the summer, but it also improves heat retention during the winter months. When you consider the clear views that you can receive with a professional installation, you’ll find that life can be a lot more comfortable when you choose this option as one of your next property upgrades.

7. You can fix common structural problems with your window upgrade.
Some homeowners will benefit from a complete window replacement instead of opting for tinted film when specific problems are present. If the frames of your current window are rotted, when the glass is broken, or if the product is at the end of its useful life, then you’ll want to consider having a new window installed instead of applying film to the existing structure. You can find laminated double or triple pane windows that give you this benefit while going through the standard installation process.

Window replacement costs average between $175 to $700 per window. High-end types can go as high as $1,200. Your final installation costs will depend on several local factors, including labor expenses, so you’ll want to check with your contractor first before giving a go-ahead to the project plan.

List of the Cons of Tinted House Windows

1. Adding tinting or a window film could void your warranty.
Some window manufacturers say that adding a film of any type to the surface of the glass will void the warranty you have with the product. There are several film and tint manufacturers that say that they’ll match whatever original warranty you have left, but not all of them do. You will want to tread carefully in this area because there could be issues with your homeowners’ insurance with a voided warranty as well. Make sure that you get any guarantee in writing before deciding to proceed with this project.

Because of this disadvantage, you might find that the better long-term deal is to replace your existing windows with tinted ones and avoid the film altogether. This issue typically applies to double-pane windows, but it could be problematic for any design.

2. There are some window designs that can make the installation a challenge.
The design of certain frames, lites, and latches can make it a challenge to install window film or tinting in some situations. Depending on the amount of access to the glass that there is, it may not be possible to install tinting in some homes. If you have a glazing or muntin bar on your windows, then you’ll want to know if the structure holds separate glass panes or if it is a decorative option built above a single pane. If it is the latter option, then you will need to take it down to have a proper tint or protective layer. Failing to do so will create gaps in coverage that will make it impossible to maximize the efficiency of the window.

3. Some tints and window films are made better than others.
Before settling on the cheapest installation option when pursuing window tints, you’ll want to review whether the product in question has NFRC certification. There are more than 250 products that currently have this certification. If the product does not have this label, then the long-term quality of your investment could be questionable. Some rebate programs may require the certification to qualify for the monetary benefit. You’ll also find that manufacturers that don’t meet this quality standard will not usually offer an additional warranty, which means you might not have any financial protection in place if failure of the window occurs in the future.

Some films may start to peel after a few years, even if they are marketed by a reputable agency. You may wish to address any moisture issues that occur around the glass before moving forward with this upgrade.

4. Poor application processes can make the tint look bubbly.
Installers must remove all of the air from underneath the window film or tint to create a visually pleasing result. Poor application methods will almost always leave bubbles and creases in the final product. The only way to remove them is to start the work over again. That’s why you should only hire contractors who can prove they are licensed, insured, and bonded for this work. That will give you another layer of protection for your investment if the work doesn’t meet your expectations.

5. The tinting might keep out too much of the sun’s energy.
When you live in a colder, northerly climate, then you want to experience the passive solar heat gains that the sun provides. Adding tinting to your windows will work against what you hope to accomplish. That’s why the transparent window film was invented as a viable alternative. Different darkness levels will create a variety of results as well, so you’ll want to choose your shade carefully. It may be wise to apply different levels of tinting to each area of the home based on how the sun shines down upon it.

6. Tinted house windows will impact your view of the outdoors.
If you choose a tinted window film to improve the energy efficiency rates of your property, then you will find that the darker shades tend to interfere with the views you have of the outdoors. Many of the films tend to have a shiny outer coat, which can make the glass seem like it is colored because it reflects some of the visible light bands. It will also seem like you’re staring through a pair of sunglasses when you are inside of the home. If you are part of a homeowners association, you’ll want to check the stipulations of your agreement to ensure that the planned alteration fits with the appearance codes you must follow.

The pros and cons of tinted house windows work to balance the investment cost with the long-term savings that are possible. Most homeowners can start to see net gains with this product by the fourth year of its installation. If you are planning to move in the near future, this investment could add more value to the property as well. It is a simple, cost-effective way to improve the energy efficiency rate of the structure without requiring a complete remodeling project.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.