Glass tinting is often used in homes to block solar heat.
Glass tinting is a term given to any process that alters glass to reduce the passage of light or a specific range of radiation. Glass tinting can be used to reduce light glare, to lessen the amount of heat entering a building or car, to allow residents to remain very private, or simply as an aesthetically appealing way to decorate windows. Glass tinting can be done by adding a chemical to the glass during its creation or by adding a window film over or between sheets of glass after it is made. Coloring the glass often results in some sort of discoloration, depending on the chemicals used in creating the paint. Common colors include yellow, blue, green and, of course, black.
Limousines often have tinted windows.
A popular use of glass tinting is on home windows to reduce the amount of ultraviolet radiation that enters the building. Ultraviolet radiation causes fading in paintwork, upholstery, and carpeting over time, and by using glass dyeing, a homeowner can slow down this inevitable process. This type of tint is typically done to let in as much natural light as possible – to keep the house well lit – while only interrupting harmful streaks of light.
Color protection laws vary from state to state, but typically the windshield must be clean.
Preventing heat gain is also an important use of glass dyeing. In warmer climates, energy costs can increase significantly due to the constant need to cool the interior of a home because heat is added throughout the day through sunlight. While one option is to use curtains or blinds to block out the light entirely, many people want an alternative that allows them to continue to enjoy ambient daylight but reduce the heat the light brings. Glass tinting is extremely effective, often blocking more than 50% of the solar heat, increasing the reflectance of the glass surface.
Window film is a type of glass tinting used in both buildings and car windows. These films can be used as a method to keep out ultraviolet light and heat, but are most commonly used as a privacy shade.
For cars, there are four main types of glass tinting, indicating how much light can pass through. Fifty percent of the hue allows half the light to pass through, which is still more than enough for full visibility. Thirty percent is much darker, but still allows visibility. Twenty percent makes the window difficult to see on both sides, but the shapes can still be seen quite clearly. Five percent is the darkest shade available and is also known as a slime shade. With a 5% tint, visibility on the bright side, usually outside, is virtually nil, while those on the low-light side can see the outside with relative clarity.
The price for tinting glass is surprisingly affordable, with tinted windows for homes often paying for itself in energy savings in just a few years. Car window tinting is controlled by state or provincial laws, so be sure to check and make sure the level of tinting you want is permitted on the streets where you live.