When it comes to window tint, how hard can it be, right? Auto parts stores sell millions of do-it-yourself tint kits to people who answered the question with the words “not very” instead of “watch out”. While it is true that window tinting is not super difficult, it is nevertheless a very detail oriented undertaking. It is definitely not for those with short attention spans.
What makes window tint difficult to apply is its relation to the principles of geometry. If all windows were flat slabs, window tinting would be a relatively simple job of applying a flat sheet of plastic to a flat sheet of glass and calling it done. Unfortunately, most auto glass is not flat but rather composed of curved surfaces. To illustrate why this causes difficulties when tinting the windows, try wrapping a sheet of paper smoothly around a tennis ball just for practice.
An extreme amount of care is needed to successfully mate the flat surface of the tint film with the curvature of the window. This is usually accomplished by cutting very small, very precise, relief triangles out of the edges of the window tint. Each side of the triangle must be perfectly straight and perfectly the same length or else the anomalies will be visible.
The basic process of applying window tint is, indeed, relatively simple in theory. First, the window itself needs to be spotless. This does not mean that it gets windexed and wiped off. It means that the entire surface of the window needs to be scraped with a razor blade to peel away any lingering layer of oil, dirt, or glue that a not very intensive application of glass cleaner fails to erase. Since razor blades are relatively hard and glass is relatively soft, the slightest twitch can cut a huge, ugly scratch into the glass that no amount of window tint will ever hide successfully.
Because it is not practical to remove the car window prior to tinting it, it is generally recommended that a pattern be cut out of some inexpensive material such as butcher paper. Once this pattern is trimmed to an exact fit, it can be laid out on a cutting table and used to trace cut lines around a sheet of tinting film. Window tint is offered in numerous different degrees of coverage. It is important to know what style is legal in which particular jurisdiction. Many states have restrictions on which windows can be tinted.
Windshield tinting is often frowned upon, for example, except for windshield tint around the edges that do not obscure the driver’s vision. There are also different varieties of tint, such as utterly black limo tint or completely reflective mirror tint, to cite just a few examples. In many instances, it is legal to tint rear passenger compartments to a deeper shade than is permitted for front passenger side windows. Law enforcement agencies are the prime movers behind these sorts of restrictions.
Once a tint style has been selected and cut to size, it is time to install it on the window in question. Most professional installers prefer to work tint rather like laying out a roll of carpet. They lubricate the window and apply the tint to the top edge of the window, then roll it smoothly downwards as they work to keep out air bubbles or random dirt from spoiling the final product. Squeegees and various pliable but still stiff cards are used to smooth out edges and work the tint into the areas below the weatherstripping so that the tint covers fully no matter if the window is up, down or partway open.
With the window tint securely in place, the rest of the vehicle windows are likewise tinted and then a heat gun is used to initiate the catalyzing process that binds the window tint securely to the windows. Time, patience, and the proper tools all help window tinting to become a doable, as opposed to an impossible,