Our Home’s New Privacy Window Film

When we were searching for the best type of window film for our home, we did some online research, too. We wanted to make sure that we didn’t end up getting one that was too dark or too light and we wanted to make sure we were getting one that would last. There are a host of cheap window films that probably would only last you a few years.

Living in the Southwest, the main issue for our home was both, heat and light. This is the case with many window treatment ideas, like blinds, screens and other window coverings.  We were not as concerned with privacy, though we did get this as well. With the type of window film we were looking into, there were big claims of cooling and privacy.

Window Film Privacy

privacy window film

You can see from the interior view of this apartment that the windows to the left of the desk are tinted. This allows for great privacy from the next door building and a blocking of the light coming from these windows making working during the day more comfortable.

photo credit

The thing that gives your windows privacy is both the darkness and the reflective properties. During the daytime, reflectivity will be your friend in this regard. Tint is graded with respect to how reflective it is and also how dark it comes. Just like with auto tint, there are varying shades from which to choose. Many of the factors have to do with personal taste or your reasons for tinting. Privacy is certainly one of those higher on the list.

The main problem we faced with this was our home owner’s association. They are notoriously ‘by the books’ in our neighborhood and we didn’t want to push the limits and then have to remove it because we violated some code. I get it about the codes, but really, it’s just window tint. There are some specific regulations regarding reflective window film in our neighborhood. This is odd to me in many ways, especially since we live in Arizona and heat and sunlight are the main reasons anyone wants to tint their windows. In any case, we did end up submitting our window tint sample, photos of our home, the elevations, etc. I told you they were thorough! A few weeks passed and we got our tint approved!

Solar Window Film

privacy window film

Here are the front windows of our home. You can see how they just look tinted, withotu any reflectivity, aside from the glass itself.

We went with Arizona Blinds, had the Panorama® brand tint.  The research we did do, left us feeling good with this brand.  There are a wide variety of tints and reflective levels in their line.  In the front, we had to select tint that was less reflective – no mirror window film – so we chose the Par 30.

When our tint came, it was a pretty fast and tidy installation. The installer sprayed the windows with a cleaning solution and prepped them for the tint. The tint came in a large roll  and he cut that to the size of each window.  We had four windows total in our front room – 2 arched and 2 split windows (they slide open vertically).

reflective window film

Here is an example of the more bronze colored reflective window film. It is the Par 10 type of Panorama film.

Other windows we’ve seen using the Par 10 tint is much more reflective.  It has more of a bronze or golden-bronze reflectivity about it.

Both are said to block UV radiation and heat from entering while allowing visible light to pass.  The Par 30 blocks something like 80% of the solar energy and keeps a room feeling cooler.  This can obviously result in lower cooling costs.  There are also claims that these films can block up to 99% of the UV rays, reducing damage to your carpeting, flooring or furniture inside your home.  This type of UV window film can be critical to the survival of elements of a southwestern or desert dwelling.

privacy window film

This illustration shows how the visible light is allowed to pass, where the UV and heat is blocked.

From personal experience, I can tell you that we have definitely seen an improvement with respect to the temperature inside our room with the tint.  The room is darker from the tint, slightly, and definitely more comfortable to sit in. This room has an Eastern sun exposure, so it isn’t even as harsh as the back side of our home.  We’ll likely put a solar window film on those that is a bit more reflective, like the Par 10.  Our master bedroom and bathroom are on this end of the home, so privacy and cooling are both important there.

We got a really great deal on our tint, I think there was some special going on.  We ended up getting ours for somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 per foot.  It is sold in 6″ increments.  So, when you measure your windows to get a rough idea of cost, use the closest (rounded up) 6″ measurement.  In other words, a 30″ wide window would be 30″ of tint necessary.  A 26″ window would also require the same amount of tint to be ordered.

The whole installation process took about 2 hours and it instantly changed the look and feel of our home.  If you are interested in adding a dimension of privacy or cooling to your home, then these privacy window films  are definitely worth the investment.

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