Window tinting offers more advantages than just appearance


Shawn Shuman prepares to put a sheet of tint onto a window prepped with soapy water at International Energy Savers of Central Florida on South Pine Avenue near Belleview on Wednesday.

Bruce Ackerman/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, May 10, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 3:23 p.m.

Automotive window tint is more than dark windows.

Darrell Smith, executive director of the International Window Film Association (www.iwfa.com ) sees two major trends in window tinting.

“The first is that consumers are more aware of the damaging effect of the sun’s UV rays that can cause skin cancer. Factory car side and rear window glass may not prevent the harmful rays from coming into the interior space and harming the skin or fading interiors. Any quality window film, whether it’s clear or has a tint, will block up to 99 percent of the UV rays,” Smith wrote.

“The second trend is that window film has a lot more technology behind it. New films have coatings on them that will not interfere with radio signals, such as GPS, cell phones, radio and others. Some of the older films had heavy metal coatings that sometimes could interfere,” he stated.

The IWFA lists a number of other benefits of tint: reduced fading and cracking of upholstery; reduced heat and increased air conditioning efficiency; comfort; less eye fatigue; and improved vision and safety.

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“We have three grades depending upon what the customer wants,” said Shawn Shuman, a window tint film installer for 13 years, the last two and a half at International Energy Savers of Central Florida near Belleview.

Shuman said younger customers generally care more about appearance and privacy and order basic grades of “metalized” film or dyed films with a slight color tint.

Higher end carbon and ceramic film is now available, like the Pinnacle 35 film, which may be required for proper operation of the myriad electronics in today’s cars.

“Your car may have an antenna in the rear window, Bluetooth or even tire pressure monitors which send a signal. Films are available to avoid interference with those items,” Shuman said.

“The Pinnacle grade film will reject about 57 percent of heat, while the comfort or middle grade will reject about 51 percent and the classic or basic grade about 35 percent,” Shuman said.

International Energy Savers uses a computerized layout machine to precisely cut the window film panels to the make and model of the car.

Shuman punched in the rear curved quarter glass panel on a 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis and in moments a precut piece of film was formed and ready to be installed.

“We like the computer because we can avoid using the razor knife and possibly cutting a gasket or the film,” Shuman said.

Shuman said the average installation takes about two hours, and costs vary depending upon the grade of film and vehicle. But a four-door sedan would run in the range of $159 to $249 and last anywhere from 5 to 15 years.

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Shuman uses a T-100 total light transmitted meter to check if the tint is street legal.

Shuman said he recommends customers use only soap and water to clean the finished windows and no ammonia.

Mark Hart III of Mega Sound Glass Masters in Ocala has been tinting car windows locally for 28 years.

“I tinted the first car I owned in 1983, a blue 1977 Buick Century.” He now does window tinting for the Ocala Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and vehicles for state wildlife officers.

Hart said color tint films are not his favorite.

“I had a truck once with a slight red window tint. Everything looked like a fire engine coming at me,” he said.

Hart remembers when he had four cars to do in a weekend and the computer system was down. He returned to hand cutting and has remained with it since.

“It fits the first time without use of a computer and I can get the micro edge or tucked-in finish where you can’t see the edge,” he said.

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