You might think of auto glass tinting as a relatively new phenomenon– something that became popular for celebrities in the age of paparazzi, with the intent of creating privacy for the passengers inside a vehicle.
However, window tinting for cars and homes has actually been around since the mid-20th century.
The concept of window tinting has been around for just about as long as glass windows have existed– and the first recorded glass windows were used by the Romans in about 100 AD.
Windows are necessary to let in the light, which was especially important in the days before widely accessible electricity. However, sunlight brings heat with it. For non-air-conditioned spaces, additional heat brought in by sunlight can become unbearable.
This is true for both auto and house window tinting, and both types of window tinting serve essentially the same purpose: to block some degree of light from entering a space, while still preserving visibility through the glass.
How do car window tinting and house window tinting work?
Throughout the history of window tinting, people have tried a variety of methods– from painting windows to dyeing the glass itself.
Today, there are a handful of different window tinting methods that are popular for both cars and houses alike. These methods involve different materials, with different strengths and weaknesses, but all of them are essentially similar; window tint is made from thin sheets of material applied directly to the inside of the window.
How are home window tinting and car window tinting methods alike?
Though the requirements and legal limits for home and car window tinting are different, they work in the same way: a thin film of tinted material that’s used to block sunlight from entering the space, whether it’s a home or a vehicle.
There are some exceptions to this rule– for instance, some cars come with “factory tinting”. In these cases, the tint isn’t a separate aftermarket material applied to the glass. Instead, the actual glass itself is dyed, for the purpose of blocking light.
Typically, factory tinting only blocks about 15-25% of the light entering the vehicle. Aftermarket tinting is usually a higher percentage, depending on local tinting laws.
How is home window tinting different from car window tinting?
Though window tinting is essentially the same regardless of context, there are some differences in the materials that are used to achieve the desired level of tint.
Car windows are structurally different from typical home windows– in a car, the glass is usually curved to some degree. This means that special window tinting film that’s designed to shrink is used for cars, in order to achieve the perfect fit.
If car window tinting film were used on windows inside the home, it might actually cause them to shatter due to the shrinking effect, which would put unnecessary strain on the glass!
Additionally, the materials used for home window tinting and car window tinting behave differently in relation to light. Car window tint absorbs the light (and heat). The car’s movement creates wind, which is effective for cooling down the absorbed heat.
Meanwhile, tinted house windows reflect light back to the outdoors, preventing it from entering the space. Since house windows are static and there’s no reliable source of wind to cool down absorbed heat, the reflection is necessary to prevent extra heat from entering the home.