Tinted Windows vs. Low-Energy Glass
Have you ever wondered if you’re spending more than you need to be on your energy bills? Have you ever felt the internal temperature of your home doesn’t match the amounts you’re spending on cooling costs? While any number of factors could be at play here, today we want to focus on just one of the potential culprits — your windows.
Did you know climate control losses due to inefficient windows are responsible for 25 to 30% of your heating and cooling expenses? While statistics like this can be startling, the good news is that they don’t have to have the final say in your situation. There are plenty of solutions to help you get around this type of energy loss, and two of the most popular ones are home window tinting and low-energy glass.
Both residential window tint and low-energy glass — also known as low-e glass — offer plenty of benefits, in addition to helping maintain the temperature inside your home. Despite this, the two solutions have many differences, and each presents a unique list of pros and cons. To help you decide which one might be right for you and your home, we’re going to compare the two, explaining what makes each one special and why it might be worth your time and consideration.
What Is Home Window Tinting?
Most car windows have a tint, even if only a little bit. We’ve all seen the occasional car drive past with windows that are so tinted they’re completely opaque. You’ve probably even seen storefront windows that feature similar types of tinting. But did you know you can install dark tinting on the windows in your home as well? The process of installation is straightforward, and there are many benefits you’ll enjoy as a result.
How does window tinting work? A window tint is a thin film, typically made of vinyl, that stretches across the window like a second skin. Without adding any bulk, it covers the surface of the window and makes it appear darker from the outside, while still allowing transparency when viewed from the inside. These vinyl tints use a simple adhesive to help them stick to your windows for years at a time, providing insulation, privacy and energy savings the whole while.
What Is Low-Energy Glass?
Low-energy glass exists to serve many of the same purposes as window tinting. It exists to prevent unneeded energy loss, save you money in cooling costs and keep your home running as efficiently as possible. But while window tinting achieves this goal through a covering that you apply on top of your window glass, low-e glass achieves this through revolutionizing the nature of the glass itself.
Low-energy glass comes with a microscopically thin coating applied to the surface of the glass. This coating works to keep out ultraviolet and infrared light from the sun that would otherwise enter your home unhindered, further heating it up. By preventing this light from entering the house, low-e glass keeps your home naturally cooler. Best of all? The low-energy coating achieves this goal without ever blocking the amount of visible light streaming into your home. In other words, you can enjoy the benefits of less damaging heat while still enjoying plenty of sunlight.
Things to Know About Home Window Tinting
In plenty of cases, residential window tinting can be just the solution you’ve been looking for to make your home a little more energy-efficient. No matter how terrific a solution is, however, it’s essential to go into a decision like this with open eyes. That means taking the time to learn the pros and cons, as well as how this solution works and what type of situations it’s best for. Having all this information under your belt will equip you to make the most informed decision possible about what’s right for you and your home.
1. How Does the Price Compare?
Remodeling or modifying your house to make it more energy-efficient tends to be an expensive project, as a rule. Some solutions cost more, and others cost less, but the project as a whole is one where you can expect to run up against some money. The good news? Installing home window tint is one of the very least expensive solutions you’ll encounter. Here, there’s no need to replace any of your appliances or redo any of your walls or windows. Instead, all it takes to make this solution work is a thin sheet of vinyl over the surface of your windows.
To get your home window tinting project up and running, the only things you’ll need to purchase is the window tint itself, which usually comes in long rolls or sheets, and any application tools recommended by the company selling the vinyl. That’s why this option quickly takes the lead as one of the least expensive ways to improve your windows.
2. Is the Installation Process Complicated?
A complicated installation process shouldn’t deter you from a project altogether, especially if the project were well worth it in the end. Still, if two comparable projects produce roughly the same results and one boasts a more straightforward installation process, many of us would agree this project seems a bit more tempting.
With window tinting, this easy installation is exactly what you’ll get. If you’re not comfortable tackling this type of DIY project by yourself, you’re always welcome to call in professional help, but the job is easy enough that almost anyone should be able to complete it on their own — with no professional experience required. That, in turn, allows you to save even more money, as there’s no need to hire installation workers.
3. What Are the Benefits of Tinting Your Home Windows?
The primary benefit you’ll experience when you choose to tint your windows is a more efficient home. With the harshest solar rays blocked, your air conditioning will not need to work as hard to keep your home cool, and you will save money as you spend less energy trying to regulate your indoor temperatures.
There are other advantages to enjoy with tinted windows as well, however. Privacy is one of the most significant, and this may be especially desirable if your home is close to a busy road where you feel you’re frequently subject to prying eyes. Tinting windows makes it more difficult for the casual observer to see into your home, all while still allowing you the freedom to look out your windows at the world.
Additionally, tinted windows will protect your furnishings and even your walls from the harsh sun glare and prevent them from fading. You can also experience protection from the sun’s damage on your skin and a reprieve from inconvenient glare across your TV screen. One final advantage to consider is shatter resistance, as the film helps hold the window glass together against bumps and jolts.
4. What Are the Limitations of Home Window Tinting?
Between the fantastic prices, the straightforward installation and all the benefits, there’s a lot to love about a simple home window tint. Nothing is perfect, however, and even window tints can't do everything. Perhaps the most significant limitation to be aware of is the fact that window tinting doesn’t replace the actual windows themselves. If your windows are still in perfect condition, that might not bother you. However, it can be a drawback if your windows are getting older and you were thinking of replacing them anyway.
Things to Know About Low-Energy Glass
Now that we’ve considered some of the different facets of tinted windows, it’s time to see how they compare to low-e glass. Like window tinting, low-energy glass can be a fantastic solution under the right circumstances and can help people realize substantial savings. Nevertheless, it has a list of pros and cons to consider. Let’s look at these now.
1. How Does the Price Compare?
Replacing your current windows with low-energy windows will be more expensive than adding a window tint. This price difference makes sense when you consider that with window tinting, all you’re doing is adding a new coating on top of a pre-existing window. When choosing low-energy glass, however, you’re installing entirely new windows. On top of that, low-energy glass windows are no ordinary windows. While prices are always variable, it’s likely these windows will also cost a bit more than the average models, increasing the final cost even more.
It’s worth noting, however, that this investment may well pay for itself over time in decreased energy costs. So while this higher initial cost might give you pause, be sure to think about the long-term cost-benefit analysis before dismissing it out of hand.
2. Is the Installation Process Complicated?
The installation process for low-energy glass is no more or less challenging than the process of installing any window. If you have experience with this type of work, you may be able to complete the installation by yourself, although most people will likely choose to hire window installation professionals. Because this process requires the full removal of your old windows and installation of new ones, it will certainly be a more involved procedure than adding a simple window tint.
3. What Are the Benefits of Installing Low-Energy Glass?
The benefits you’ll receive from installing low-energy glass are similar to the ones you’ll enjoy when you add a window tint, with the first and foremost of those benefits being protection from the sun’s most destructive rays. Low-energy glass comes equipped with the thinnest of coatings, designed to naturally block infrared and ultraviolet rays that are responsible for rapidly heating your home and causing your energy bills to rise. Because of this, the most immediate benefit you’ll enjoy is a reprieve from high energy bills.
In addition to helping you save on utility bills, low-energy glass also keeps your furnishings safe from the fading effects of the sun and prevents you from getting a sunburn through the glass. You can enjoy a decreased glare on screens and other reflective surfaces. Perhaps best of all, you can experience all these advantages while still allowing the same amount of visible light to come into your home, making for a house that feels just as sunny as ever, but with reduced harmful effects.
4. What Are the Limitations of Low-Energy Glass?
Low-energy glass has a lot going for it. However, as with home window tinting, it can’t handle every situation, and there are some cases where homeowners might be better off choosing a different option. Most significantly, this option requires homeowners to replace their windows, which can be a sticking point if your windows are already brand-new. Additionally, the price may prove problematic in some cases, especially when compared to more inexpensive options. Finally, it doesn’t offer the same levels of privacy window tinting does, which can be a drawback if this is something you’re specifically interested in.
Low-E vs. Tinted Glass: Which Is Right for You?
Both tinted glass and low-energy glass have plenty of perks to recommend them, and both will offer your home the protection you need to experience a drop in energy spending. Both will keep you and your furnishings shielded from the burns and fading from the most intense sunlight. When it comes to choosing which is better for you, here are the most important questions you’ll need to ask yourself.
- How much am I interested in spending? If you’re trying to stick to a budget, window tinting is your best bet. If money is no object, low-e glass may be an option.
- What are my primary goals in installing this new window upgrade? If you’re only looking to lower your energy bills, either option will do the trick. If you’re also interested in increased privacy, stick with window tinting.
- Am I looking to replace my windows? If your answer is yes, low-e glass may be a good choice. If your answer is no, we recommend window tinting.
- Am I looking for an easy installation project? If you’re hoping to avoid hiring professional help to install your upgrade and looking for a DIY project, then window tinting is the perfect choice.
Shop High-Quality Window Tint Today
Have you decided to move forward with your home window tinting project? If so, you’ll need to stock up on plenty of tint to cover the windows in your home. For all your tinting needs, we invite you to check out our products here at Rvinyl. We proudly stock the very finest brands in the business to ensure we supply you with the highest-quality materials. On top of this, our window tint film comes in uncut rolls, so you don’t have to worry about measuring out the exact dimensions ahead of time.
Learn more about our Rtint Window Tint Film today and how it can help take your windows to the next level.