Types of Window Tint

When you want to improve the look of your car in a cost-effective way, window tint may be the best answer. You don’t always need drastic changes to create a customized look. Sometimes, simple applications can make all the difference to give your car a sweet new vibe.

A window tint is a thin layer of film that adheres to the interior or exterior of a glass surface — in this case, the windows of either your sports car, truck or vintage vehicle. You can apply tints to your windshield, front side windows and wings, rear side windows and wings and even your back window. Depending on the style you want, you can opt for all possibilities or only your side windows. It’s up to you!

There are 5 main types of window tint:

  • Dyed Tint
  • Metalized Tint
  • Hybrid Tint
  • Carbon Tint
  • Ceramic Tint

Window tints can turn your car from looking mediocre to sleek and full of character with a few simple steps. Not only are tints convenient to install if you choose the DIY method, but they are also an inexpensive and attractive way to improve the quality of your windows and protect the interior of your car. Tints from Rvinyl promote privacy to keep passersby from peering into your vehicle while still allowing light to pass through so you have optimal visibility.

Other purposes of window tints are to block ultraviolet rays, cut down on glares from headlights and the sun, keep heat out of your car during the summer and retain heat throughout the winter. Because tints absorb heat, they reduce your need to blast the air conditioning when you’re hot, and they save your vehicle from outputting high energy to heat you up in the colder months.

It’s easy to jump into the process of applying a window tint, and you can choose from five types of films. Each has different properties regarding quality, cost and effectiveness. Each style will give you a customized feel to make heads turn.

Take a look at the types of window tints available to find out which is most appropriate for your application.

Dyed Window Tint

Most people apply dyed tint films to windows for appearance rather than functionality. When you want the darkest look for your vehicle, dyed tint with a deep black color that appears opaque from an outside view is the best option.

A dyed window tint has a layer of dye between the adhesive layer and a protective top coating made of polyester. The adhesive side sticks to the glass while the top coat protects your window from accidental scratches. Unfortunately, the dye fades over time from excessive UV exposure, turning the film from black to purple. You can slow down the fading process by storing your vehicle in a garage or away from constant sun exposure.

Although most people use dyed tint for appearance purposes, it's also the most economical and least expensive option compared to the other four. Because dyed films are known for being the darkest option, you may worry about being able to see through your side or rear windows. You'll be happy to learn that the film still provides an appropriate amount of visibility so you can see cars approaching from the rear or objects on the side if you’re parallel parking.

Another property of a dyed window tint is that it absorbs solar heat, which prevents the heat from entering your car. Heat transfers from the tint to the glass and dissipates outward with the constant movement of air. The tint provides privacy to you and the items in your vehicle as well.

Advantages of Dyed Film

Dyed window tint film:

  • Blocks glare from headlights, sun and bright reflections.
  • Doesn’t block radio waves, so it won’t interfere with your technology.
  • Has non-reflective properties.
  • Is the most cost-effective option.
  • Provides the darkest effect.
  • Reduces interior fading from the sun.

Disadvantages of Dyed Film

The disadvantages of dyed tint are that it:

  • Can delaminate, which means the layers separate from each other.
  • Can have a bubble appearance if not installed right.
  • Doesn’t block as much heat as different types of tint.
  • Fades over time from UV exposure, which breaks down dye — turning it from black to purple.

Examine both the positive and negative aspects of dyed window tints before you decide whether it’s the best option for your vehicle.

Metalized Window Tint

Metalized window tint is what you’d expect. Embedded in the material are metallic particles, which make it a thicker type of film. Formed of an adhesive base layer that bonds to your car window, the film also has a treated layer to block UV radiation and a metalized layer that reflects heat and darkens the glass. A final top coat acts as a protective layer to prevent scratches and nicks.

Designed with several layers, metalized tint films reflect heat from the sun, keeping it outside your car to protect the interior. The metal elements within the layers not only strengthens the window, making it more durable and shatter-resistant but also give off a shiny appearance from the outside. The reflective properties may not be the look you want, as most tints have a matte finish. However, metalized window tints are still functional.

Although the film has several positive qualities, the metallic properties often interfere with technology such as your GPS, cell phone and radio reception. Your phone signal may cut in and out, and your GPS system may default to being unusable. If you don’t use electronics often while driving, it may not affect you as much as someone who has electronic devices set up.

Metalized Tint Advantages

Metalized window tint:

  • Blocks glare and UV rays.
  • Doesn’t fade.
  • Has durable features.
  • Blocks and reflects heat before it enters your car, providing high heat reduction.

Metalized Tint Disadvantages

Check out the disadvantages of applying metalized window tint. It:

  • Costs more than dyed tint because of metal particles.
  • Has a shiny appearance, which may not be the aesthetic you desire.
  • Interferes with radio and other technology like cell phone signals and tire-pressure monitoring systems.

Hybrid Window Tint

The hybrid film is a combination of dyed and metalized tints, taking the advantages of both and getting rid of the disadvantages — a win-win!

The initial piece of the window tint is an adhesive layer that adheres to the glass. Next, a dyed and metalized layer is incorporated into the film along with a protective top coat to prevent scrapes. Each film bonds together with the use of a laminating adhesive. Because of the dyed layer, hybrid film can block a fair amount of light, while its metallic parts create a crisp, dark appearance. The hybrid tint is one of the most high-performing options compared to other varieties.

A common misconception is that the darker the film is, the more it rejects heat. That’s not the case when it comes to hybrid films. They block heat well but remain lighter in appearance compared to a single piece of dyed tint. Again, hybrid film retains all the positive properties of dyed and metalized without any negatives.

Advantages of Applying Hybrid Film to Your Windows

The combination of dyed and metalized tints offers exceptional advantages to your vehicle. The tint:

  • Blocks heat, glares and UV rays.
  • Doesn’t have a reflective appearance.
  • Doesn’t interfere with electronics.
  • Has increased durability.
  • Is less expensive than metalized tint.
  • Reduces fading on interior upholstery.

Disadvantages of Applying Hybrid Film to Your Windows

The only disadvantage of using a hybrid window tint is that it's more expensive than dyed tint. Because hybrid technology takes all the advantages of both a dyed and metalized film, the disadvantages are almost non-existent.

Carbon Window Tint

Are you looking for a matte-black finish for your windows that protects your interior?

Carbon window tint films give you a dark, matte finish with a sleek vibe. Hundreds of microlayers of polymer and carbon block infrared light from reaching the interior of your car. If you have leather seats or other upholstery material that fades, carbon tints can help reduce detrimental effects of UV light.

Without massive amounts of infrared reaching the inside of your car, the tint protects the upholstery and prevents it from fading. Carbon layers also keep the inside cool. You won’t need to rely on your air conditioning on full blast during the summer or put your system on high heat for the winter months.

With no metal integrated into the tint’s layers, the film won’t interfere with your technology or other parts of your vehicle. Carbon window tints don’t fade over time, unlike dyed films, making them more durable and longer lasting.

Carbon Film Advantages

Carbon tint:

  • Doesn’t give off a “mirror” look.
  • Gives an authentic black appearance.
  • Is fade resistant.
  • Protects you and your car’s interior from UV rays.
  • Reduces heat and glare.

Carbon Film Disadvantages

An adverse characteristic of carbon films is that they’re often more expensive than dyed and metalized tints.

Ceramic Window Tint

As the final option to choose when considering the type of tint to apply to your car, ceramic film is the highest quality of window tint film compared to the other four. However, it is also the most expensive.

Instead of dye, metal or carbon, it contains ceramic particles that are nonconductive and nonmetallic. The ceramic elements reflect and reduce solar heat and UV rays from entering the car. While it reflects and absorbs high levels of light, it also allows for maximum visibility. Ceramic tints resist glare and fading and are highly shatter-proof.

Ceramic Film Advantages for Your Windows

Take a look at the various positive aspects of applying ceramic tint to your vehicle. It:

  • Adsorbs twice as much heat as dyed and hybrid versions.
  • Allows electrical signals through.
  • Blocks heat, UV rays and glare.
  • Doesn’t fade like dyed tint.
  • Doesn’t impede your ability to see.
  • Isn’t as reflective.
  • Is the most technologically advanced tint.
  • Provides optical clarity.

Ceramic Film Disadvantages for Your Windows

A few negative aspects arise with the use of ceramic tints such as the fact that it:

  • Is the most expensive option.
  • Doesn’t offer as much privacy.

Application Methods

Two application methods exist if you are looking to detail your vehicle with window tints. You can have a professional go to work on your car, or you can choose the DIY option. At Rvinyl, we encourage the DIY version for car enthusiasts, as it’s more cost-effective and satisfying.

Visible light transmission is the percentage of visible light passing through glass, and while a darker tint can reduce glare, you will still need optical clarity. Regarding the legality of tints, each state has regulations regarding light transmission, color, reflectivity and which windows you can tint. Make sure to check your state’s laws to ensure you install proper, legal films.

For example, window tint laws for Pennsylvania state that most vehicles have to have a VLT of 70 percent on windshields and front side windows. For trucks, multipurpose passenger cars and buses, no VLT requirement for rear side windows and rear windows exists according to PennDOT.

The best applications for window tints vary depending on where you live. People who live in the northeastern parts of the U.S., such as people in Pennsylvania, may not require as intense levels of tint protection as those living in hotter climates like Arizona and Florida. People in colder climates may prefer dyed and metalized tint films while people in heat-prone areas may require more protective films such as hybrids or ceramics.

What to Consider When Choosing Window Tint Films

With five different window tint possibilities to consider, you may not know where to start or which will benefit you the most. You’ll want to think about which aspects mean more to you such as color and whether you want matte black or a shinier appearance with reflective properties. Other deliberations include whether you want UV ray blocking, infrared light, glare, electrical signals and more.

Pick Your Perfect Window Film From Rvinyl

Whether you decide on a dyed, metalized, hybrid, carbon or ceramic window tint, you can personalize the exterior of your car at a fraction of the cost compared to relying on a tint shop when you choose to DIY. Tints provide many more benefits than just a defined appearance, so make sure to look into how UV and infrared light can affect the interior of your car. Because sunlight can also cause damage to your skin, window tints can protect you as well.

The films we provide at Rvinyl are for DIY enthusiasts to take pride in their work. Our tints are also affordable and come with a three-year warranty against cracking, peeling and fading. Experts at our shop will replace defective films. If you no longer want tints on your car windows, you can remove the precut tints easily since they aren’t permanent.

Shop now for the right window film no matter what vehicle you own. Order online and you will receive free shipping on orders more than $59.00 in the U.S. If you have further questions, contact an Rvinyl representative to learn more information. We also offer rebate programs when you send in photos of your DIY tint application — so let us see how awesome your windows look!