Having your windows tinted by a skilled professional could prove expensive, especially if you're using high-grade tint on a SUV, van or any other vehicle with lots of windows. According to Angie's List, a professional tint job could cost as much as $800. Not only can you learn a new skill by getting the job done yourself, but you'll also avoid that dreaded sticker shock. Here's what you'll need to know when it comes to do-it-yourself window tinting.
Use What the Pros Use
If you want the job done right the first time, you'll want to use the same tools and techniques that the professionals use. This will give you the best opportunity to get the best window tinting results. For starters, you'll need an affordable yet good quality heat gun – using an ordinary hair dryer to shrink excess film may not offer the best results, since the hair dryer won't get hot enough to shrink the film correctly.
In addition to the heat gun, you'll also need a high-quality tinting squeegee, a few spray bottles, several hard cards for shaping and smoothing the tint film and a cutting surface you can use for cutting templates and tint film.
Cheap Tint Can Offer Poor Results
You're already saving money by tinting your own windows, but you might be tempted to cut your expenses even further by using lower-quality but cheaper tint film. However, there's a good chance that you might not be happy with the end results.
Lower-quality tint films are not as robust as their higher-quality counterparts when it comes to constant UV exposure. Over time, the film will fade and gradually lose its effectiveness against sunlight. Even worse, some films offer poor adhesion properties that are often exacerbated by quick but sloppy film applications. This often results in the bubbling of the film as it ages. For these reasons, it's a good idea to stick with high-quality tint films, especially if you want a long-lasting tint.
Templates Can Be a Big Help
When you're using high-quality film, the last thing you'd want to do is waste it on unnecessary cuts. One of the best ways to avoid this is by using templates of your car's windows. You can make your own templates with the help of some plastic-coated freezer paper and a sharp #2 pencil. Using a sharp pencil saves you the trouble of using a razor blade on or near window gaskets and the glass itself. If you don't have any freezer paper, you can use tracing paper, instead.
Once you have your templates drawn and cut, you can safely cut out your tint film without running the risk of damaging your windows or wasting any tint film.
Do It Right by Taking Your Time
The experts make the window tinting process seem quick and easy, but only because they've spent years at their craft. With experience comes the quick turnaround times that the pros are known for. If you've only done it a few times, however, then you'll have to go nice and slow in order to avoid potentially costly mistakes. Once you've gotten comfortable with the window tinting process, you can focus on quickening your pace within reason.
Don't Forget about the Tint Laws for Your State
After a job well done, you don't want to risk undoing all of your hard work due to a fix-it ticket for illegal tint. To save yourself the trouble, you'll want to study up on your state's statutes concerning window tint. Each state has its own guidelines governing tint film darkness and reflectivity. Some states even ban window tint from being used on certain windows.
With these tips in mind, you can tint your windows just like the pros, but without the prices that the pros typically command. For more information on auto glass coating, contact a local professional.