We’ve all dealt with contractors before. They build our homes, fix our plumbing, keep us from electrocuting ourselves, do the landscaping, and help us stay on track with HOA restrictions. Sometimes the work is impressive and worth every penny, while other times, we fail to understand why in the world it just cost us our first born child and a goat sacrifice. Then, when you ask the contractor about the bill, they start throwing around technical terms and phrases only those in the trade would really understand. So we nod our heads, grunt a few times as if we agree and completely understand, and end up writing the check and sending them off, and just hope that they don’t drive away laughing at the fact that they just ripped us off because we didn’t know what they were talking about.
Sound about right?
So what can we do about it? We can do our research and Google everything until we’re blue in the face, we can ask our friends and neighbors who they recommend, or we can try and track down that old ex-boyfriend or buddy that you haven’t talked to in 10 years because they might go easy on you since you both graduated from high school together. Regardless of what approach we take, in the end, we still have to put our project in the hands of someone else.
While we can’t tell you all the ins and outs of every trade and contractor out there, we can give you some insight on what we’re talking about. Below are some of the most common questions we get asked.
- Does the film go on the inside or outside of the window?
95% of the time, the film is installed on the interior. The reason being that the adhesive is the part that contains the UV protection properties. If the film is installed on the exterior, then the film usually doesn’t last as long due to exposure to the elements, and the UV rays aren’t as effectively blocked. However, in some rare cases where a film needs to be installed on the outside (like if there’s a wall covering the inside of the window), there are special types of film that are designed specifically to be installed on the exterior.
- How is the film installed?
Believe it or not, there is an art to tinting windows. It may seem like someone is just slapping up a big sticker on your window, but there is a lot more that goes into the installation process. First, before anything else can done, the windows have to be exceptionally clean (otherwise, the windows will have permanent spots and streaks that will frustrate anyone who tries to clean it later on). Special, ultra-thin razor blades, along with soap and water, are used to make the windows look brand new. Next, the film is installed using a water-activated adhesive on the back of the film. Each window is then gone over and over again with a type of “squeegee” to remove any extra water, air bubbles, and to ensure a perfectly even surface. Then, the edges of the film are trimmed with another, super sharp razor that makes every edge absolutely straight. Oh, and did I mention that we’re doing all this up on ladders and scaffolds, laying on the floor, and in little tight corners?
- How long does it take?
This is a loaded question. There are many variables that can affect the job length. How many windows need film? Are they big, solid pieces of glass, or lots of little bitty panes? Are the windows up high enough to necessitate ladders or scaffolding? Is there furniture or other objects that need to be re-arranged in order to get to the window(s)? Are all or most of the windows in one area or spread out over a large space? What type of film is it? Does it require an Impact Protection Adhesive or Profile? Does old or damaged film need to be removed first? Usually, an average size home can be completed in a day or less.
- Do I need to do anything before the installers arrive?
Generally, no. However, in order to speed up the process, we encourage homeowners to take down any blinds or window treatments, and move furniture and electronics away from the work areas before the crew arrives.
- How do I know what type of film I should get?
Once again, this is a loaded question. It all depends on your wants and needs. Most of the time, homeowners want glare and heat reduced, while businesses are looking for a way to lower their light bill and/or have more privacy. Luckily, there are many different films that cover several (if not all) of these qualities plus some! When choosing a film, we strongly encourage using a well-recognized and reputable brand like 3M or Huper Optik. These companies not only provide an excellent product, but have limited lifetime residential warranties and up to a 15 year commercial warranty. Also, choosing an installation company with a long history is highly recommended because if ever you should need to make a claim on your warranty, you’ll want to make sure the same company is still around to take care of it. Beware of salesmen who promise the moon and stars for a very low price; if it sounds too good to be true, you might be dealing with an amateur or automotive film. ALWAYS ask to see the specifications (or “specs”), and NEVER be afraid to ask questions or ask for samples!
- How much does it cost?
The price depends on the brand and type of film. Conventional (metalized or dyed) films usually range between $6-8 per square foot, whereas Ceramic films can range from $7-15 per square foot. If the windows are easy to get to and don’t require any extra maintenance (like removing old/damaged film or moving furniture), expect to pay on the lower end of the scale. If ladders, scaffolding, or extra maintenance are required, expect to pay a little extra for the labor.
- Do you offer discounts or coupons?
Yes! We often give discounts for completing an entire project at once, as well as hand out coupons at local Home Shows that are good for either a percentage or dollar amount off the original price. We also understand that the best form of advertising is a happy customer’s word of mouth; that’s why, when you refer us to a friend or neighbor, we are more than happy to pass along a Referral Discount to you! Additionally, we give Senior Discounts to those on a fixed income.
Have any more questions that we didn’t cover? You can check out our FAQs page or leave us a comment below.