How Dark Should I Tint My Home Windows?

How Dark Should I Tint My Home Windows?

By Window Tinting In Home Window Tinting

October 20, 2023

Deciding to tint your home windows can provide many benefits, from energy savings to UV protection. But one of the biggest considerations is how dark you should go with the window film. The darkness or visible light transmission (VLT) percentage you choose can impact everything from your energy bill to your interior lighting. Here’s what you need to know to make the best choice for your home.

A Brick Building With Tinted Home Windows.

How Dark Should I Tint My Home Windows

Take Into Account Your Climate and Sun Exposure

The climate and sun exposure where you live should play a major role in choosing VLT percentage. Here are some guidelines:

  • Hot and sunny climates like Phoenix or Miami: Go darker with a VLT of 20% to reject more heat and glare. It can cut your cooling costs by blocking up to 79% of heat from the windows.
  • Temperate or partly sunny climates like Seattle or Chicago: Consider a VLT of 35% to reject some heat and glare while allowing natural light. It can reduce cooling costs by up to 66%.
  • Cooler climates with limited sun, like Portland or Boston: Opt for a lighter VLT of 50% to maximize natural light and heat gain during colder months. It still blocks up to 57% of heat and 99% of UV rays.

Bottom line: The more intense the sun and heat where you live, the darker you’ll want to go on window tint.

Factor in Interior Lighting and Aesthetics

The VLT percentage you choose for your window tint will directly impact your home’s interior lighting and aesthetics. Here’s how:

  • Darker tints (15-20% VLT) will significantly reduce natural light coming into the home. It may require more use of interior lighting during the daytime. The look is sleek and private from the outside.
  • Medium tints (20-35% VLT) allow a good balance of solar heat/glare reduction with natural light transmittance. This makes them popular in many homes.
  • Lighter tints (35-50% VLT) maximize daylighting and visibility. But they provide less glare, heat and UV ray protection. The look is more subtle from the outside.

So consider the rooms being tinted and your lighting needs. For example, darker tints are great for bedrooms, while lighter ones may be preferred for kitchens and workspaces. The appearance from curbside also matters if exterior aesthetics are important in your neighbourhood.

Consider Adding Clear Glass Break Safety Film

For added protection against broken glass, consider layering a clear window safety film behind your darker tint. This clear film holds the glass fragments together when broken, preventing dangerous shards from falling or blowing out.

Some pros suggest combining a lighter 30% VLT tint with clear safety film. It still provides good heat, glare and UV reduction while maximizing natural light transmission. And you get the added security of glass breakage protection.

Ask Your Window Tint Provider for Advice

Don’t be shy about asking your window tint provider for guidance on choosing the right VLT. Reputable dealers want you to be happy with the results. They should consider all the factors that matter for your home, such as:

  • Glass type (single pane, double pane)
  • Window framing and sills
  • Window orientation and sun exposure
  • Interior lighting needs
  • Local regulations
  • Safety and security concerns

A pro tint installer has the experience to consider all this and help you pick the perfect tint darkness. Trust their recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How dark can I legally go in my area?

Check your state and local tint laws. Many limit residential tint to 50% VLT minimum. But some locales permit darker.

Do darker tints cause more interior heat in summer?

No, darker tints actually reduce heat gain year-round by blocking more infrared light. Lighter tints let in more free heat from the sun.

The Bottom Line on VLT Percentage

When choosing a VLT percentage, there are a few key factors to weigh:

  • Climate and sun exposure
  • Interior lighting and aesthetics
  • Local laws and HOA rules
  • Adding safety film

Darker tints (15-35% VLT) are best for hot, sunny climates to reduce heat/glare and cut cooling costs. Go lighter (35-50% VLT) for cooler climates for more free solar heat and light.

Chat with your window tint pro about the best VLT for your situation. With the right darkness and quality film, you’ll enjoy tint benefits for years to come.

Emily Wright
Emily Wright

Left us a 5 star review

Emily Wright
October 22, 2023

Great quality service. Fred did an excellent job installing our house tinting.

Linda Mudryk
August 3, 2023

Absolutely tickled pink with our window tinting for our western facing bedroom and office. Thanks for your efficient and professional work

Rodney Trevor
March 2, 2023

Getting tinting for our home was a very easy process from start to finish. Liz was very professional, friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. The cost was good and the process was explained very well.

Kara Skene
February 18, 2023

Ben was professional and easy to deal with. Liz installed our tint very quickly and was lovely to deal with as well. Really impressed with the end result, the glare and heat in our home from the western sun is gone. highly recommend Eclipse Tinting.

Brendan Jarvis
January 31, 2023

Ben and his team did a great job. Good price good service good product. Thanks again Ben

Cheryl Green
January 31, 2023

Fred was so friendly and helpful and did a great job. Eclipse tinting were amazing. Quote provided, questions answered quickly. Just awesome customer service and very happy with the outcome

Jac Nolan
November 20, 2022

Had tinting done by Eclipse this week and love the result! Thanks Fred and Ben!

Lucia Gray
November 7, 2022

Really fantastic service and a great quality product. Ben and his team are friendly, reliable and have done an excellent job installing our window tints. We have already noticed a difference in how hot our house gets through the day and are enjoying more privacy thanks to the darker windows. Would definitely recommend.

Cesar Junior
November 6, 2022

Ben was very friend and easy going. Thank you for be so easy to deal with :) Fred was the one who isntalled the tint, samr thing very friend and helpful. The wait worth for the service :)

Judy Cullinane
November 2, 2022

Ben Howard and his team were both professional and affordable. Great service with follow up email of date and time. Reminder text message was great. They removed the old tint and completed my job with no mess and the windows look great. I strongly recommend using them.

Lynda Hall-Watson
October 22, 2022

Very good customer service. Ben was awesome. The installation was done to perfection by an experienced expert and I could not be happier

Kel Ann
October 21, 2022

The service from start to finish was professional and completed on time. Ben was friendly and very helpful with my decisions

Kath Ledgard
October 20, 2022

Totally happy with service from Eclipse Tinting, Fred was prompt, friendly and professional. Great value for money, would recommend 💯

Tony Thomas
October 18, 2022

Very good customer service, prompt, professional and at a well priced. They had no problem competing with companies that were closer. The installation was done to perfection by an experienced expert. They deserve their high ratings.

Oliver Chambers
October 16, 2022

Tinting and frosting look great and both Ben and Fred were excellent.