Whether it’s your car, home or business, your windows are a barrier protecting you and your belongings from the elements of the outdoors. Windows can affect things like your heating and air conditioning bills, so it’s important to make sure your windows are taking care of you. 

Tinted windows are a popular way to gain privacy and regulate heat. Privacy glass and tinted window film are common ways of achieving tinted windows, though it’s important to choose the most effective option for your budget. Find out how factory-tinted windows compare to window film.

Different Types of Privacy Glass

Privacy glass has been intentionally obscured, typically to block passersby’s views of the inside. There are multiple ways of doing this that provide different looks, including:

  • Tinted glass: Tinted glass is one of the most common types of privacy glass, especially among vehicles and commercial properties. Metal oxides are added to the glass to achieve the desired color and shade. Tinting can be done for several purposes, including decoration, energy efficiency and obscuring visibility. 
  • Ground glass: Grinding the surface of the glass to break it into small fragments creates ground glass. After grinding, the glass can be sanded to achieve a smooth, matte and translucent glass. Ground glass typically only offers enough privacy to obscure details, while shapes and movements are usually still visible. 
  • Frosted glass: Similar to ground glass, frosted glass is sandblasted or etched to create indentations on the glass’s surface. This technique makes the glass translucent and can be used to achieve various opacities ranging from heavily blurred to mild distortion. 
  • One-way glass: Using the same principle as mirrors, one-way glass has a metallic film in the glass that reflects light. This allows the glass to act like a mirror when there is more light on one side of the glass than the other. 
  • Smart glass: Thanks to the addition of thermochromic and photochromic chemicals to glass, smart glass is able to change between translucent to transparent. Some types of smart glass can even be controlled digitally so you can choose when the glass is transparent. 

Privacy glass offers a few benefits. While it may seem obvious, one of the biggest benefits is an increase in privacy over what transparent glass offers. Light is still able to get through privacy glass while still obscuring the objects and people on the other side. Other benefits include helping with energy efficiency through the regulation of heating and lighting.

One potential negative of private glass, specifically on vehicles, is that they’re typically factory-tinted windows. Factory-tinted windows are irreversible, which means it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get more transparent windows. 

Different Types of Window Film

Window film is a thin sheet of polyester — the same polymer water bottles are made with — that is adhered to automotive, home and business windows. Window films may be tinted, decorative, energy-efficient or have multiple layers to help hold together shattered glass. The different types of window films include:

  • Automotive: Window film can help protect you and your car. Window films reduce glare, easing strain on your eyes, and block out harsh UV light that can damage your car’s interior and your skin. They also help with temperature control and come in a variety of shades to provide privacy. Additionally, automotive window films can absorb the impact of flying debris to protect your windows and help hold shattered glass together in the event of an accident or attempted break-in.
  • Residential: Residential window tints are offered in a wide range of tints, hues and decorative styles so you can find something to compliment your style or add a bold element to your home. In addition to enhancing your home’s aesthetic, residential window films can reduce glare on your electronic screens while still allowing natural light to brighten your space. They also help regulate temperature in your home to make it more comfortable year round. 
  • Commercial: Whether it’s a restaurant, office building or retail store, commercial window films can help protect the merchandise and furnishings on the other side of the glass from fading after UV exposure. You can also add visually appealing films to the interior or exterior of your building to enhance its look. For example, putting privacy film in office or conference room windows helps create a sleek yet functional space. 
  • Safety and security: Safety and security window films are durable to protect your property from unwanted events. Whether it’s a tornado or burglary, window film can help protect the most vulnerable parts of your building. From anti-shatter, anti-intrusion, anti-graffiti and more, window films help make your windows more durable.

Window films offer significant benefits, including energy efficiency. They reflect over 80% of the sun’s heat, which helps lower the cost of air conditioning and heating. This saves energy and helps lower utility costs. Window films help increase the temperature comfort in your building by regulating temperature differences between dark and sunny areas of your home or business. 

Additionally, window films can be added or removed at any time. This gives you the ability to change the tint and design whenever you want. Window films are cheaper than most other window options, and they typically come with a warranty. And, window films are recommended as a UV protectant, blocking up to 99% of harmful UV rays that enter your car, home or business.

Privacy Glass vs. Window Tint

When considering window film tint over privacy glass, the biggest difference lies in the pros and cons of each. You may not get a choice when it comes to privacy glass. And while privacy glass does make it more difficult to see through the windows, they’re more expensive and difficult to use in large-scale applications. 

The biggest difference between these two options is that tinted window film can easily be removed or changed at any time. This gives you the freedom to change the look of your windows as often as you’d like. Window tints are also a more affordable option, especially given all the benefits they offer. Privacy glass can be enough for some people, though if you’re really looking to get the most out of your windows, install window film over privacy glass.

Can You Use Window Tint With Privacy Glass?

Privacy glass is standard on many cars today, so you may be wondering if it’s possible to put window film over factory-tinted windows. Using tinted window films over already tinted privacy glass may create a shaded window that’s too dark for some state laws. However, you can use a clear or almost clear window film. Doing so allows you to reap the benefits of window films, even with factory-tinted windows. 

Contact a Madico® Dealer Today

Choose the highest-quality window films for your business, home or vehicle. Madico window films come in a wide variety of tint levels, hues and aesthetics. We’re proud to offer products that, while under warranty, won’t crack, bubble, yellow or fade.

Find a Madico dealer to shop our products or for more information!