Architectural Window Film vs. Automotive Window Tint: What is the Difference?

If you are new to the window tinting industry or interested in working in it, you may not fully understand the difference between architectural window films and automotive window tint. Madico, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality window film products, is here to explain.

What is architectural window film? What is automotive window tint? And what types of products are in the market today? Keep reading to learn all about architectural window film vs. automotive window tint, what these products are made of, and much more.

What is Architectural Window Film?

Window films are primarily used to enhance existing glass for added solar control benefits. When these products are used with vehicles, it is often referred to as window tint (hence the confusion).

Madico’s architectural window films are highly effective solutions for homes, commercial buildings, and more. For example, all Madico window films block 99% of the sun’s harmful UV rays, protecting building occupants and reducing fading of furnishings.

Madico architectural window films can also reduce heat and glare, increase privacy, help hold broken glass together and can be used to protect glass from vandalism–and that is just for starters.

Popular Types of Architectural Window Film

Madico offers a full line of window film products to the architectural, healthcare, aerospace, and transportation industries. These include:

Reflective Film

Reflective film is the most common type of window film in residential and commercial settings. Traditional films that are reflective in appearance. These films reject heat, keeping homes and offices more comfortable. Reflective films provide privacy, cut glare, and help to lower energy costs.

Dual Reflective Film

Dual reflective films provide sun protection while reducing daytime heat and glare. The film also offers optimal nighttime views by reducing the interior reflectivity of glass, providing a more natural view vs traditional reflective film.

Neutral Film

Neutral films are less reflective than traditional films. The products also reduce glare and heat gain, all while providing a natural neutral tone.

Safety and Security Film

In addition to window films that protect from light and heat, Madico also offers film products that hold broken glass together in the event of an accident, severe weather or forced entry. While the glass may still break after impact, the film can help prevent shattering.

Safety and security window films from Madico help reduce the risk of personal injury, property damage and loss caused by natural disasters, burglary, vandalism, and accidents. Available in a range of shades, finishes and thicknesses, our safety films are designed with protection in mind.
Madico safety and security films have been extensively tested by independent testing facilities and meet safety glazing criteria as defined by CPSC, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Underwriters Laboratories.

Glass shards and debris can cause severe damage to people and property while exposing your building or home’s interior to water, wind, and other perils. Reduce the risk with safety and security films from Madico. Safety film provides passive protection 24 hours a day.

Madico security films are also designed to mitigate smash-and-grab theft and prevent costly, disruptive damage to your business property and merchandise. In buildings where the government mandates tempered glass, Madico safety and security films can bring buildings up to code requirements at costs far below those of replacing existing windows.

Films in this category also can help protect school campuses and occupants against intrusion, active shooter incidents, burglary, and vandalism. They seamlessly integrate with your existing campus security measures.

Madico safety and security films have been extensively tested by independent testing facilities and meet safety glazing criteria as defined by CPSC, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Underwriters Laboratories.

Anti-Graffiti Film

Graffiti Free films function as a sacrificial barrier to help control vandalism and provide a cost-effective alternative to replacing damaged glazing. Graffiti Free films are easily installed and replaced so glazing will always look its best.

Effective in transit systems and other high traffic public areas, Graffiti Free film is the solution to keeping vandals at bay. Once defaced, the film is removable for easy replacement, improving turnaround time for maintenance and saving cities thousands of dollars each year in costly repairs.
Graffiti Free is frequently applied on retail windows, in schools and other places where graffiti and vandalism are common problems. By installing Graffiti Free film, glass is protected, and financial resources can be used for more important projects.

Decorative Film

Decorative films can be used to add patterns to windows and increase the privacy of a home or office building. Frosted or colored films provide privacy while adding curb appeal.

Decorative window films allow you to inexpensively retrofit existing glass to appear etched or patterned.

Printed films have endless possibilities. These products allow you to create beautiful, full-color photo murals and patterns on any glass surface, adding color and excitement to otherwise plain interiors. Visually soften an entryway, dress up a retail window display, add privacy to office workspaces and more.

Printable film goes a step beyond pre-printed decorative films because you are not limited by what is available; you are only limited by your imagination.

The possibilities are endless with decorative films–create beautiful designs on doors, windows, partitions, or any other glass surface.

The Benefits of Architectural Window Film

• Rejects more than 99% of UV rays
• Saves energy and makes you feel more comfortable
• Cuts glare and unwanted heat gain
• Resistant to scratches and everyday wear
• Safety films hold shattered glass together in case of breakage
• Enhances privacy
• Reduces fading of furnishings and flooring
• Available in a wide range of shades and colors

What is Automotive Window Tint?

Automotive window tint is a type of window film. Most automotive window tint involves changing the actual shade or color of the window. Here is a straightforward way to understand the difference between the two: all window tints are window film, but not all window films are tinted.

What is Automotive Window Tint Made Of?

Automotive window tint or simply window tint is also made of polyester. Dyes or metals are then added, depending on the type and function of the window tint.

Popular Types of Automotive Window Tint

There are three primary types of automotive window tint in the industry today

• Dyed films, metal-free construction ensures no signal disruption for drivers. These products can be manufactured with the latest color-stable technology, solution or dip dyed, and extruded.
• High-performance films, have a metalized layer for increased heat rejection.
• Ceramic films, such as nano-ceramic are also metal-free. These products offer significant heat reduction by rejecting infrared rays.

Madico Automotive Window Tint Options

For customers who want automotive window tint, Madico products offer the ultimate combination of quality, function, and style, with shades to enhance any vehicle’s aesthetic.

Options include Black Pearl® High Performance, Black Pearl® Nano-Ceramic, Black Pearl® Non-Reflective, Charcoal, Charcool®, GP Max, Onyx®, Shadow, and WINCOS.

The Benefits of Automotive Window Tint

Madico automotive window tint has similar benefits to architectural window film, including:

• Style
• 99% UV protection
• Heat rejection and temperature control
• Glare reduction
• Reduced interior fading
• Increased privacy
• Helps holds broken glass
• Available in metal-free constructions that do not interfere with wireless or satellite connections

Use Madico Products for All Your Window Film and Window Tint Needs

Madico partners with consumers, manufacturers, and small business owners to offer a wide range of superior film products. Madico manufactures and distributes high performance window films for automotive, architectural, and safety and security applications through nine company-owned distribution centers in North America as well as an extensive international distribution network.

For more information about what architectural window film is, what automotive window tint is, and which solution is right for you, visit or find a Madico dealer today.