Finding a full roll of home window film may seem a perfect solution for a DIY auto tint project, but upon closer inspection and investigation, using the tint interchangeably is not a good practice for a number of reasons. The short reason is that home film is meant for residential or commercial properties while vehicle film is designed for an automobile. However, the long answer is a bit more complicated and deserves a closer look to the whys.
What is the difference between home and auto tint?
The adhesive used for both types of projects differs a great deal. Sure, the product is being placed on glass. Therefore, one may conclude that film is film regardless of the application surface. However, vehicles tend to be under more pressure because a vehicle moves at considerable speeds going down the road. A residential property does not generally have to worry about the pressure or speed of the wind that comes into contact with the surface. Therefore, it is essential that the adhesive for vehicles is made with heavier-duty glue to keep the material firmly in place under any circumstance.
The application of the product generally finishes with the sealing of it to a glass surface. A vehicle utilizes heat shrinking, most of the time, to insure the adhesive melds with the glass surface more thoroughly. While home films may need heat, the heat shrinking process is generally reserved for auto tint projects.
Another consideration is the actual shape of the film. The product for vehicles is generally curved allowing it to fit better on the surface, and that for homes is generally flat because residential windows lack the curves. Forcing a curved film on a flat surface or a flat film on a curved surface minimizes the benefits and look of the finished project, and quite honestly, is not easy to accomplish.
The glass thickness and composition is also a lot different when comparing homes and vehicles. Often, people who try to place auto tint on a home will discover that the film can crack and shatter many types of window panes in heated environments. On a vehicle, even when the heat is great, the glass is thick enough to handle the material’s flexibility. However, most residential and commercial properties have thin, double paned windows that simply cannot handle the pressure and flexibility.
Though residential window tint can be quite reflective, vehicles are not allowed to have a highly reflective surface, and the degree of the permitted reflective properties will vary by state. However, some of the products for buildings will have a mirror-like reflective property that the law simply does not allow on vehicles. This is for safety purposes.
When it comes to window film, it is best to keep home film on residential properties and auto tint on vehicles. The simple reason is that the film is specifically designed for the strengths and weaknesses of any given glass medium or surface. Working with the right product helps insure that the strengths are maximized and the weaknesses are minimized.