The phenomenon of faded window tint is a common concern among vehicle and building owners. As time passes, what was once a vibrant and functional car window tint tends to lose its colour and effectiveness, leaving behind a lacklustre appearance.
Understanding what’s causing this fading process is crucial to slow it down, if not prevent it altogether. So in this article, we’ll explore the various factors that lead to faded window tint.
What is Window Tint?
A car window tint is a thin film applied to the interior of your vehicle’s glass windows and windshields. It protects you from glare, heat, and UV exposure and provides privacy as you cruise down your favourite lanes. They can even improve fuel efficiency by reducing the need for air conditioning!
Car window tints are made from various materials, including polyester, metal, and ceramic. They can be dyed, deposited, or sputtered with different colours and shades.
Why Does Window Tint Fade?
Car window tints fade primarily due to UV exposure. The sun’s UV rays will eventually break down the molecular structure of your vehicle’s tint, resulting in discolouration and deterioration.
Furthermore, other factors are at play, including heat, chemicals, and pollutants. Prolonged exposure to these elements will further accelerate the tint’s fading process. To top it off, improper installation can lead to fading and other problems.
Signs of Faded Window Tint
As time takes its toll on your car window tints, several unmistakable signs will emerge. Recognizing these is crucial for maintaining the aesthetic appeal and functionality of window tints, whether in a residential or business setting:
The most evident sign of faded window tints is a loss of colour intensity. Tints that were once vibrant and dark gradually take on a lighter, washed-out appearance. This diminished colour affects the aesthetic and can impact the tint’s ability to block sunlight effectively.
Bubbling and Peeling
Over time, faded window tints develop bubbles and areas where they begin to peel away from the glass. These bubbles not only compromise the tint’s visual appeal but can also obstruct the view and compromise the safety of occupants.
Hazing and Discolouration
Faded tints may appear hazy or have areas with uneven discolouration. This can be particularly noticeable when light passes through the window, creating a cloudy or distorted effect. Hazing diminishes the window’s transparency, making it less appealing and possibly obstructing visibility.
Reduced Heat and Glare Reduction
As tints fade, their ability to block heat and reduce glare diminishes. This can result in increased heat accumulation inside vehicles or buildings, affecting comfort levels for occupants. In a business environment, faded tints may lead to higher cooling costs.
Visual Wear and Tear
Over time, the overall appearance of faded tints may appear worn and aged. This visual wear and tear can give a neglected impression to a business establishment, affecting its overall presentation.
Causes of Faded Window Tint
From improved privacy to reduced heat and glare, window tints offer numerous benefits. But these tints gradually fade over time, impacting their appearance and functionality. There are several reasons why this could happen, including:
Exposure to UV Rays
Emitted by the sun, ultraviolet (UV) rays are one of the major culprits behind faded window tints. It is especially problematic during peak sunlight hours or in areas that experience intense sunlight all year. The UV rays constantly bombarding the tint will gradually weaken the molecular bonds holding it together.
Exposure to Heat
Additionally, the high temperatures from the sunlight and other sources can accelerate your tint’s fading process. The temperature fluctuations will cause the tint material to expand and contract, leading to deterioration and cracks. With prolonged exposure, your tint will even lose its adhesion, resulting in bubbling and peeling.
Chemicals from cleaning agents and airborne pollutants can also lead to a faded window tint. These can react with the tint materials, causing discolouration or haziness. Moreover, this fading process can be further expedited through constant exposure to pollutants or abrasive cleaning products.
You need to properly install the window tint to ensure it lasts long and does its job. Inadequate installation will not only lead to peeling, cracking, and other weak spots. Eventually, UV rays and other harsh elements will make their way toward these gaps, resulting in fading and deterioration.
How to Fix Faded Window Tint
Faded window tints not only detract from the aesthetic appeal of your vehicle but also reduce its functional benefits (e.g., UV protection and improved privacy). Luckily, there are two simple ways to address this issue:
Re-Tint the Windows
Suppose your car’s window film has faded over time. In that case, re-tinting is a practical solution to restore functionality and aesthetics. It improves your car’s appearance and contributes to better heat reduction and interior design. Follow these steps to ensure a successful re-tinting process:
- Gather Materials. Acquire a high-quality window film kit, a window tint application solution, a squeegee, a heat gun, a utility knife, and cleaning supplies.
- Remove Old Tint. Carefully remove the faded window film using a heat gun and a utility knife. Be cautious not to damage the glass or the defroster lines.
- Clean the Glass. Thoroughly clean the glass surface to ensure proper adhesion of the new tint. Use a glass cleaner and lint-free cloth.
- Cut Window Film. Cut the new window film to the size of the window, leaving a slight overlap to ensure complete coverage.
- Apply Application Solution. Spray the application solution on the glass to prevent premature adhesion.
- Position the Film. Place the cut window film onto the glass, ensuring it aligns properly with the edges.
- Smooth Out Air Bubbles. Use the squeegee to gently smooth out air bubbles and excess solution from under the film.
- Heat and Shrink. Use a heat gun to carefully heat the film, allowing it to conform to the shape of the window.
- Trim Excess Film. Trim any excess film around the edges using a utility knife.
- Final Cleaning. Clean the interior and exterior of the glass to ensure the new tint looks flawless.
Preventing Faded Window Tint
Preventing future fading of window tints is essential to maintain your windows’ appearance and functionality. Here are some valuable tips to help you keep your window tints looking their best for longer:
Choose High-Quality Films
Opt for reputable window tint brands that offer UV-resistant films. These films are designed to withstand prolonged sun exposure and reduce the risk of fading.
Prioritise window tints with UV protection properties. These tints provide shade and block harmful UV rays that contribute to fading.
Park in Shade
Whenever possible, park your vehicle in cool, shaded areas or use sunshades to shield your windows from direct sunlight. This helps reduce UV and heat exposure, as well as preserve the tint’s colour.
Clean your tinted windows regularly using a mild glass cleaner and a soft, non-abrasive cloth. Avoid harsh chemicals that can accelerate fading.
When cleaning, use gentle wiping motions and avoid abrasive materials to prevent scratching or damaging the tint surface.
Use interior sunshades for your vehicles during times of prolonged sun exposure. This shields the interior from direct sunlight and reduces heat buildup.
Avoid Sharp Objects
Be cautious not to scratch or damage the tint while placing or removing objects from windows.
Have experienced tinting professionals service your car when checking your tints. Aside from their expertise, they know the proper techniques to prevent issues like bubbles or peeling that can accelerate fading.
How long does it take for a window tint to fade?
Window tints undergo changes over time. Typically, they start getting less dark within 5 years after installation, fading from an initial 99% to about 70%. This process is significantly influenced by the material’s quality. Tints made from inferior-quality materials tend to fade rapidly. In contrast, those crafted from premium materials exhibit a slower fading process.
How much does it cost to re-tint windows?
The cost varies based on the type of tint and the vehicle size. On average, re-tinting can range from $250 to $900 for a standard car in Australia.
Don’t let a faded window tint ruin your car’s appeal! By exploring the insights provided in the guide above, you’ll understand why window tints fade, how to restore them, and how to prevent future issues.
So what are you waiting for? Embrace these tips to enjoy the benefits of well-maintained tints for the long haul!