What should I look for in an installer?
You don’t need a licence to install film. So, the best way to ensure you hire a trusted professional who has made a commitment to comply with all Australian Standards and State/Territory regulations is to use a WFAANZ member. If you’re getting solar control or Low E film, you should choose an installer with WERS For Film certification as that will ensure you receive an energy certificate that can impact the energy rating of your home.
How will I know what product to use to meet compliance?
There’s no one answer as it depends on your circumstances. Contact your nearest WFAANZ member, who will guide you through the National Construction Code or State/Territory regulations. Follow these links for general information about Australian Standards (building film) and State and Territory regulations (auto film).
I want to find a film that rejects heat, should I consider the IR or TSER value?
To understand how much heat a window film can block, you need to know its Total Solar Energy Rejection (TSER). Expressed as a percentage, it describes the solar energy that’s rejected from passing through glass. The higher the TSER, the more heat that’s blocked.
TSER values consider all three forms of solar energy – infrared (IR), visible light and UV.
Be careful of IR values. They can be misleading for two reasons – film suppliers calculate them differently so you can’t compare apples to apples, and as IR is only one of the three forms of heat, IR values only represent a portion of the heat being rejected. TSER, on the other hand, tells the full heat rejection story.
To accurately compare films from different suppliers, WFAANZ recommends you consider the TSER of films with the same visible light transmission (VLT). In other words, compare the TSER of films that are the same darkness.
Why can I see bubbles underneath the film?
Don’t worry too much about the bubbles. Water is sprayed onto glass before film is applied. It enables accurate positioning and helps remove air pockets. A thin layer of this water remains once the film is installed. Days after, you can expect to see bubbles. They can be any size and quantity, depending on the glass, film and environmental conditions. The water between the window and the film will evaporate and the bubbles diminish over time. Read this fact sheet for more info.
What is VLT?
Standing for visible light transmission, VLT signifies how light or dark the film is. It’s expressed as a percentage – the lower the percentage the darker the film. VLT becomes critical when it comes to auto film because of State and Territory VLT regulations. These laws dictate how dark you’re allowed to tint your car windows.
Can window film be removed?
Window film can be removed by a professional, never attempt to do it yourself as you could easily damage the glass. Refer to this removing film fact sheet for more info.
Can I get a safety film that also cuts out heat and glare?
Yes. Dual purpose safety films are available that have solar control properties. Talk to your WFAANZ member about your options.
Is there a film that controls the temperature when it’s hot and cold?
Yes, Low E window films. They’re becoming extremely popular in Australia because of our temperature extremes (mixed climate zones).
Are any window films fire rated once applied to glass?
In the experience of WFAANZ, window film products have not passed Australian fire codes.
Building window film
How much will it cost to tint the windows in my home?
A variety of variables may influence the cost of a job – the film, the size, quantity of windows, accessibility, site factors, the state of the glass, etc. Most WFAANZ installer members will come to your home, measure the windows, discuss which film you require and then provide a detailed quote.
As an indication only, the Rawlinsons Construction Cost Guide 2019 lists the average installed cost per square meter of a reflective, high performance window film as $78.75. The same guide lists the average cost per square meter of a new double glazed window (6mm clear float and 6mm clear toughened) as being $431.33, highlighting the compelling value of window film.
How do I pick the right film?
Your WFAANZ installer will walk you through the options and help select the right film for your individual needs. Prioritising these benefits is a great place to start…
- Temperature control
- Reduce energy consumption/electricity bills
- Reduce glare on computer or TV screen
- UV protection
- Aesthetics – improve the external look of the home
- Protect furnishing, artwork and flooring from fading
What should I think about when choosing a film?
The efficiency of solar control window film is closely related to local weather conditions, building orientation, window size and other factors such as exterior shading conditions. These will factor into the decision process when choosing a film. Other considerations…
- Do you want the film to be noticeable (for increased privacy), or virtually undetectable?
- Do you want it to reflective (mirror-like) or not?
- What’s the glass type of your windows?
- What sort of frames do you have?
- Anything different about the windows, i.e. lead light, glass imperfections, etc.?
- What direction do the windows face?
- What are the dimensions of the windows?
- What is your budget?
- When would you like the job done?
How should I get my home ready if an installer is coming over?
On the day of installation, the tinter will come to your home with pre-cut sheets of film. So they can hit the ground running, to the best of your ability prepare safe and easy access to each window. Vacuuming carpets and cleaning floors in advance of the tinter’s arrival will reduce the chance of dust flying around (contamination) during the installation.
How long does it take to install?
There are many variable that determine how the install will take, like frame type, access considerations, the condition of the glass, etc. After visiting the site, your WFAANZ member can estimate how long it will take to install the film.
Will solar control film positively impact my home’s energy rating?
Yes. To prove it, hire a WERS For Film accredited installer and get them to install a film that’s been rated in the WERS For Film program. You will then qualify for an energy certificate that can be used by an energy assessor when determining the energy rating of your home.
How much can I save on electricity bills?
With so many variables this must be calculated on a case by case basis. WFAANZ manufacturers claim that in most cases, window film will pay for itself within five years of installation.
In this Facility Executive article, a US pop-culture museum enjoyed $30,000 worth of annual average cost savings thanks to reduced electricity bills after solar control window film was installed.
What is thermal stress? Can I use film on double glazing?
Applying window film can increase the temperature of the glass. Window film installers and manufacturers understand the physics behind thermal stress and take caution on every job to avoid thermal stress risks. Your WFAANZ installer will assess your windows and help choose a low risk film and yes, there are products suitable for double glazed units as well.
Is there a film I can see out, but people can’t see in, that also works at night?
Buckle up, this answer’s a long one.
Some films have different levels on reflection on either side – high external reflection and low internal reflection. They’re sometimes called one-way mirror films.
You know police station interview rooms in movies? The suspect sits in a room with good lighting and a mirror on the wall. The police are in a dark room with no lighting, watching through the mirror. The ‘mirror’ is a double layer film. The highly reflective film faces the suspect, which is laminated to a low reflection film facing the police. The film is installed on the police side of the glass.
With higher lighting in the interview room, the suspect sees a mirror of themselves, and the low light level on the police side is washed out. The police can see through the glass clearly, as their side is low reflection and there is plenty of light from the brighter side transmitting through the film to them.
There are many types of one-way mirror films to choose from. What matters are your preferences regarding how reflective and dark the film is. Make sure you see samples, as your idea of a dark or light room may vary from your tinters.
Where just a degree of privacy is required, a lower reflection and lighter film fits better. This will allow more light into the room.
One crucial point – the film only works in the daytime. At night when the light balance swaps, the neighbours will be able to see in. It would therefore be necessary to close blinds or curtains at night for privacy. There is no film that can provide night time privacy other than a frosted film.
What is a manifestation?
It’s an opaque strip of film across the glass, commonly found on glass doors, that’s meant to prevent people walking or running into the glass by accident.
The requirements for manifestation applied to glazing that’s susceptible to human impact come from AS1288 Glass in Buildings, Making glass visible. An opaque strip may be installed across the glass, which can be computer cut with logos or decorations provided it meets AS1288 criteria. Clause 5.19 covers what is permissible in detail.
Buildings with access for people with disabilities have different manifestation requirements, outlined in AS1428.1.
Read more on the Regulations – buildings page.
Can window film installers perform glass audits?
No. Window film installers are not licensed to perform glass audits. Only a suitably qualified person can perform these audits. A tinter can present their ‘professional opinion’ of what is float glass and can recommend a safety film to ensure the window meets safety glass criteria, in fact this is done every day all around the country. A local qualified glazier, certifier or engineer should be brought in if an official audit of the glass is required though.
Automotive window film
How much will it cost to tint my car?
The type of film you choose will have a huge bearing on the cost of the install. Generally, you should be charged between $300 – $800 to have auto film professionally installed on four standard side windows and the rear window. Window film of any type cannot be installed to the greater part of the windscreen, in any jurisdiction.
How long will it take to install?
On average it will take a professional a couple of hours to do four standard side windows and the rear window in a sedan. It depends on the time of year, time of week, etc. but most times your installation will be finished the same day.
Can I get darker than legal film on my car?
You shouldn’t, and here’s why…
- You expose yourself to a fine from police, $115 or above depending on the jurisdiction
- Your vehicle may not pass registration
- In either of these scenarios, you will have to fork out the cost to have the film removed
- If you’re involved in an accident and the illegal film is considered a contributing factor, you and your tinter could find yourself in court
- You’re giving your insurance company a valid reason not to cover you in the event of an accident
I just heard the VLT laws have changed, is that true?
It is true. As of November 2018, the VLT limits have changed in all States/Territories. Please be aware – this is only for rear windows, which are the windows behind the driver. A 20% VLT allowance is now permitted on rear windows, as long as other criteria are met. If you live in the NT, the rear window limit is 15%. Refer to the auto law bulletins for the exact info.
I’ve just been fined for illegal film. What should I do?
Find your local WFAANZ member to remove the film. If you’re keen to have new film installed, ensure it meets your State/Territory VLT requirements. Your vehicle is deemed unroadworthy until the film is removed. Don’t attempt to remove the film yourself as it’s easy to damage the glass.
Can you apply a clear film over factory tinted (or privacy) glass?
Many new cars come with a tint in the glass on windows behind the driver – this is called factory tinted or privacy glass and the darkness can vary widely between car models.
All auto window films offer very high UV light protection so many car owners seek to have a clear film installed on their privacy glass for that reason.
The law is simply the same for applying a clear film as for any auto tint, the law stipulates the darkest level you are allowed to go to. A clear film will still reduce the visible light transmission slightly so if the privacy glass is already approaching or below the minimum VLT allowance for aftermarket film, then you cannot apply any film. Not even clear film.
Your WFAANZ installer can check your original glass for suitability and advise if it’s OK to install a clear film. If you need any help getting your head around the requirements in your State or Territory, email email@example.com.
Will I void my new car warranty if my vehicle isn't tinted at the dealership?
As long as the window film you install meets all State and Territory regulations, you will not void your warranty when using a window film installer outside the dealer network.
Why can't I get tint that's the same darkness as a new car?
It’s unfair but true. New cars fall under Australian Design Rules, a different set of regulations than those covering aftermarket film. So, your mate can buy a new car with dark windows and you may not be able to get aftermarket film of the same VLT installed in your car. Talk to your WFAANZ member about your darkest legal option.
Can I tint my campervan windows, which are polyacrylic or bonoplex?
Conventional automotive and building window films are not generally recommended for polyacrylic application for four main reasons:
- Polyacrylic products can expand and contract much more than glass, and the standard adhesives used by window films will not move with the expansion and contraction. This has the potential to cause bubbling
- In many cases, polyacrylic materials emit a gas for their lifespan, which is not film-friendly in most cases (outgassing)
- Polyacrylic glazing often has limited cleaning ability due to scratching, so film may be difficult to remove
- A curved glazing surface can present an application challenge
However, advances have been made and products introduced that claim to be suitable for these applications. These include films made specifically for plastic glazing applications, and ‘interface’ products (the interface layer is applied first then window film is applied on top of that). Please note WFAANZ is not endorsing or recommending these products or verifying these claims. Our recommendation is to seek advice, information and assurance from the film distributor first regarding the specific application.