Welcome to the July 2019 issue of Window Film News.
Our last issue released in May was our most popular ever, reaching tinters all across Australia. As the landscape of the Aussie window film industry shifts, so does our need to access independent, unbiased information and updates. That’s the role this newsletter hopes to fulfil. As always, if you have any comments or suggestions for the next issue, simply email email@example.com.
The dual cab debate
Is a dual cab ute a commercial vehicle? It’s an important question for tinters, as the classification of a vehicle determines its VLT limits.
In most States and Territories, you will find that if a “…motor vehicle is designed primarily for the carriage of goods…”, and it complies with other prerequisites (like being fitted with a rear vision mirror on either side), then its rear glazing may be coated to 0% VLT.
So how can you tell if a vehicle is designed primarily for the carriage of goods? Here’s the official definition from the Team Leader Vehicle Standards, Road User Services Division, Department of State Growth, Tasmania.
“The Vehicle and Traffic Act 1999, as the principle legislation to the Vehicle and Traffic (Vehicle Standards) Regulations 2014 defines “goods” as any object, material, or substance and includes an animal or bird.
Regulation 47 refers to the motor vehicle designed primarily for the carriage of goods. A vehicle constructed for both the carriage of persons and the carriage of goods shall be considered to be primarily for the carriage of goods if the number of seating positions times 68kg is less than 50% of the difference between the ‘Gross Vehicle Mass‘ and the ‘Unladen Mass‘. This is the Australian Design Rules (ADR) determination.
As part of compliance with ADR’s, a vehicle’s category is identified on the identification plate (also known as a compliance plate). A goods vehicle is categorised as either NA1, NA2, NB1 or NB2.”
Perplexing popcorn problem
When you’re in the business of selling popcorn you’re fairly reliant on your corn kernels popping. This was the problem experienced by the owners of Kernels Popcorn in Westfield Chermside earlier this year. They couldn’t understand why their un-popped popcorn wasn’t popping properly when cooked.
It was eventually determined the sunlight and heat from the skylights directly overhead was altering the kernels’ ability to pop.
In February, Cooltone carried out an external roof installation of a solar control film onto 156 panels (approx. 3000 x 9000mm) within the complex. The install took place between 5am and 10am in the morning – before it got too hot on the roof for the tinters.
The result was instantaneous. Order was restored as the popcorn started popping as it should. Popcorn problem solved.
Warming the winter window
Promoting the different types and benefits of film to the end user is one of our aims at WFAANZ.
One way we do this is via media releases sent to newspapers to get stories published for free. At the beginning of winter a media release entitled ‘Warming the winter window’ was released to newspapers, explaining the benefits of Low E film. Download it here.
When a window becomes a heater
Science Daily reports that Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden is developing a molecule for window film with two amazing properties. The first is that instead of just blocking energy from the sun, the film captures it. The second is that the film then redistributes that energy later in day as heat, when the temperature drops for example. The Chalmers University research team has announced its findings in the scientific journal Advanced Science. Read more here.
Why composition matters
Even though it’s paper thin, a sheet of window film comprises multiple layers that each play a part in shaping the way that film performs.
The diagram shown here is a great visual that members can use to demonstrate to customers how the different layers, including the adhesive layers, all work together. It also helps explain how such a thin material can deliver so many benefits, which comes in handy when selling dual benefit films like safety + solar.
Film is made with a polyester base, which can be pre-treated to accept different types of dyes or coatings, then it’s often laminated to other layers of film which could be clear or have coatings as well. These layer combinations produce a variety of colours, reflectivities, thermal properties and so on, each with its own purpose and attributes.
Just like all technologies, window film manufacturing technology has come a long way in the last 50 years with the advent of new machinery, materials, techniques and ever increasing skilled know-how. Today the technology and science going into the films you sell is vastly more complex and varied with many options available to manufacturers like metallic sputtering, colour stable dyes and carbon, multilayer lamination, ceramics and nano-particle technology.
A particular film may have a combination of layers using different technologies, the possibilities are endless and ever increasing. Your film manufacturer will measure and publish the performance specifications of your film so you know exactly how it will perform. They should also be able to help you understand how their window film is made as understanding your products better enables you to recommend particular films, or upsell film combinations for different windows within a home or building.
WFAANZ members can email firstname.lastname@example.org for a high res version of this image for your website, Facebook, brochures, info sheets, emails, etc.
VIC technical bulletin released
Last month WFAANZ released a technical bulletin detailing the revised VLT regulations in Victoria.
Approved by VicRoads, this bulletin can be used when explaining to customers how different windows in a vehicle may have different VLT requirements.
The bulletin was emailed to all Aussie tinters last month. If you did not receive one and would like to be added to the database, please email me at email@example.com.
Learning the ropes
Installing window film to the highest industry standard is a precise job that requires skill and experience. That’s why WFAANZ advises against DIY applications, WFAANZ distributor members only distribute professional grade window films and it’s also why training is so critical when learning how to tint professionally.
For practical instruction, here are three new training options on the table at present…
Premier Film Distribution now hold monthly entry level commercial and residential flat glass film training sessions. Held at the beginning of the month in Sydney, the three day course involves one on one training with licensed installers that have over 20 years’ experience. The course covers solar and frosted film, security and safety film and graphics and signage. For more information please contact John Sweeney, firstname.lastname@example.org or 0419 971 909.
MEP Films will consider all requests for training on a case by case basis, where relevant and practicable matching trainees with an experienced tinter best able to deliver their specific training requirements. Automotive training usually occurs at the instructor’s worksite, at their discretion. In this capacity, MEP Films delivers national flat glass and automotive hands on training. Flat glass application and technical training can be delivered in house or onsite, one on one or for small groups if required. For more information please contact email@example.com, and your enquiry will be directed to the appropriate contact depending on your location.
Paul Moore from The Tint Shop in Altona, Victoria, recently developed a training package for those interested in learning installation techniques of flat glass residential and commercial window film. Paul is a WERS For Film Accredited Individual and has been a member of WFAANZ for over ten years. For more information please contact Paul Moore on 0419 200 764 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NB: WFAANZ is not involved in any way in the development or implementation of the abovementioned training packages. WFAANZ does not offer hands-on training for those wanting to enter the industry or train new staff. We do offer online training for anyone interested in gaining their flat glass certificate or WERS For Film accreditation, two effective credentials that help differentiate your business.
End of an era
After 29 years of tinting windows, industry legends Allan and Carol O’Connor, A&C Classic Window Tinting in the NSW Hunter Valley, are hanging up their tools, closing the business and excitedly entering retirement
WFAANZ talks to Allan to learn about his time in the window film industry…
Carol and yourself have built a very successful window film business, why retire now?
Despite the business being profitable we just knew it was time. Since stopping tinting we have more time to help the family and work on the house. And of course, it wouldn’t be retirement without taking the caravan around Australia and traveling overseas.
How did you get into tinting?
I started in 1990. I was working at a windscreen repair and replacement business when the recession hit. There wasn’t enough windscreen work, so I decided to learn car tinting.
I traveled to Sydney every day for a week to learn the basics at Solartint Caringbah. On weekends I’d train by tinting cars for the cost of film. Work picked up and I needed someone to help me. I discussed this with my better half, Carol, and we decided I would teach her the ropes. As time went on, we added house tinting then commercial tinting.
Why did you get into flat glass?
Carol reviewed the business and found we spent 80% of our time on auto tinting generating 20% of our income, and 20% of time on flat glass generating 80% income. So we stopped doing cars and became flat glass specialists.
This was a game changer for us as we went on to be one of the biggest flat glass tinting companies in the Hunter Valley.
You’re a long standing member of WFAANZ, has association membership been important to you?
We joined the association in the early days and I was the first to be issued WERS For Film Accreditation, with WERS No. WWFA.001. It has always given me and the business great pride to be a member of the WFAANZ and WERS. I believe in the power of numbers because if you have the power, people listen. I don’t want to be like the chicken scratching in the dirt, I’d rather have power and soar like an eagle.
Have customer attitudes to flat glass tinting changed?
Windows used to be smaller and electricity cheap. People were less interested in tinting. When it was hot they’d just run their air-conditioners. But as people became more environmentally aware and electricity more expensive, it became more common for people to say “My air-conditioner works great but I can’t afford to run it, what can I do?”. The answer is window tinting
What do you like about the job?
Traveling to people’s homes and businesses, meeting interesting people, hearing stories and solving their problems with heat, glare, fade, privacy and security. We have worked in churches, gaols, brothels, mines, schools, on glass roofs of multi-storey buildings, boats, earth movers, trucks, cars, hi-rise cranes up ladders and scaffolding. The variety of locations has been amazing.
What are you proud of?
Definitely our reputation of having strong personal and business credibility. Not that long ago a potential customer wasn’t sure who to deal and rang Fair Trading to check for complaints companies had against them. In all our years of trading not a single complaint was listed against us. We got the job.
What is the secret to your success?
I was always there to solve the customer’s problem, not sell the film we had in stock. If the film won’t work in their situation be honest and tell them. Tinting sells itself if you have good product knowledge so you can educate the customer.
Do good work and if there is a problem, fix it before the customer even knows it exists.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those in the industry who helped and guided us through the years. We’re grateful to all our wonderful customers who appreciated our service and knowledge and told their friends.
From the editor: Allan and Carol, you’ve been with the association since I started twelve years ago. You both will be missed. Thank you for your support, professionalism and loyalty.
The lowdown on Low E
Any flat glass tinter worth their salt knows how critical it is to identify the glass before installing film.
Thermal breakage, failing film, voided warranties or glass damage could be the result of incorrectly matching film to glass. This especially comes into play when dealing with Low E glass.
If your client doesn’t know what type of glass they’ve got, there’s a few ways you can tell if it has a Low E coating:
- Purchase a Low E surface coating detector, this will identify Low E coatings inside of a double pane window as well
- Carefully and gently slide a non-scratch scourer over the glass surface – if it ‘grabs’ and is difficult to move, it’s usually a Low E coating
- A 4B pencil will write on a Low E coating but won’t write on glass
- Make a small scrape with a coin or a key (something metal) on an inconspicuous bottom corner of the glass and if it leaves a black line it is Low E coated (tip courtesy of Aaron McCarthy, Tint FX Sydney)
- With experience you can usually feel the surface with your hand, it feels different to untreated glass
Care must be taken when cleaning a single pane Low E coated glass surface, as scraping with a metal scraper can cause black marks in the coating, which is the result of the coating being harder than the blade and stripping some metal from the blade into the coating surface. If you encounter these black smudges or marks the only method of removal is with hydrochloric acid. Take extreme caution and follow the supplier’s guidelines for handling the acid. A good reference is this cleaning advice from Viridian. Don’t use straight acid, results have been seen with as little as 10% acid diluted in water making handling a lot safer.
Low E coatings could be on double glazed or single glazed glass. On a double glazed Low E window, the Low E coating is usually inside the airspace, so adding a window film will not affect the coating’s performance. If the glass is single glazed with a Low E coating on the interior surface, applying a film over the Low E coating will stop the Low E coating from working so you may want to consider an external film. In both these glass types, the wrong film could increase the risk of thermal stress.
WFAANZ President Ally Cronan comments, “When confronted with a Low E window, consult your film supplier to ensure the correct film is chosen. WFAANZ distributor members are often asked by tinters to conduct thermal stress checks, and it’s rare that a film solution cannot be found.”
The differential expansion and contraction of the hot and cold areas within a single pane of glass can create thermal stress which, if excessive, can cause breakage. Window film causing thermal breakage is rare, but can occur if the extra absorbed and reflected heat from the presence of film raises the temperature of the main part of the glass, while the edge under the frame remains cooler.
It’s important to remember damage at the edge of the glass, usually done when cutting, handling, transporting or installing the window, is a common contributing factor in the cases of thermal stress breakages. Other scenarios that increase the risks of thermal breakage:
- Thicker versions of tinted and possibly clear float glass
- Single panes of clear or tinted float glass larger than 4m2
- Low E, double glazed or laminated glass
- Partial application of film to a single pane of glass
- Existing damage to the frame
- Existing chips or cracks
- Wired, textured or patterned glass
- The building has a history of broken glass
- External heating and/or cooling factors – shading, orientation, vents, reflective surfaces, etc.
Low E glass versus film
There are solid arguments for Low E glass. When the right unit is installed in the right location, it’s impact on energy consumption is significant. Low E windows are better favoured by energy rating software, enabling architects and specifiers to meet energy requirements during the planning and certification stages. Also, when the inside surface of a double glazed unit has a Low E coating, it cannot be denied that coating has the ultimate protection from damage.
The case for Low E film is strong also.
According to Rawlinsons Construction Cost Guide 2019, the cost per square meter of double glazing (6mm clear float and 6mm clear toughened) is anywhere between $417 and $476, depending on the State/Territory. Add to that the Low E coating and the expense of removal of the old window and installation of the new, and the cost effectiveness of film becomes apparent.
Film installation is also quicker, and far more convenient than fitting new windows. Plus, there is a significant environmental impact where most glass and frames aren’t recycled so sent to landfill.
In terms of Low E films with WERS For Film ratings, an energy certificate can be issued after the film is installed, which will go towards the building’s energy rating.
Ally adds, “Over the years WFAANZ has heard countless stories from tinters whose clients have asked for film on their Low E windows as they weren’t performing as promised in terms of heat retention and rejection. In these cases, once the right film is applied, the client is thrilled with the instant improvement. These stories make a strong case for window film and high performance glass working together to deliver the ultimate results.”
Living in the Blue Mountains with temps down to -4 degrees some mornings, I’m looking for a film that’ll give me heat retention and privacy. Is there an energy efficiency rating so a comparison can be made? Are films available that give me privacy and heat retention? Is film fixed on the interior or exterior? Film longevity? Should I DIY or use an installer?
We’re confident a window film can help, so will address your questions one by one…
WERS For Film is a simple and accurate energy rating system that helps you select a film that best suits you and your home. If you hire a WERS For Film accredited installer to apply a rated film, you’re eligible for an energy certificate that can go towards your home’s energy rating. Here is a WERS For Film fact sheet (download) for more info. For the ratings tables of each film, follow this link and click on the WERS For Film energy rating tables – RESIDENTIAL box. Only use films with WERS ratings as you can be assured of their performance and compliance.
A Low E window film is your best option. The ‘E’ stands for ‘emissivity’, which relates to a material’s ability to emit radiant energy. So Low E window films emit less infrared electromagnetic energy than other materials, which results in less heat transmission through the glass in summer and winter. According to WFAANZ distributor members, Low E films can help retain as much as half the heat inside the room on cold days, and block as much as half the heat entering the room on hot days. Here is a Low E fact sheet (download) for more info.
There aren’t a lot of Low E films available that offer privacy (which means they are reflective), but they do exist. At the bottom of this page you will see the logos for the WFAANZ distributor members (suppliers of film). Email them for an indication of whether they provide a Low E film with privacy.
Window film is usually installed to the interior of the glass, which better protects the film from the elements (particularly helpful in the Blue Mountains), but there are exterior films available.
Modern films are made to last. Different films come with different warranties, which are issued by the distributor of the film. You’ll need to ask your WFAANZ installer or distributor member about the warranty covering your chosen film.
All film should be applied by a professional installer. It’s a precise job, and windows are expensive and important commodities, so you don’t want to risk it (no offense to your DIY skills!). Here’s a link to WFAANZ installer members, where you’ll find a directory of professional installers who abide by a strict code of ethics which requires compliance with all relevant regulations. They’re kept updated on industry best practice, and by virtue of their membership commit to upholding the standards of the industry. If you’re interested in getting an energy certificate once the job’s done you’ll need to use someone with a WERS For Film licence, so here’s a link to WERS For Film Accredited individuals.
I’m really keen to get window film, mostly to stop the heat and get rid of some of the glare at my place. I’m trying to pick a film but am a bit confused as some films talk about IR heat rejection and others use the phrase TSER. What’s the difference?
Energy (or light) from the sun is divided into three wavelength categories – ultraviolet, visible and infrared. All sunlight brings heat, so to properly calculate how much solar heat a window film can reduce, the sun’s whole spectrum must be considered.
Infrared from the sun brings about half the heat, the other half comes mainly in the visible light wavelengths and a small amount in UV.
A film’s infrared reduction tells only part of the story. A particular window film may have an infrared reduction of say 90%, but the actual net heat rejection may be only 50%.
The best indication of heat reduction through glazing, which is used in both the glazing and window film industries is the film’s Total Solar Energy Rejection (TSER). This is calculated across all the sun’s wavelengths and even includes the portion of heat that is absorbed by the glass and reradiated inwards. Any WFAANZ member promoting an infrared performance value must also declare the film’s TSER.
Is there an industry standard prescribing how much contaminate is acceptable, if at all, under the film?
Yes there is. WFAANZ uses an international standard set by the International Window Film Association, which is basically guidelines to be applied when inspecting a film application job, both flat glass and auto. WFAANZ has a copy of these guidelines for the exclusive use of our members.
Film on Instagram
WFAANZ has a new window film Instagram page. Be sure to follow us so you can keep abreast of all things film.
As is the case with all our social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram – it’s a quick, easy and instantaneous way you can get relevant content for your socials.
Got any pics?
Members are always asking me for quick and pain-free marketing ideas to promote their business. Here’s a good one that couldn’t be easier: simply email email@example.com images of jobs you’ve done.
We are constantly changing the new WFAANZ website by adding content, like updating the gallery with photos from our members. You’ll get a link back to your website, which will give your business free publicity while improving the SEO of your site.
The images should depict jobs you’ve done, either action shots of you installing the film or showing the finished product. We want cars, boats, cranes, houses, apartments, trucks, commercial sites, balustrades, doors, skylights, bathrooms, etc. – any job you’re proud of.
It doesn’t have to be taken by a professional photographer, images taken on a phone can be just as good. We will also post your shot on Facebook, Instagram, Houzz and Twitter – giving you maximum exposure for minimum effort.
Full or part time tinter needed in well-established business in Murray Bridge, South Australia. Experience in auto and flat glass essential. Pay to be negotiated. Hours from 8am to 5pm weekdays, and occasional Saturdays if able. Tools provided. Equal opportunity employer. For more information please contact Polly Gibbs, firstname.lastname@example.org or 08 8531 0277.
What’s in it for you?
If you’re not a WFAANZ member and would like to learn more about what’s involved, check out the 2019 membership document here.
The time to RENEW
WFAANZ members have by now received your 2019 – 2020 invoice. Remember, you can pay by credit card over the phone by calling Deb at the secretariat on 02 9498 2768. Once you renew your membership, we will issue your membership pack and current certificate.
If you’re not already a member of WFAANZ, the start of the financial year is the perfect time to join.