Trying to block the view of the inside your home can be tricky because you don't want to eliminate natural lighting that would normally come in through the window. However, a light tint, if privacy is your motivation, won't do a heck of a lot. If you're a homeowner who is trying to modify how much people can see inside to your home, don't go for an all-or-none solution. Combine light tints, dark tints, and marbled glass to create a safe yet light-filled home.
When to Use Lightly Tinted Films
For upper windows that are not easy to look through from the outside, a lightly tinted film should be fine. Ensure windows from neighboring homes don't face the window in question, and also look out for trees. It sounds paranoid, but people can climb trees, and if you don't want to risk someone seeing inside, you have to ensure no one can climb up. Another type of window on which to use a light film would be a window surrounded closely by thick hedges where there's not a lot of natural light.
When to Use Dark Window Films
Any time you have a ground-floor window where there is bright light coming through but that people can see through when they walk past, you need a darker film. Many films are now made to let as much light as possible through, but you need the darker tint -- mirrored, if your homeowners association allows it -- to block the ability to see inside. Also use darker tints on any windows where there is the possibility of someone seeing inside, such as an upstairs window that faces a neighbor's house.
Note that darker films can still be see-through at night when you turn on the lights in the room. You must close the curtains or blinds before you turn on the lights if you don't want people seeing in.
When to Use Marbled Glass
Marbled glass isn't just for bathroom windows. It's appropriate for any window where you can't hang curtains or blinds in front for one reason or another. Turning on the light in the room at night will still allow people to see shapes and movement inside the room, but there will be little detail to tell those people what's really happening.
One thing to keep in mind with window tints is that they often do not mix well with dual-pane windows. The Florida Solar Energy Center says that the film makes the individual pane that it's resting on get very hot and expand, but the other pane doesn't expand as much. That can void your warranty if something happens to the windows. The center advises talking to your windows' manufacturer before adding film. If you'd like more information about when using window films might be best, contact a residential window tinting company.
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