Is there a clear window film? This is an honest question. Afterall, consumers who are interested in having window film often wonder about clarity. It is a very common question customers have asked us over the last 40 years. First, let’s answer the question about clear window film and then we’ll discuss the options available.
What is Visible Light Transmission?
To fully understand this question, we first need to understand some basic principles of glass and how it’s performance is rated. One performance metric is that of Visible Light Transmission (VLT). Visible Light Transmission (VLT) – is simply the measurable amount of solar visible light (daylight) that travels through a glazing system. A glazing system with a high VLT allows most of the daylight to pass through. Conversely, a lower VLT window restricts the majority of light from entering a room or vehicle. It's interesting to note that clear glass, with no window film on it, has an approximate VLT of 83%.
Window films with high visible light transmissions are not as effective at reducing glare or increasing privacy. However, they do provide a more natural look to a glazing system. On the hand, films with a low VLT do a much better job at blocking unwanted sunlight from entering a window.
Visible transmittance is the percentage of visible light that will pass through a glass window. Additionally, visible transmittance values account for the eyes’ relative sensitivity to different wavelengths of light. Glass with a high visible transmittance appears relatively clear and provides sufficient daylight and unaltered views. However, it also tends to create glare. Glazing with low visible transmittance is best used in highly glare-sensitive conditions. Unfortunately, it can also create gloomy interiors under certain weather conditions and diminished views.
Additionally, most glass, unless special ordered, has a green hue or tint. This is due to the iron used in the glass. This is a result of the natural presence of iron oxide from elements such as sand, or from the cask or container in which the glass was actually melted.
Is there a truly clear window film?
To answer the original question, the short answer is no, there are no completely clear window films. To be completely fair, neither are windows without tinting applied. However, did you know that most standard single pane windows only transmit about 83% of visible light? The amount of light you can see is called visible sunlight transmission. Research shows that for the average person, 60 to 70 percent visible sunlight transmission is perceived as 100 percent. This has to do with visual acuity. What is visual acuity?
What is Visual Acuity?
Visual acuity describes the way that the human eye adjusts to visible light. Our eyes are pretty amazing. They have the ability to adjust to our surroundings and stabilize our vision, based on the amount of light in a room. What this all means is simple: as long as you can see between 60 to 70 percent of visible light, you’ll perceive a window as clear. That’s good news for window film.
What does clear really mean, with respect to window film? Clear window film is a film that does not have any visible “tint” as a result of color dyes or reflective metal particles. Clear films give you unobstructed views of the outside, without compromising the overall benefits of window film.
Think of an advertisement for a plumber offering 24-hour service. Does ‘24-hour service’ mean the plumber is willing to show up at your house to fix a clogged sink at 3 AM in the morning? Typically not! Likewise, a “clear” window film does not transmit 100 percent of the visible light that passes through a window.
There has been a great deal of advancement in the development and the design of window film. Window film manufacturers have discovered new ways to create films that give you an unparalleled level of clarity.
Window Film - The Clear Choice
Looking for window film that gives you optical clarity without compromising on the benefits? There are numerous options available. For example, the Prestige series by 3M is a non-reflective window film with outstanding clarity. It’s a non-reflective window film that allows a high transmission of natural light into your home or office. Its low reflectivity means that you can enjoy clear views from the inside. It also looks great from outside.
Besides creating an unobstructed view, window film also filters UV rays and can help you create a warm and inviting atmosphere. For over 40 years, ClimatePro has been helping San Francisco Bay Area residents and businesses find the best window tinting for their needs. Our skilled customer services team, estimators and installers are the best in the business. You can contact us today for a free consultation and we’ll help you get started. With offices in North Bay (including Santa Rosa), San Francisco, and San Jose, we can be reached at 707-755-7337.