Window Tinting Cost and Pricing Guide
for Homes and Buildings 2020
How much does window tinting cost? While buying window tinting for your San Francisco Bay Area home or commercial building represents an important investment, finding relevant information about the cost of tinting can prove difficult. In fact, we here at ClimatePro receive more questions about costs than any other issue involving window tinting. As we firmly believe in educating our customers to help them make the most informed decision, we have detailed all factors relating to window tinting costs here, so that you can conduct due diligence, cost-benefit analysis.
At this juncture you’re probably thinking something along the lines of, now wait a minute, you’re just slapping a film on some windows—it’s not that complicated.
But think about how you go about purchasing a car. There are numerous options to consider when car shopping, such as vehicle color, size, options, and accessories. Each decision is based upon your needs, personal preferences, and the expected uses of the vehicle. Window tinting is similar in that there are a variety of options to consider, and your window tinting goals—whether privacy, sun protection, safety, environmental, decorative, or some variation thereof—along with your personal preferences, will ultimately play a role in the final price.
Not that window tinting typically represents as big of an investment as purchasing a vehicle, but it’s still an investment in your home or business that needs to meet your goals for years to come. So, in order to make sure you get the right window tinting to meet your needs and price point, you need to answer the following questions:
- What are your primary concerns and reasons for wanting window tinting? This determines what type of window film you need. Different films have different price points due to their raw materials and material construction.
- What is your time-frame for project completion? Typically, most customers contact us, get pricing, and schedule an install within 2-3 weeks. However, some customers request expedited service, which could cost more depending on your needs.
- How difficult are the windows to access? Are the windows high or do the skylights require special ladders and/or pose safety concerns?
- What is the site condition? This is especially important for commercial projects that may be under construction or have special working-hour requirements or restrictions.
- Do any of your windows already have some type of installed window tinting that would likely need to be removed? This may require some special pre-installation preparation work.
- Are any of your windows old, odd-shaped, or comprised of small French panels? These require special attention and additional time to complete the installation.
Related Article: Read our Window Tinting Buyers Guide
Table of Content
- Typical Cost of Window Tinting Projects
- Why Do you Want Your Windows Tinted?
- Are You Willing to Spend More Upfront to Get a Better Product?
- Different Types of Window Tinting and Their Price Range
- The Cost of Safety Window Film
- The Cost of Anti-Graffiti Window Film
- The Cost of Decorative Window Film
- The Benefits of Window Tinting
- How Long Does Window Tinting Last?
- Lifetime Warranties & Window Film
- The DIY Dilemma
- Take The Next Step for Free
OK, But What is the Cost of a Typical Window Tinting Project?
As already suggested, there are a multitude of factors that impact the pricing of a window tinting project, but for those seeking a basic, quick answer, here are a few ranges covering the potential cost of window tinting:
Home Window Tinting
A rough price range to budget for your home window tinting project spans from $750 to $5000 per project.
Commercial Window Tinting
Commercial projects represent a much greater variety in size and scope than residential jobs, which results in a much broader price range that can run from $750 to $25,000-plus per project.
Auto Window Tinting
Apologies if you are strictly seeking auto window tinting and have read down this far, but ClimatePro does not install auto window tinting.
Related Articles: Top 5 Car Window Tinting Companies in the Bay Area
As you can see the price range estimates for window tinting projects are broad. Going forward, know that the two primary factors affecting the price of your window tinting project are the type of window tint or film used and your timeline for project completion. Read on to learn about these and other factors that will dictate the cost of your project.
Why Do You Want Your Windows Tinted?
Window film and window tinting represent a very diverse product and service that can be used in many applications to provide a variety of solutions to window-related issues affecting homes and commercial buildings. In fact, a single-window film installation can sometimes solve several issues or concerns with just one application. Below are five primary reasons why customers choose to have their homes or buildings treated with window tint or film.
- Fade Prevention
- Glare Reduction
- Heat Reduction
- Safety or Security Concerns
- Privacy Concerns
Narrowing down exactly what you want window tinting to accomplish allows us to recommend the appropriate window film for your needs. The cost of window film can often depend on its purpose, material construction, and estimated lifespan.
Among the many types of window tints and films available are:
- Solar-Control—Filters UV Rays and reduces heat and glare.
- Light-Blocking—such as a black-out, white-out or frosted window film.
- Safety and Security—impede breakage and helps prevent glass from shattering.
- Night Vision—enhances interior views of the outside.
- Privacy—provides a one-way obstruction of vision.
- Decorative—which come in stock designs or can be custom printed.
- Graffiti Protection—which can be used on glass, metal surfaces and countertops.
Are You Willing to Spend More Upfront to Get a Better Product?
We’ve all heard the saying, “You get what you pay for,” and this certainly applies to the cost of window tinting. You can pay more or less depending on what kind of warranty, service, and life expectancy you desire for your project. With this in mind, ponder on these additional questions:
How long do you need the window film to last? This could be important depending on if you own your home or building. If you rent or lease, how long do you expect to be there to benefit from the window tinting?
Is appearance important? In order to accomplish a reduction in heat, if that is one of your primary goals, you can either choose a reflective window film or spectrally selective window film that has a little reflection. Choosing one or the other can affect the appearance of your windows, as well as the cost.
Do you want a product that has a proven track record? Would you prefer a genuine iPhone from Apple or a counterfeit version? You can find trusted, brand names of window film producers, such as 3M, as well as lesser known brand names, and yes, even counterfeits. Whatever the case, make sure your window film material and installation come with a warranty. Most window film installations come with a lifetime warranty for homeowners and a five- to 15-year warranty for commercial buildings. You should want the manufacturer, as well as the installer of your window tint, to stand behind their product and service.
Different Types of Window Tint and Their Price Ranges
Many customers mistakenly believe that there is only “one” kind of available window-tinting product. This simply isn’t true. That is why it’s so important to first understand your needs and application, so we can recommend the best window film solution out there. We have put together a few of the more common window tinting projects offered by ClimatePro to provide you with approximate price ranges for the various types of film or tint.
Window tinting pricing is typically provided by the square foot, which we have done here. The pricing is all-inclusive covering materials, labor, and equipment. In general, no permits are required for window tinting projects, but the state of California does require the hiring of a licensed contractor to avoid any fines.
How Much Does Heat, Glare, and Fade Reducing Window Tinting Cost?
This is one of the most variable types of window tinting and the most popular for customers. There are many options to choose from in color, darkness level, and reflective level. (reflective, non-reflective or spectrally selective). Price ranges for economy, intermediate and premium heat/glare/fade reducing window film projects:
Economy - $8 to $10 per square foot.
Intermediate - $11 to $14 per square foot.
Premium - $15-plus per square foot.
What affects the pricing of heat and glare-reducing window tinting?
- Time-frame of the project
- Project scope and size
- Working conditions
- Using standard reflective window films vs spectrally selective
- Market conditions and location
Related Article: Heat, Glare, and Fade-Reduction Window Film—How Much Does It Cost?
How Much Does Safety Window Film Cost?
Safety window film comes in several versions based on the strength and impact resistance of the product. Safety window films come in various thicknesses, with increasing thickness typically indicating stronger protection. Price ranges for economy, intermediate and premium safety window film projects:
Economy - $8 to $10 per square foot.
Intermediate - $11 to $12 per square foot.
Premium - $13-plus per square foot.
What affects the pricing of safety window films?
- The thickness of the safety film requested—thicker materials costs more
- Using a mechanical or wet-glaze anchoring system
- Market conditions and location
How Much Does Anti-Graffiti Window Film Cost?
Anti-Graffiti window film comes with a variety of options. Its pricing is significantly impacted by the size of the job and timeframe. We’ve provided one broad price range for this material:
Anti-Graffiti Window Film Pricing - $6 to $10 per square foot
What affects the pricing:
- Removal of old anti-graffiti window film
- Condition of the old material to remove
- Market conditions or location
How Much Does Decorative Window Film Cost?
Decorative window films are one of the most dynamic product categories. There are literally thousands of different patterns and designs available, not to mention custom film that can be tailor made to fit any design or branding requirements. The pricing for this is very broad, with less expensive options used for premade or out-of-the-box designs, and more expensive options for custom projects. We’ve provided one broad price range for this material:
Decorative Window Film Pricing - $8 to $70 per square foot
What affects the pricing:
- Design requirements and complexity
- Production requirements and time
- Material selection
Window tints come in several different varieties, from decorative to functional. Each one has a different associated cost as well as benefits to consider. Below is a table to review all the various window film types.
|Tint Type||Description||Cost Installed||What affects the pricing:|
|Privacy Film||Privacy film
Creates “etched” or “frosted” appearance
Does not block light
|$8 - $70|
Increase the strength of glass
|$8 - $13 plus|
|Solar Film||Blocks sun’s heat
Blocks UV rays
Often contains metals/considered a metalized film
|$8 - $15 plus|
|Insulating Film||Often called a "Low-E" film
Can prevent air transfer through the glass
Improves energy bills in older windows
Contains metals/considered a metalized film
|$19 - $25 plus|
|Spectrally selective||Filters out heat and UV rays
Does not tint or darken the glass
May Contain some silver, gold, and indium oxide
|$11 - $15 plus|
|Anti - Graffiti||Anti-Graffiti window film comes with a variety of options.
Its pricing is significantly impacted by the size of the job and timeframe.
What are the benefits of window tinting?
Now that you’ve got a better understanding of window tinting costs and what drives the price differentiation, what are the actual benefits of window tinting?
Glare inside the house is caused by sunlight coming in through your windows. During daylight, this glare will affect your ability to see digital screens, such as on televisions, cell phones, and computer monitors. Having window tinting applied is like getting a big pair of sunglasses for each of your windows, eliminating the need to close curtains during the day. You can pick the level of glare reduction according to the shading of the film.
Reduce Sun Damage
Window tinting acts as an invisible barrier protecting your interior furnishings from prolonged sun exposure. Even if your building’s interior is not in direct sunlight, UV rays can bounce off other buildings, the ground, or various other objects and then can penetrate glass to enter your home. UV protective tinting can eliminate up to 99.9% of UV rays that come in through your windows.
Reduce A/C Usage and Save Energy
Save money on your electric bill by reducing up to 79% of the heat that comes in through your windows, easing the workload of your AC or fans. Homes today come with larger windows and more of them. Window tinting will help make an immediate impact on your utility bill by reducing the temperature inside the home.
Add Privacy and Increase Your Safety
If you want to leave your curtains or blinds open during the day, but prefer that neighbors not be able to see in, you can install a privacy window film that will reduce or altogether eliminate their ability to see in. However, this will only work during the daytime, not at night. If you want both nighttime and daytime privacy you will need to use one of our frosted window films, which allows light to come in through the window but distorts the view. In addition to making your home more private, it also works to make you less vulnerable because no one can see who is in the house or what particular valuables might be in a specific room.
How Long Does Window Tinting Last?
Now, let’s talk about the life expectancy of window tinting. Just how long will it last and what kind of warranty can you get with it?
Most applications come with a lifetime warranty for homeowners. The warranty protects you from fading, bubbling, peeling, delaminating, cracking or changing color. In addition, you're protected by a five-year thermal stress warranty for your windows. There are some limitations though, such as the warranty being non-transferable if you sell your home.
For commercial installation, most applications will come with some kind of warranty unless otherwise stated. The typical warranty coverage will be from five to 15 years depending on the circumstances. The warranty covers the material from fading, bubbling, peeling, delaminating, cracking or changing color.
How Can Lifetime Warranties Be Offered?
Window tinting is a very dimensionally stable product and it can last for many years without problems or distortion. The greatest impact on the longevity of window tinting material is the amount of sun exposure it receives, as some windows get more sun exposure than others.
If you apply a window tint to a window that gets sun exposure for most of the day, you can expect the material to break down quicker. In short, the sun breaks down everything over time, including window tinting. When this eventually happens you can start to see bubbling and distortion in the material. Occasionally, visible failure occurs in the hard-coat, the part of the film on the inside.
This explains why it’s important to purchase a good quality window tint manufactured by a reputable manufacturer, and installed by an experienced professional, such as the Bay Area’s ClimatePro. That way, if you live in your home long enough to have any issue with your window tinting, you can put a claim in and have the product replaced under the warranty, assuming there are no other issues.
What If I Want to Do it Myself?
If you’re a DIYer, you might be wondering why you don’t just install the window tinting yourself. And you certainly can! However, just know that it presents technical and manual difficulties. In fact, you should probably dedicate some serious time watching educational videos and reading step-by-step installation instructions. Once you feel educated and brave enough to make the tinting attempt, you can get the materials from many outlets online and perhaps save yourself some considerable dollars in material and labor costs. Just know that if you choose this route there will be no warranty on the materials or your windows once applied.
Related Article: Top 5 Window Tinting Mistakes and Considerations
Ready to Take the Next Step?
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what to expect (and budget) for your window tinting project but if you still have questions about window tinting, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page, and other relevant information that can be found in our Resource Center.
If you feel like you are ready to take the next step and want to start looking at some window tinting solutions, you can fill out this form for a 100% free window tinting consultation.
Editor’s note: Last revised November 5, 2020.