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Old 10-16-2010, 05:21 PM
 
838 posts, read 2,084,205 times
Reputation: 607
Default Solar Screens vs. Tinted Windows: personal conclusions

I have spent time comparing the two options and here is the conclusions I have made so far:

Solar screens

Pros:
- Inexpensive (40-80 dollars a screen or less)
- Efficient for high sun trajectory (i.e. on summer)
- Can be a do-it-yourself project
- Simple to install and remove

Cons:
- looks tacky (if not say ugly) from the outside, the (white) frame often stands out and makes the house look less attaractive
- distorts the outside view, sometimes makes it hard to see outside
- can be torn by the storm/hurricane
- Less efficient for low sun trajectory (i.e. during winter)

Film tint
Pros:
- Good solar rejection tool (TSER as high as 80). Efficient for any sun trajectory (summer, winter, etc.)
- Looks great and practically invisible from the outside
- most quality tints do not fade or turn blue (only rare cases and after 10-15 years)
- they do not distort the view
- they are installed from the inside, and they easily survive any storm hurricane. Additionally films and their adhesive actually make a window stronger and more shatter-proof. (say, 2 times better than the regular single-pane). They are however not as shatter-proof as hurricane windows.

Cons:
- Expensive (100-200 dollars a window, normally $5-12 a sq.ft. depending on a brand. I.e. Huper Optics Ceramic with 85 TSER would be as high as $12-14 per sq.ft. and Suntek would be as low as $4 per sq.ft.)
- can be reflective (like a mirror)
- Most quality films (and not cheap-os sold at the Homedepot) are not sold to individuals, only to distributors or certified installers. Suntek is one only exception I am aware of.
- Quality tint requires lots of experience, and hence can NOT be a do-it-yourself project
- Difficult to install and remove

Conclusions: IMO solar screens are a "poor man's friend". If you less than 1,000 dollars in your pocket, solar screens is a cheaper solution. If however a look of your house is more important and you have the $1.500 - 2,000 budget, go for the tint. It may last longer and will look much better on windows.

Here is an image with a tint and a screen. IMO the tint looks more natural.
http://www.jladvenco.com/before_and_after.jpg (broken link)



In any case, if anyone of you is thinking to install it, now is a good time. And here is why:
- there is a 30% material (and not for labor) tax rebate till the end of 2010 for tints (not sure about solar screens)
- both, screen and tint installers have much less business in Fall-Winter period. Hence, they are willing to give you much better deals.

It's not an advertisement. Just my 0.02. I can give anyone more info on tints, since I have studied them quite a bit.

Last edited by behtypa; 10-16-2010 at 05:38 PM..
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Old 10-16-2010, 07:30 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
6,356 posts, read 9,170,303 times
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i sort of prefer the look of the solars from the exterior.
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Old 10-16-2010, 08:14 PM
 
611 posts, read 1,112,797 times
Reputation: 371
I've had solar screens on my condo, and now i have solar film on my house.

Hands down solar film wins.

Here's an incorrect statement that solar films qualify for tax rebate. The rebate is only for film that meets certain qualifications. The only ones that qualify are ones usually used on commercial buildings and highly reflective (mirror look). Most home owners dont want this.
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Old 10-16-2010, 08:24 PM
 
Location: Cinco Dinero
694 posts, read 1,175,057 times
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I don't have either, but I like the look of solar films better... (maybe because they look like "natural" windows)
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:00 PM
Status: "Its Football time!!!" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Houston, TX
15,376 posts, read 14,852,485 times
Reputation: 13637
I have both as I have some large windows. Had them done by a company called Solar-x, and have been happy.
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Old 10-18-2010, 08:37 AM
 
838 posts, read 2,084,205 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oildog View Post
I have both as I have some large windows. Had them done by a company called Solar-x, and have been happy.
Do you have both on the same window(s)? If you do, what was the reason you have chosen to install both? Did it make a big difference compared to a single option (tint or screen)?
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Old 10-18-2010, 08:38 AM
 
838 posts, read 2,084,205 times
Reputation: 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by predatorprey View Post
Here's an incorrect statement that solar films qualify for tax rebate. The rebate is only for film that meets certain qualifications. The only ones that qualify are ones usually used on commercial buildings and highly reflective (mirror look). Most home owners dont want this.

That's right. AFAIK, only double-pane windows with certain properties meet the 30% rebate. Not yet sure about the film properties though.
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Old 10-18-2010, 10:41 AM
Status: "Its Football time!!!" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Houston, TX
15,376 posts, read 14,852,485 times
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Yes, same windows. I wanted the shades so I would have something to roll up/down as I needed. The tint (i think) helps reduce the UV rays that come in and possibly damage my wood floors.
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Old 10-18-2010, 11:41 AM
 
Location: 77059
7,697 posts, read 17,678,111 times
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Solar screens can be had with different color frames to complement or match the house. For under $1,000 parts and labor, that'd likely be on smaller windows, smaller house and/or with cheaper material. They definitely have the potential to be ugly for a DIY job that went bad, with cheap material flapping in the breeze. But done properly, IMO they give a good contrast. And good material does not distort the view outside. As far as low-sun trajectory in the winter, I'd think you'd want to keep the heat inside the house. It's said the screens act as somewhat of an insulator, trapping the heat inside. I suppose I'll see for myself this winter. I doubt it does much in this climate.
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Old 10-18-2010, 12:30 PM
 
4,151 posts, read 5,566,931 times
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I did all my windows in my old house with the tint and it was really cheap. Maybe 200 bucks tops (13 windows ranging from 2x3 to 8x10) and it's pretty easy to do. It had a mirror to it and worked great. You don't need the high dollar stuff.
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