Since the 1970′s the fashion for car window tinting has been steadily growing. Now in 2012, we have seen some massive advancements in the quality of both the level of installation quality being delivered from experienced installers and the longevity of the products that are currently used in the window film industry. Nowadays, the use of the film splicing technique is somewhat a thing of the past – something, that really only the old school installers turn to when they are faced with a vehicle that has such curved glass, that they are unable to perform a regular single piece rear window installation. Try and avoid the splicing technique when you are learning how to tint windows – it’s not something in this day and age that you should really even be considering.
What is splicing?
Splicing is a technique that was used up until recent times and is little practised today – only really by old school car window tinting ninjas or installers who are not well versed in the latest heat shrinking techniques such as the Lift and Pull method.
It takes a great amount of skill to carry out the perfect spliced rear window installation, and it involves the installer accurately cutting the window film along one of the rear defroster lines and seaming 2 pieces of window film together, so that the human eye will not see the join, when looking at the rear window of the vehicle from the outside. There may be more than one seam if needed, I know of one guy in California who was so good at this technique , he won a “Tint-Off Competition” with this method. Today this technique is perceived as being something of a “Hack technique” – and when faced with some serious heat shrinking, the installer chooses to do the window in a few pieces
What is a Tint-Off ?
This is a window tinting competition of all things, they are normally held every one or two years in different parts of the world and generally are made up of a few rounds of competitive window tinting. So what is involved? Typically the first round of competition would be based around the installer pitching his skill against other competitors and carrying out an installation on a door glass in a vehicle. The time allowed would be around 10 minutes to carry out the car window tinting and this would then be judged by a panel of expert judges.
The competition would proceed on through various rounds – their may be a round where you have to install film onto a quarter window in a car, a back glass or even a front windshield.
I have entered a few competitions myself and they can be pretty daunting – it seems like within Europe, the economic recession has taken it’s toll on these competitions and they are not as frequent as they once where.
What Will The judges Be Looking For?
The judges wil be looking closely over the newly applied installation and will be trying to find fault with the work, they will be looking to ensure that when the car window tinting was carried out, that the film has been made to the correct pattern, the installer must ensure that there are no gaps of light showing, this would happen if the pattern making process has not been carried out correctly and is either too short at the bottom or at the sides. A good pattern will extend below the rubber or felt edges of the window seals by around 5mm , sometimes less, but no gaps of light should be visible. You do not want too much excess window film extending into the rubbers at the sides of the glass, this causes problems and creases with the installation, if you try and hide too much film in this area, you can test with a small tool like a Lil chizler to see how much free space you have at the sides of the glass where it extends out of sight into the door frame and take this into consideration when making your pattern..
Prior to installing the film, the installer will prepare the film on the outside of the door glass and take into consideration the curvature of the glass and will push any slack film to the bottom edge and use a wet shrinking technique to tighten the window film to the contour of the glass, if this task is not completed then the film may “finger” from the bottom edge, this will mean the installer may have to fight with the film and apply some heat with a heat gun after he has installed the film. This is not best practice, what can happen when you heat the film on the inside of the glass is that ghosting marks can appear in the film, and many window tinters have burned the door panel trims trying to heat these “fingers” down . With a good preparation technique, you can pre-shrink the film properly and it should lay nice and flat against the glass, this reduces the chance of the film peeling and extends the life of the installation..
Some installers will use a single edged razor blade for cleaning the glass cleaning the glass prior to installing the film, this method does for sure give a very clean surface, but is does have it’s risks, and for older cars, sure it has it’s place, but on newer vehicles, that are not so dirty, I prefer to use a non-scratch scrub pad, my preference is also for a foam glass cleaner , Like I said – i am not a big fan of razor blading the glass as it can be easy to scratch if you are not careful – and you should minimise your risks when you are a young blood in this industry.
After your first clean, most car window tinting installers employ the use of a soft squeegee for cleaning the glass prior to installation, a black turbo squeegee is a popular choice amongst American installers, but in the UK and Europe, a small channel squeegee seems a popular choice. It is also advisable to flush down the edges of the window prior to installing the window film, I also always recommend the use of a good masking tape to tape of the felt window seals before you start the job. Use a good branded one like 3M as these tend to have better adhesion
Car Window Tinting Basics
Now this door glass is cleaned and ready for installation, the film must be positioned within close proximity to the target glass, some installers choose to use the vehicle door as the peel board, others use a piece of glass on the wall, find a method that suits your own style and run with it. For a clean installation, flush the glass down with clean water, this get rid of the majority of contaminants on the glass, but ensure your water is ultra clean..not from a dirty old tap…you would be surprised if you take some tap water and leave it to settle for a few days, it does have lots of contaminants in there – saying that, I suppose it depends where you are in the world, it cant be the same for everybody.
In our next blog post we will go a little deeper into methods and prepare you to become a ninja installer and share some information on our training course – The Window Tinting Worx.!!
To learn a little more about the car window tinting training we offer go visit our other pages