Shows a window without 80% solar screens and two with.

Window Film or Window Tint versus Solar Screens?

Which is better solar screens or window film or window tint?  Are solar screens better at providing shade than window film or window tint?

If you are wanting to know which is better, solar screens or window film or window tint. Let me tell you as a window shading expert, that there is a huge difference. A monster difference between solar screens and window film and window tint.

I have recently read some confusing, and to be frank, misleading arguments online about this subject. Where people that are not in the shade business, have written blogs. People that act like they are superior in knowledge about the subject of whom are introducing invalid arguments.

Get pricing for the film and then compare that to my Austin residential solar window screen pricing.  

Not only are my solar screens by far superior, but they cost considerably less.

A Solar Screen will provide and immense amount of shade for the window. From the outside verses what you would get from that of shading from the inside using window film or window tint.

Take a look at this picture which will help you understand how much sun is being blocked by a 90% solar screen.  All but one of these windows is being shaded by a 90% solar window screen.  Look at the floor to see what 0% shade versus 90% shade looks like.

90% Shade Provided by a 90% Solar Screen. Neither Window Film nor Window Tint could provide this kind of shade.
90% Shade Provided by a 90% Solar Screen.  Neither Window Film nor Window Tint could provide this kind of shade.

When you provide shade for your windows from the outside, the window gets shaded. Using a solar shade screen between the glass and the sun, you tell me, -what does common sense tell you is a better solution?  In conclusion, is it better to put a piece of film on the inside pane of your glass? Or altogether is it better to have a shading device outside of the glass to provide shade for that window?

More examples of what kind of shade to expect.

Window film can't shade your glass like this.
Window film installs inside your window. Solar screens install outside and shade your glass like this. Window sun screens provide 80% or 90% sun shade. Want to learn the difference between 80% and 90% solar shade fabrics?
Window film can not give your glass 90% shade
There is no shading device out there better than solar screens to shade your windows. Solar screens are the best way to shade your windows.

To keep a room cool, you need to accomplish two goals, keep the sun from entering the room. Which is what tint and solar screens accomplish. And to keep the window from becoming a giant source of heat. Which only solar screens accomplish.

What are the benefits of using solar screens? Will you get utility savings from using the solar screens?

I get calls all the time from home owners that have put window tint and window film on their windows only to then look for a shading device like solar screens for windows. I have had many customers over the years tell me, “well I didn’t know any better and I wanted to try window film, I didn’t realize there was such a difference”.

Can solar screens help lower your utility bills?  

Will solar screens make it cooler in your home?  

What are the benefits of solar screens?
Lower your utility bills, there is no better way.
Solar screens are the answer to lower utility bills and cooler interiors. Solar screens shade the windows from the outside.

The simple fact is window tint is a film that’s on the inside pane of your glass, so the sun’s rays shoot through your outside pane of glass and get stopped there on that inside pane of glass because that’s where the window tint is.  Now you have a hot heated up window with heat that will radiate into your home.  Not ideal when you are trying to cool off your rooms. A solar screen, which is a shading device sits outside the glass, between the glass and the sun, to provide shade for that window, so the window does not have a chance to get hot from the sun’s rays.

Is the view better from using window tint or solar window screens?

Sure the view is better looking through window tint, but it’s minimal. And you do not get near the effectiveness you get from the solar screens. You can see through the solar screens exceptionally well don’t be alarmed. Don’t let a window film sales person convince you otherwise.

Looking though solar screens made out of the 80% fabric. The two windows on the right have 80% solar screens. The left window does not have a solar screen. Look how clear (how well) you can see through this 80% fabric.
Look how well you can see through the 80% sun control fabric. What is the visibility like looking through solar screens?
80% versus 90% shade screen comparison
Looking through the 80% clear as day. The 90% is more grainy sure, but what you get is massive compared to that of window film. I make my screens out of 80% and 90% shade fabrics.

Watch this video for a clear explanation that explains my perception of the difference between solar screens and window tinting and film.

Video: What’s the difference between window film and solar window screens.

Will window tint void the window manufacturer’s warranty?

I’ve had people ask me if it is correct that window tint will void the window manufacturer’s warranty, and I can’t answer that, but if it did, I do know why.

With window tint on the glass, the glass can get considerably hot.  Because the rays of the sun would normally just pass through the clear glass, the glass will certainly get hot, but with that film on the inside pane of glass, it catches a lot more of the sun’s rays. It’s like more of the sun’s rays get stopped by the film, but then that film and that glass get very hot as a trade-off. Look through my solar screen pictures to get a feel.

Moreover, I have seen over the years my fair share of broken inside panes of glass from windows that got too hot from window film. I believe that this is why the window manufacturer does not want the window tint on the inside pane of the glass, because the glass can get so hot that it may crack.

Comparatively, you might ask, why is it that my glass on the windows of my car do not crack, and they have window tint on them? The answer is quite simple, your car has very thick tempered glass, an entirely different type of glass than the thin 1/8“-1/16″ inside pane piece of glass that makes up your double paned window glass.

Proper ways to shade your windows.

All things considered, the proper ways to shade your windows are.

  1. To build an awning to keep the sun’s rays from baking the glass.
  2. Put a shade tree up to shade the windows.
  3. Put up a shading device (solar screen) to provide shade for the windows.

Another massive selling point to solar screens is that they provide superior daytime privacy. Something window film can’t come close to doing. Something you can’t appreciate until you get them up. But something I hear as positive feedback constantly from my customers.

For my Commercial Building, what would be better solar screens or window tinting?

What if I am uniquely in a commercial building where I can not install solar screens and I have to use window tinting? Well, then it is what is, you will have to use window tinting or preferably my office shades. Window tinting will keep the sun’s rays from getting into your room. On balance, it’s just that window tinting will not keep the glass / window from getting hot. So, while interior shading devices are not superior to my Austin TX solar screens. I would get interior office shades that you can roll up and down. You can get 97% sunshade for the interior that way. And they come in different colors. Check out my office window shade pricing here. And at the same time see if you are within my Austin Texas office shade installation area.

I have heard that you can install window film and window tint on the outside of a window. To provide shade for the glass, -is this correct?

No way, don’t even think about it. I have lived here in Austin TX for 50 years (as of 2021). And I can tell you for certain that if you have a product that has the ability to break down in this Texas heat, it will. Window tint is NOT made for exterior use. Doing so will cause it to break down if it’s exposed to the sun.

In a word, a film exposed to the elements, and the harsh Texas Sun, will “deteriorate”. In summary, if installed on the outside, the film would start to deteriorate in no time.  Consequently, very fast. Especially for those West facing windows. You would then have a hard time getting that stuff off of your window.

I particularly see tint breaking down on the inside pane of the glass frequently. I couldn’t imagine it on the outside of the glass. Especially exposed to rain and extreme temperatures and all the exterior elements. 

Equally important to my writings here, learn from what others have to say by reading through my customer reviews.  There you will see MANY people saying how they tried window film. Sifting through those reviews is a great way to read from people that tried window tint first.  
Customer video review about solar screens and working with Josh Hobbs.

Don’t use plastic anything outside in Texas, it will break down.

This is exactly why we don’t use plastic for any of our solar window screen installations.

We don’t use plastic clips to hold the solar screens on. Nor do we use corner inserts made of plastic.  Plastic will break down from the harsh sun, and so would an externally installed window film or window tint. The materials I make my solar screens from will not break down.

Want to get a FREE sample kit of my solar screen fabrics?

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This topic  “What’s the difference between Window Tinting (Film) and Solar Screens” is discussed further on my Q&A Page if you’d like to take a look.  And, so much more is answered there regarding your solar window screen questions on my Q&A page.

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