Window Tinting Buyer’s Guide for
the San Francisco Bay Area

Buying window tinting can be a complicated, confusing, and frustrating experience—but it doesn't have to be. People often find that figuring out which window tinting to purchase for their home or business can prove to be a confusing and frustrating experience. San Francisco Bay Area residents and businesses can choose from among at least 100 window tinting providers and installers, all of which offer dozens of different window tinting products. Depending upon the company, you may or may not be given detailed information about specific window tints or the reasons behind different window tint price points. Lack of such details typically prevents a potential buyer from being able to adequately compare and contrast the various window tinting options being offered. It can also prevent a customer from making the most informed decision.

This means that many Bay Area homeowners and business owners end up making a window tinting purchasing decision despite feeling like they don’t fully understand what they’ve purchased. Along with causing lingering feelings of confusion and frustration, it can also make customers feel like they have been taken advantage of, especially when the end result fails to turn out as promised.

Successfully purchasing the right window tinting can prove difficult because it’s often hard to find the product information you need, upfront, before being nudged into a sale at the window tinting company showroom, or by pushy sales calls at your home or business.

At ClimatePro, a premier San Francisco Bay Area window tint installer, we want to fix that. With 40 years of experience and a stellar record of delivering superior window film solutions to our Bay Area customers, we know everything there is to know about window tinting. And we’ve taken that knowledge to create what we believe is the ultimate Window Tinting Buyer’s Guide. In this guide, we answer the questions asked most frequently about purchasing window tinting so that you can conduct the detailed research you need to feel comfortable about your purchase.

If you would prefer not to read our guide, one of our friendly ClimatePro team members would be glad to meet with you in person to share with you everything you need to know about buying window tinting. For a direct, in-person consultation on window tinting buying, reach out to us here, or by calling 707-755-7337

What You Should Look for When Buying Window Tinting

Depending upon your situation and specific window tinting needs, there are a variety of factors to consider when narrowing down your product options. We feel that these factors can best be understood by addressing them under these distinct categories:

  • Purpose
  • Aesthetics
  • Longevity
  • Warranty
  • Brand Reputation

Purpose

Window tinting, or window film, as it is also known, is a multifunctional product that can address a variety of issues, and, in many cases, resolve multiple problems with one application. ClimatePro’s SF Bay Area customers choose to have their homes or commercial buildings treated with window tint or film for the following six reasons, whether stand-alone or in some form of conjunction:

  • Fade Prevention
  • Glare Reduction
  • Heat Reduction
  • Safety or Security Concerns
  • Privacy Concerns
  • Decorative Reasons

Narrowing down exactly what you want your window tinting to accomplish allows us to recommend the perfect window film for meeting your needs. Every distinct window film product’s costs are dependent upon purpose, material composition, production methodology, and lifespan.

Aesthetics

The aesthetic look of your home or business windows, along with the views they provide in our beautiful San Francisco Bay area, is often considered of prime importance by our customers. We all love windows and the unique light they bring into the indoor spaces we spend so much time in, whether at home or at work. Studies consistently conclude that well-lit, naturally illuminated living and working environments have a positive effect on people. Thus, you should want to invest in a window tinting solution that preserves or enhances the views and natural lighting, while delivering the desired tinting solution outcomes.

Longevity

Some window tinting manufacturers construct their products with cheaper base materials, use substandard production methods, and/or lack stringent quality control protocols, all of which can result in questionable end products. When you consider that for most window tinting applications the window film product will be exposed to direct daily sunlight day-after-day, and, in some cases, to other outdoor elements as well, you want your finished product to be manufactured with the best materials, finest production methods, and under stringent quality control. While one window film may typically look like any other of the same hue, based on material components, production methods, and quality control, some are prone to relatively quick structural breakdowns, resulting in window tinting failure, which often proves costly to rectify.

Warranty

Because window tinting usually represents a substantial investment in your home or commercial space, you want to be sure that your window film is backed by a dependable, long-running warranty. This not only ensures that your investment will be protected for many years to come, but also serves as evidence that your window tinting company believes that your chosen window tinting option is going to provide its claimed benefits trouble free, 24/7, for at least as long as the warranty, if not longer. After all, it’s not like your window tinting company wants to come back and redo a window tinting job for free.

When considering window tinting product warranties, double-check that any warranty claims that might arise will be addressed swiftly. You can learn more about window tinting warranties on our warranties page and on our recent warranties blog post. The most common warranty programs offered with window tinting are:

Residential - Lifetime Warranty Commercial - Five to 15 Years

Brand Reputation

When choosing window tinting seek out options from a manufacturer that has earned a reputation for being a leader in the industry. The reason behind this is simple: choosing a leading manufacturer helps ensure that you will have a trouble-free experience and provides confidence that any warranty issues will be efficiently and quickly addressed to your satisfaction.
While some of the technologies and base materials may be the same among manufacturers, it does not mean that all products are created equal, nor does it mean their longevity and service will be equal.

The Window Tinting Buying Process

The window tinting buying process can be divided down into six key stages: 

  • Product Selection
  • Estimating
  • Quote Presented 
  • Customer Sign-Off 
  • Order Processing and Production
  • Installation 

Each of these stages is broken down for you below, along with simple time-frames, to help you better understand the process, and estimate how long the process might take to reach completion.

  • Product Selection - One day to several weeks (highly variable, with the time-frame dependent in large part upon the customer)

The first step when purchasing window tinting is to determine which window tint or film is right for your needs and application. For most window tinting projects this process can be simple and be done quickly. For large, complex projects that may require numerous on-site meetings to fully assess all details and specifications, this step could take several weeks. As the customer, you have a high degree of influence over how long this step may take.

  • Estimating - One to two days

In general, we need to understand the scope of the project, window access points, specific window sizes, types and condition, and gain a general idea of working conditions. This can be accomplished in different ways. A ClimpatePro technician can visit your home or business for an on-site review, or you can send us pertinent information and work with someone from our team via phone, email, and/or text messages (your choice). If you choose the latter, we will need to ask lots of questions, request photos or videos, and need you to conduct many measurements for us.

You can also use our product selector tool and get an instant estimate here. <link>

  • Quote Presented - One to two days

We strive to work quickly to get you a quote for the scope of work. In general, we try to get a quote to you no later than 48 hours after an on-site visit or full consultation on your project’s scope of work. However, it may take longer depending on project type.

  • Customer Sign-Off on Estimate - Variable ( dependent on customer)

Once you receive our quote for your window tinting project, the ball is in your court, and we await your decision on moving forward with the job. We may call or email you to follow up on our estimate to see if you have any questions or concerns during this process, but, unlike many other companies, we never resort to high pressure sales tactics.

  • Order Processing and Production - One to 10 days (depending on project scope)

If you choose to move forward with the project ( Yay!), our team will begin processing your order. This includes verifying material amounts needed, ordering them if necessary, scheduling your installation, and starting production, if necessary. Some complex projects require pre-on-site production work before we can start the installation. This can include pre-cutting or otherwise processing the materials needed for your project. Our team works diligently behind the scenes to make this part of the job as seamless as possible.

  • Installation

Everything comes together for the installation. Most projects are completed within a day with little disruption to your home life or business operations. If your project is larger, and requires several days or weeks to complete, our team will work with you to time this according to your needs and schedule.

Window Tinting Costs

We have written a comprehensive article on window tinting cots here, which we try to keep updated regularly. The article is designed to show you why window tinting pricing can be so highly variable, depending upon your needs and application, and further helps guide your decision-making in choosing the right window tinting.

DIY or Hire a Pro?

Unless you are willing to dedicate some serious time to watching videos and reading step-by-step installation instructions, it is probably best to leave this to the professionals. The issues in installation work that usually trip people up are:

  • Cutting the film to precisely the right size
  • Cutting in a straight line
  • Cutting in an arch (for arched windows)
  • Removing the film backing without creasing the film
  • Not leaving any fingerprints on the film
  • Successfully applying the film without any air bubbles
  • Accounting for bigger windows or tall glass doors—it is safe to say that successfully installing window tinting on these without the assistance of at least one other person is next to impossible.

Selecting Your Window Tinting Professional

When narrowing down your list of installers, seek out installers who have as many of the following qualifications as possible:

  • Have been certified or otherwise honored by window film producers*
  • Needs to have a California contractor license or other licenses depending on area.**
  • Are A+ rated members of the Better Business Bureau
  • Have been in business for many years
  • Offer a warranty on product and labor
  • Are insured and bonded
  • Are rated highly on websites like Yelp, Google and other review services

We strongly encourage you to conduct a thorough review of window film products and/or window tinting companies before signing or agreeing to any contract or proposal.

*ClimatePro has been certified by 3M™ as one of their elite 3M™ Platinum” window film dealers. This means that a window tinting project from ClimatePro comes with the highest quality window film, superior application, and exceptional customer service. 

** Search the California Contractor database to verify if the service provider is licensed here.