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What is solar film and how does it work?

Solar film is a self adhesive polyester laminate that gets applied to windows to reduce solar energy gain through a glazing system. Comprised of layers of dyed, metallized, ceramic, or sputtered laminates, the film filters out infared, ultraviolet, and visible light portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. This means lower heat gain, less glare, and 99% UV blockage when the sun hits your windows.

In the winter time, low E solar films help retain heat that’s already inside of your building, reducing the heat transfer from inside to outside through the glass.

Solar films come in a wide range of levels of darkness - from completely clear to dark black, and everything in between.

Window tint can also be used to create a 1-way mirror effect, so you can see out from inside, while others can’t see in from outside.

This 1-way mirror effect depends on the amount of light on each side of the glass. The “private” side, where you don’t want people to see into, must have less light than the “public” side of the glass. So the effect can vary from daytime to nighttime.  

Solar film blocks out 99% of the UV, helping to reduce fading.

Whether a dark tinted solar film, a neutral looking medium level tint, or a totally clear UV film, all solar films reject 99% of the damaging UV rays from the sun. UV is about 40% of the cause of fading. Heat and light contribute as well. By filtering these rays out, you can prolong the colour and life of items situated in front of glass windows, such as storefront merchandise, paintings, floors, rugs and more.

Solar films are also recommended protection by the Skin Cancer Foundation Society.

Not all window tint is dark.

When we think of window tint we tend to think of the dark windows at the back of a limousine. Not all tints are dark like this. Common residential solar films are neutral looking, allowing for a clear view out and in through the glass. UV films are clear, and won’t be noticeable at all once installed on a window.

Case Study

This medical building on College Street in downtown Toronto had an issue with intense heat buildup and uncomfortable glare in many doctor’s offices due to the large south and west facing windows. Some doctors were unable to properly view their computer monitors on sunny days.


Reflective mirror tint film was applied to all 4 sides of the building to reduce the heat gain, and ease the strain on the air conditioning system. The film reduced the harsh blinding glare from the sun, gave the building a clean uniform look, and increased daytime privacy to prevent people from seeing in from outside. The Sun Out crew even worked overnights so as not to interrupt the daily operations of the building.

Check out some pictures of solar films on our Toronto window film gallery page.