FAQ

Q: How much does it cost to tint my vehicle?

A: The cost to tint a vehicle is based primarily on two factors: size of the vehicle and quality level of tint. Much older vehicles or those with extreme curvature to the glass may also affect price to a lesser degree. That being said, a two door car starts at $160 while a four door starts at $180. Tinting only the two front doors, for instance on an suv that is already factory tinted on the rear 3/4, starts at $70. These are regular prices, but there is generally something on sale, check the Specials page for sale items.

 

Q: How long will it take to tint my car?

A: Most newer coupes or mid-sized sedans usually take no more than an hour to an hour and a half. Honestly the best answer to this is: "it takes how long it takes to do it right". ) Some vehicles such as brand new cars, are reletively quick. Others, typically older vehicles, take longer, as there is a lot more cleaning and prep work involved. A set of doors will generally be done in around 20 minutes. Allow more time for larger sedans (such as a Crown Victoria), extreme curves (such as a Porsche 944) and suvs. Huper Optik nano-ceramic films also take a bit more time since they are harder to work with and costly to replace.

(Yes, it is possible to do a vehicle quicker, but it requires skipping steps, things such as masking off felt gaskets, properly shrinking doors to help remove problems related to stress on the adhesive, and actually razor-blading every square inch of glass to make sure stuck on dirt is removed. Every decent tinter can "blast" a car out in 45 minutes if he has too... But, doing it right... takes time, period. People in a hurry make mistakes, no matter who they are, or how good they claim to be. At Shademasters we take the time required to do it right the first time. "How long it takes" is a secondary thought. We have found that most customers don't mind this philosophy, or the extra 15 minutes to redo something that "lacks perfection" that others would "let go" if it's needed. It's all part of that "You get what you pay for" thing...)

 

Q: Do I need an appointment?

A: The short answer is no, you don't NEED an appointment. We do take walk-ins on a first come first served basis, however, having an appointment ensures that your vehicle will go in at a set time with no waiting, and obviously, appointments take precedence over walk-ins. Many people choose to drop the vehicle off and have us call when it's done. This is fine, and no appointment is needed this way, unless you need to have the car RIGHT back. A set of doors on an SUV or truck only takes a few minutes and really doesn't need to be scheduled.

 

Q: How long do I need to keep my windows up? And how long does the film take to dry?

A: You'll need to keep your windows up for at least 3 days after they are tinted. In those first few days the film is still wet and may peel or shift if the glass is handled. If you choose a basic or mid-grade tint, the water ripples and haziness should evaporate out in a week or two with good weather provided that the vehicle is allowed to sit in the sun. The metal and ceramic films are more dense and may take as long as 4-10 weeks to cure completely. There really isn't any way to speed the process up. It is simply a matter of sunlight and patience.

Unfortunately, we had a customer who asked for metallized film, and was explained the time to dry, which she was fine with at the time. But after a few weeks of not drying and us telling her to just be patient, it will dry... She left a scalding review on google maps (come to find out she was keeping the car in a "heated garage" instead of out in the sunlight the whole time). She called the manufacturer of the film the day after that review, who explaned the same thing we had told her. That morning she called and appologised for getting so upset the day before, which I thought was odd, until I found the review dated the day before. It has not been retracted (not sure she even knows it can be retracted). In the end the car dried, and looked perfect. For that matter I have a picture of it in the display frame on our counter being used as demo of work.

 

Q: What is the legal limit for car tinting in VA, and how dark is it?

A: The legal limit on the front doors of ANY vehicle in VA is 50%. The limit on the rear area (everything behind the driver's seat) of cars is 35%. There is no darkness limit on the rear area of trucks, vans, and suvs. Windshield tint is allowed 3 inches down from top center provided that there is no factory tint already there.

How dark this will look on any given vehicle, has much to do with the the vehicle in question. Interior color of the car plays a huge roll in how dark it will appear. For instance, if you tint 2 otherwise identical "Altima's", one with black inside, one with tan inside. Both Va. legal, The one with the black backdrop is always going to appear darker, where the tan one will appear much lighter. It's the same reason limosines will (almost) never have a tan interior, they will always be black, burgundy, deep blue, etc... Even with 5% "limo-tint", during the day you would be able to see inside if it was light colored. People looking for a "dark look" that have light colored interiors, might want to think about dark seat covers combined with the tint.

Another thing that plays a roll is the angle that the glass is looked at. Cars, that sit lower to the ground, and you typically look "down into" will always look darker than the front doors on an SUV that you typically look through at "eye level", due to whats behind the glass.

 

Q: Is there a difference in brands of tint?

A: Absolutely! A good tint shop will be proud to tell you up front what brand(s) they are using and what varieties they carry within the brand. Each brand has levels of quality within their line as well, so be sure to ask which one you're getting.

A little research goes a long way when deciding which film is right for you. There are a variety of forums and websites on the internet dedicated to the topic where you can get comparisons and recommendations. One such site is tintcenter.com, and the only 3 brands they considered worthy of comparison are Huper Optik, Llumar, and SolarGuard. We carry Huper Optik and Llumar. For a more detailed explanation of our various lines and their quality levels, please see our FILMS page.(Which will be up shortly... feel free to call for a full rundown of products or go to either llumar.com or huperoptikusa.com .)

 

Q: What about mobile tinting? Can you come to me?

A: Unfortunately, no. In order to ensure that your tint comes out clean, it is important that it is applied indoors. If your tint job is performed outside, you are likely to have unsightly dirt, debris, pollen, bugs, etc. trapped between the film and the glass. Beyond that, if you do have any issues with your tint, you know exactly where to find our shop for warranty work. Tracking down a mobile service for which you have only a phone number is likely to be much more difficult.

 

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