In the world of caravanning, not all questions come with clear-cut answers. The tint versus no-tint debate is surrounded by a considerable amount of ambiguity. Some caravan owners swear by the heat and glare reduction offered by tinted caravan windows, while others have some pretty solid points to make about tint films ruining your caravan’s windows. Though the correct approach will always be a personal choice for any caravan owner, we can try and simplify the issue into a clear set of considerations.
Why tint at all?
The first (and quite obvious) step is to understand why you would consider tinting your caravan’s windows at all. Well, like any other vehicle, the interior of a caravan can get significantly heated up over the course of a long day of driving in the hot Australian sun. Tinted windows will filter out some of this heat, keeping the interior of your caravan a few degrees cooler. Another important factor is the presence of various fabrics and delicate surface finishes inside your caravan (curtains, upholstery etc.). Extended exposure to UV rays can lead to premature fading of these fabrics, amounting to considerable maintenance and replacement costs in the long run.
Is Tinting Redundant?
The argument against tinting a caravan’s windows is just as real. In terms of usability, tinting a caravan’s windows isn’t quite the same as tinting your car windows. You might have to spend a considerable amount of time in your car, covering long stretches of road in extreme weather. However, you typically use your caravan when it’s safely parked and usually in a shaded area. As far as protecting your furniture, fabric and upholstery from UV rays is concerned, some rugged curtains can do the job just as well.
The issue of whether or not to tint your caravan’s windows is a matter of perspective. Some caravan owners will share your perspective, while others won’t. There are however, some technical concerns that may lend more direction to your final decision.
Glass vs. Plastic
Your caravan’s polyplastic windows don’t have the same properties as glass. Plastic expands and contracts with temperature variations to a much larger extent than glass. Tint film (the most common tinting solution) is designed for glass windows. When applied to plastic windows this might lead to an eventual mismatch. The tint film and the base plastic will react differently to heat, resulting in bubble formation between the two. Removing an existing tint film from an acrylic caravan window is quite the challenge and can leave your window surface badly scratched. Certain tinted cling films (popular for their DIY capabilities), have an adhesive layer that can permanently react with your caravan’s acrylic window, leaving it crazed or cracked. All in all, tint films and stickers aren’t the best idea as far as plastic-based windows are concerned.
The Privacy Tint
While most caravanning forums are rife with debates about the percentage of grey in tinted windows, one segment of the caravanning population prefers to either go for the privacy tint, or for no tint at all. Most caravan windows come with a light grey tint straight from the shop, and going any darker than that at a later date can often result in a legal violation. Privacy tints, however, represent the ultimate level in window tinting, rendering your caravan’s windows completely dark and allowing you to enjoy curtain-free scenic views (without the associated glare of course). If that is the kind of aesthetic you generally prefer, window tinting could be a good option for you.
Regardless of the type and extent of window tinting you go for, bear the above discussion in mind to avoid potential damage to your caravan’s windows (and the unwanted replacement costs they will entail). Also, make sure you only get your windows tinted by a reputed and authorised service. While you’re at it, check the permissible caravan window tinting limits in your location to avoid hefty fines and paperwork.
DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.