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Visual Light Transmission on Windows Tinting in Los Angeles: Everything You Need to Know
Window tinting is a popular solution for reducing glare, heat, and UV radiation in buildings and vehicles. In Los Angeles, where the sun shines almost all year round, tinting is not only a matter of comfort but also of safety and energy efficiency. However, choosing the right tinting level and type can be confusing, especially when it comes to Visual Light Transmission (VLT). In this article, we will explain what VLT is, how it affects tinting, and what the regulations are in Los Angeles.
What is Visual Light Transmission (VLT)?
Visual Light Transmission (VLT) is a measure of the amount of visible light that can pass through a window or other transparent material. It is expressed as a percentage, ranging from 0% (completely opaque) to 100% (fully transparent). The higher the VLT, the more light can pass through, and the brighter the interior will be. Conversely, the lower the VLT, the less light can pass through, and the darker the interior will be.
VLT is affected by several factors, including the color, thickness, and composition of the window film or glass, as well as the angle of incidence and the orientation of the window. Therefore, two windows with the same VLT rating may look different depending on their other characteristics.
How does VLT affect window tinting?
Window tinting is a process of applying a film or coating on a window surface to reduce the amount of solar energy that can pass through. Tinting can provide several benefits, such as:
Reducing glare: Tinted windows can reduce the amount of visible light that enters the interior, making it more comfortable and less distracting.
Blocking heat: Tinted windows can block a significant portion of solar heat that would otherwise enter the interior, reducing the need for air conditioning and improving energy efficiency.
Protecting against UV radiation: Tinted windows can block up to 99% of harmful UV radiation that can cause skin damage, fading of furniture, and other problems.
The degree of tinting depends on the VLT rating of the film or glass used. In general, the lower the VLT, the higher the level of tinting. However, it is important to note that different types of tinting can have different VLT ratings for the same level of tinting. For example, a metallic or ceramic tint may have a lower VLT than a dyed tint of the same darkness level.
What are the regulations on window tinting in Los Angeles?
The regulations on window tinting in Los Angeles are set by the California Vehicle Code (CVC) and the California Code of Regulations (CCR). These regulations apply to vehicles but also to buildings, depending on their use and location. Here are the main rules to keep in mind:
Windshield: The windshield may not be tinted except for a strip at the top that does not extend lower than the AS-1 line, which is about 4 inches from the top of the windshield. The tinting material must have a VLT of at least 70%.
Front side windows: The front side windows, which are the windows next to the driver and front passenger seats, must allow at least 70% of VLT. This means that they may be tinted but not too dark.
Rear side windows: The rear side windows, which are the windows behind the driver and front passenger seats, may be tinted as long as they allow at least 70% of VLT.
Back window: The back window, which is the window behind the rear seat, may be tinted but must allow at least 70% of VLT, or any darkness.