Learn how to to tint your own garage door windows to help with energy efficiency and prevent theft without spending thousands by hiring a tinting company.
I have been working on my garage cleanup and makeover for three weeks now, and every day I’ve gotten a little bit closer to the finish line. Yesterday I finally got around to tinting the garage door windows, and yes, I did it myself! I had gotten a quote from a company that was four figures, and I knew I could save by DIYing it.
We really needed our windows tinted because the sun just blasts into our garage and makes it feel hot even though it’s semi air conditioned. Plus, you can see right in at night when the lights are on, and all my tools were on display for Swiper to go swiping. If you’ve been considering tinting your own garage door windows, here’s exactly how I did it as a complete beginner.
Supplies You Need
- This Window Tint Film (I used two different sizes)
- Plastic Scraper
- Craft Knife
- Spray Bottle (filled with warm water)
Before you can tint your windows, you need to make sure they’re extra clean and free of any kind of residue, dirt, dust, or even fuzz from a cloth. Using a non-shedding cloth like a microfiber cloth or automotive rag, clean the window with 100% alcohol. It dries quickly and leaves no residue.
It’s also a good idea to remove any window trim that might be in your way if you’re able. I took the trim off my garage entry door, but didn’t take it off all the individual window panes on the garage doors. That would’ve taken way too long and didn’t seem necessary.
I went ahead and cleaned the entire garage door while I was at it. I used this battery-operated power scrubber dunked in a bucket of warm water and vinegar.
How To Tint Your Own Garage Door Windows
Let’s start from the top…opening up your window tint. (I used this type of window tint from Amazon) Carefully remove the outer film from the roll and the tape holding it together. Make sure your nails don’t scrape on it too much. Actually, it’s a good idea to trim your nails before you get started, but make sure you still have enough length to separate the film from its adhesive backing.
Hold up the roll to the window (from the inside of the garage) to figure out how much film you need. Add an extra quarter-inch to all sides to allow for error and unevenness, then cut your piece off the roll. Once it’s cut to size, peel the clear adhesive backing away from the film. You’ll have one sticky side and one smooth side.
Spray the sticky side all over with the warm water, then spray the window with water as well. When you hold the film up to the window, it will gravitate to it like a window cling. The water allows you to reposition it if needed.
Once the film is covering all edges of the window, carefully smooth it out with the plastic scraper. I found that the best method is to start from the equator of the window and smooth half upward and half downward. When I tried to smooth the scraper from the top all the way to the bottom it pulled and wrinkled the film.
Once the film is smooth and there are no bubbles, you can use the craft knife to cut off the excess film around the window edges. I used my plastic scraper to help keep the knife steady and moving in a straight line.
Give the film one final smooth-over with the plastic scraper, then let your tinted windows hang out for 24 hours. After that time has passed, you can clean the fingerprints off the window with a gentle glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth.
How The DIY Window Tint Is Holding Up
I just installed the window tint yesterday so I can’t speak to the durability just yet, but I will say that it hasn’t bubbled any yet. We had a big rain storm this morning which changed the humidity a lot, and the windows look exactly the same as they did when I did them. I’ll follow back up in a few months with more info on how they’re looking.
The tint film I chose is reflective, so this is what it looks like during the daytime. It’s almost like a dark mirror, or standing in front of a TV screen when it’s turned off. This reflective aspect is what keeps the heat out of the garage and deters theft. You can see inside the window if you smush your face all the way onto it, but our alarm system would notify us way before someone were able to faceplant the glass.
Here’s where the biggest difference comes into play—at night. The photo on the left is the entry door window that is tinted. The lights are on inside the garage and the photo was taken around 10pm. You can barely see inside. The photo on the right is the side window which is not tinted, taken at the exact same time as the one on the left. Major difference!
I don’t plan on tinting the side windows, but I am going to install mini blinds. The tint is pretty dark and it makes the garage feel like it’s about to storm outside even if it’s sunny. If I tinted the side windows it would feel like nighttime all the time in there, so I’m going to leave them to allow some natural light in during the day when I’m doing woodworking projects. At night I can close the blinds to block the view.
Watch The Entire Garage Cleanup Project
I’ve been documenting the entire garage project over on Instagram @lelaburris and it’s all saved to my highlights so you can get caught up. This has been a three week project and I’m still knocking out more to-do’s every day, so you’ll get a ton of inspo and motivation for your own garage. See you there!
PS: Need that window tint ASAP? If you don’t have an Amazon Prime account, you can get a free 30 day trial with this special link so you can try it out and get all the discounts on Prime Day. If fast, free shipping isn’t your thing, you can cancel before the month is up and you won’t be charged at all for it.