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PenguinTint

Spectral Select vs Ceramic

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I'm wondering if there's a rule of thumb between selecting between spectral select vs ceramic film?

 

It's for a conservatory room that's glass on three sides at the back of the facing E-SE.

 

From what I've researched it seems spectral select is designed to let the most visible light in while rejecting the most IR/heat out. But they have some downsides that they can corrode and requires extra labor to properly seal all the edges. The location is 10mi away from the beach so is that a real concern?

 

Ceramic seems to be a good choice but it absorbs more than it reflects so read somewhere it's not recommended for double-pane glass.

 

Primary purpose is to reduce heat/IR, cut some glare since the sunlight is reflecting a bit on the flatscreen in the adjacent room, maintain the view since it looks out to a garden, and have low reflectivity (at night want to be able to see out).

 

I've been comparing the following products and more and less they are similar price points between spectral select and ceramics. The only outlier was Panorama CX which is almost 25% less then the others. But Palisades Ceramic, 3M Ceramic, Huper Optiks 2-ply, V-kool, Hilite, ULVDS were all similarly priced. So kind of confused on what to select. All things equal seems Panorama CX is the more cost effective solution.

 

Any guidance/suggestion is greatly appreciated -- thanks!

 

Ceramic Films:

  • Johnson Films Palisades
  • 3M Ceramic
  • Panorama CX
  • Huper Optiks 2-ply Ceramic
  • Llumar Vista Ceramic

 

Spectral Select Films:

  • V-kool
  • Panorama Hilite
  • Suntek ULVDS
  • Llumar VS

 

Edited by PenguinTint
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A ceramic Film can be considered “spectrally select” if the LE is 1.0 or greater... but most spectral select films contain rare metals.

The higher the LE ratio the more you will most likely pay for the Film because high LE films are complex and more expensive to make.

The highest IR reducer (780-2500nm) with the lowest SHGC and VLR @ 35% VLT would be Huper Optik Drei at 98%IRR and a 0.30 SHGC and a 12% VLR. A very unique film...

Panorama Ceramic is actually a poorer performer than other available ceramics. Compare their SHGC’s and you will see where Panorama CX comes up short.

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Thanks so much for the info!

 

I pulled the specs of the flat ceramics I'm considering and they seem fairly close to each other.

 

Using single pane measurement specs:

For Panorama CX50: $1000

- VLT: 51%

- TSER: 47%

- Reflectance Ext: 13%

- Reflectance Int: 11%

- Glare Reduction: 44%

 

For Palisade PD50: $1400

- VLT: 50%

- TSER: 48%

- Reflectance Ext: 13%

- Reflectance Int: 11%

- Glare Reduction: 44%

 

For HO C50: $1350

- VLT: 50%

- TSER: 50%

- Reflectance Ext: 10%

- Reflectance Int: 10%

- Glare Reduction: 45%

 

For 3M CM50: $1370

- VLT: 53%

- TSER: 47%

- Reflectance Ext: 12%

- Reflectance Int: 10%

- Glare Reduction: 40%

 

LLumar Vista Ceramic45: $1000

- VLT: 49%

- TSER: 45%

- Reflectance Ext: 9%

- Reflectance Int: 9%

- Glare Reduction: 46%

 

Some questions:

1) So I do see that the CX on the TSER metric is lower performing but is 47% vs 50% (6% diff) that significant for such a large price difference (25%)?

2) Seems comparing the performance of CX vs Palasides and 3M Ceramic the specs are in the similar range that CX seems the better economical choice. Any reason why that's a bad choice to go with?

3) I know Hyper Optik is 2-ply ceramic which is a selling point but is that worth the 25% premium? Do 3M, Hyper Optik, and Johnson Window Films run at premium -- is quality that much better? 

4) Plus at the Hyper Optik price point I might as well get Hilite 55 which will give me greater VLT: 59%, lower reflectivity and a higher TSER 56% but the trade-off for more light is less glare reduction only 34% which not sure if that's enough to cut the glare going to the flatscreen :(. Any rule of thumb on how much glare reduction is needed for TV watching?

 

Thanks a bunch!

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Nothing to worry about being near the ocean as it won't corrode. Definetly a better option than 3M Ceramic for what you are looking for. Its cost will be higher though as its an IR film 

 

You should look at 3M Prestige 50.

-VLT: 50%

-TSER: 56%

-Reflectance Ext: 8%

-Reflectance Int: 7%

-Glare Reduction: 44%

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Thanks so much for the info!
 
I pulled the specs of the flat ceramics I'm considering and they seem fairly close to each other.
 
Using single pane measurement specs:
For Panorama CX50: $1000
- VLT: 51%
- TSER: 47%
- Reflectance Ext: 13%
- Reflectance Int: 11%
- Glare Reduction: 44%
 
For Palisade PD50: $1400
- VLT: 50%
- TSER: 48%
- Reflectance Ext: 13%
- Reflectance Int: 11%
- Glare Reduction: 44%
 
For HO C50: $1350
- VLT: 50%
- TSER: 50%
- Reflectance Ext: 10%
- Reflectance Int: 10%
- Glare Reduction: 45%
 
For 3M CM50: $1370
- VLT: 53%
- TSER: 47%
- Reflectance Ext: 12%
- Reflectance Int: 10%
- Glare Reduction: 40%
 
LLumar Vista Ceramic45: $1000
- VLT: 49%
- TSER: 45%
- Reflectance Ext: 9%
- Reflectance Int: 9%
- Glare Reduction: 46%
 
Some questions:
1) So I do see that the CX on the TSER metric is lower performing but is 47% vs 50% (6% diff) that significant for such a large price difference (25%)?
2) Seems comparing the performance of CX vs Palasides and 3M Ceramic the specs are in the similar range that CX seems the better economical choice. Any reason why that's a bad choice to go with?
3) I know Hyper Optik is 2-ply ceramic which is a selling point but is that worth the 25% premium? Do 3M, Hyper Optik, and Johnson Window Films run at premium -- is quality that much better? 
4) Plus at the Hyper Optik price point I might as well get Hilite 55 which will give me greater VLT: 59%, lower reflectivity and a higher TSER 56% but the trade-off for more light is less glare reduction only 34% which not sure if that's enough to cut the glare going to the flatscreen :(. Any rule of thumb on how much glare reduction is needed for TV watching?
 
Thanks a bunch!


Huper is dye free TiN ceramic which will not oxidize like the tin oxide counterparts. That alone is worth paying more because oxidation is a risk.

Irvine is within 25mi from the ocean so I’d stay away from Hilite because it contains silver and can corode. Vista Terre Ceramic also has silver in it so it is not the best choice.

3M Prestige claims to have a higher TSER but you have to take into account two issues. According to their patent, Prestige contains IR absorbing dye which is known to break down after a few years. The breakdown affects Film performance over time. The other issue is the optical quality. Place any of those films next to Prestige and ask yourself “which looks better?” “Which has sharper optics?” Prestige has what is called ‘color shift’ due to the 200 layers of multiple density material.

I’d recommend mounting all Films under consideration and asking those two questions.

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1 hour ago, vquestfilms.com said:

 


Huper is dye free TiN ceramic which will not oxidize like the tin oxide counterparts. That alone is worth paying more because oxidation is a risk.

Irvine is within 25mi from the ocean so I’d stay away from Hilite because it contains silver and can corode. Vista Terre Ceramic also has silver in it so it is not the best choice.

3M Prestige claims to have a higher TSER but you have to take into account two issues. According to their patent, Prestige contains IR absorbing dye which is known to break down after a few years. The breakdown affects Film performance over time. The other issue is the optical quality. Place any of those films next to Prestige and ask yourself “which looks better?” “Which has sharper optics?” Prestige has what is called ‘color shift’ due to the 200 layers of multiple density material.

I’d recommend mounting all Films under consideration and asking those two questions.

 

 

Great idea! I'm getting samples to mount to do a side by side compare. 

 

I did find out from the installers that since Hilite contains silver oxide which is prone to corrosion especially near the cost, all the edges are required to be sealed which jumps the cost and labor up to $15/sqft :(. With 8 separate panels that just sounds like multiple points of failures in the future even though I know there's a lifetime warranty, but being low maintenance and worry-free is always welcomed.

 

Comparing the CX50 (which also states it's free of dyes and metals) vs Huper Optik C50 is the 2ply for C50 worth the premium cost? I know based on the specs it's a bit better performing (TSER 50% vs 47%) with lower reflectivity (10/10 vs 13/11), but does the 2-ply also help with long-term durability? Does the same logic apply as with tissue paper where 2-ply is better then 1-ply? :) I don't mind the extra cost if there's value of what you're getting. Of course I'll put them side by side and compare the optics which I've heard HO is better.

 

From what I can tell Vista has two lines that have ceramics: the Harmony Terre V51 which mixes precious metals with ceramic and the one I mentioned which is Ceramic 45 containing only ceramic. Spec wise it's the lowest performing in the batch but still at 45 TSER better than sputtered. Or still not worth considering? Trying to narrow down choices.

 

In general do all spectral select films use precious metals that are prone to corrosion? I was also looking at Suntek ULVDS 50 but if that's also prone to corrosion then will rule that one out too.

 

Also the installers have been emphasizing that being a Panorama dealer is a special class. Do these installers go through additional training or application process? Or just a membership to buy into? Curious how much can I use it as a proxy/indication of being a reputable and high quality installer? It does say "Elite Dealer Network" so does this imply the most of the installers are all elite installers and best of class?

 

Thanks a bunch!

 

 

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10 hours ago, PenguinTint said:

 

Great idea! I'm getting samples to mount to do a side by side compare. 

 

I did find out from the installers that since Hilite contains silver oxide which is prone to corrosion especially near the cost, all the edges are required to be sealed which jumps the cost and labor up to $15/sqft :(. With 8 separate panels that just sounds like multiple points of failures in the future even though I know there's a lifetime warranty, but being low maintenance and worry-free is always welcomed.

 

Comparing the CX50 (which also states it's free of dyes and metals) vs Huper Optik C50 is the 2ply for C50 worth the premium cost? I know based on the specs it's a bit better performing (TSER 50% vs 47%) with lower reflectivity (10/10 vs 13/11), but does the 2-ply also help with long-term durability? Does the same logic apply as with tissue paper where 2-ply is better then 1-ply? :) I don't mind the extra cost if there's value of what you're getting. Of course I'll put them side by side and compare the optics which I've heard HO is better.

 

From what I can tell Vista has two lines that have ceramics: the Harmony Terre V51 which mixes precious metals with ceramic and the one I mentioned which is Ceramic 45 containing only ceramic. Spec wise it's the lowest performing in the batch but still at 45 TSER better than sputtered. Or still not worth considering? Trying to narrow down choices.

 

In general do all spectral select films use precious metals that are prone to corrosion? I was also looking at Suntek ULVDS 50 but if that's also prone to corrosion then will rule that one out too.

 

Also the installers have been emphasizing that being a Panorama dealer is a special class. Do these installers go through additional training or application process? Or just a membership to buy into? Curious how much can I use it as a proxy/indication of being a reputable and high quality installer? It does say "Elite Dealer Network" so does this imply the most of the installers are all elite installers and best of class?

 

Thanks a bunch!

 

 

 

In my experience "Elite Networks" and "Special Training" is nothing but marketing fluff. An "Elite Network" is simply a group of dealers that have access to products that the rest of the dealer organization does not have access too. In this case Panorama dealers are Solar Gard dealers that have access to Panorama films made by the same MFG that the rest of the Solar Gard network does not have access to. Does that make them "Elite" or better than other window film dealers? No, they simply are given access to the Panorama line usually because they make some kind of special commitment to promoting that line of film.

 

"Special training" is usually done by the MFG which is not uncommon throughout the industry. My issue with training. A trained installer is not necessarily a "capable" installer. There is no MFG guarantee that you as a consumer will have a capable installer working on your home even though they market their dealer network as "trained." What if the trained installer gets fired or leaves on Friday and today you get a new hire working on your house? Can Panorama or any MFG control that? Nope. What if the MFG trainer lacks the experience or skill to properly train installers? I know some of these folks and I can tell you that they do not install film on a regular basis and yet they are the ones teaching others... mostly from a book or manual. I don't recommend buying into this fluff. Get references, go with that gut feeling you get when you have confidence in a company rather than compromising that feeling for a lower price. Remember Ben Franklin's quote: " The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."

 

Ok, let's talk tech... Your desire to research is very commendable. :thumb

 

"Spectral Select" is a descriptive term with a qualifier. All films are filters that "select" or more accurately "allow" certain wavelengths of the solar spectrum to pass thru the film. The industry gives the term "spectrally select" to films of all compositions that have a Luminous Efficacy (LE) of 1.0 or >. Most films in that class are "Sputtered" and use rare metals like silver and gold. Is it possible for a non-metal film to be spectrally select? Yes, there are a few but they are expensive and many use IR absorbing dyes which have limited lifespans before their effectivety starts to diminish. "Sputtering" is a manufacturing process that is very precise way layering of coatings in 1 atom thick layers. It is expensive but it yields the best optical qualities. Huper Select and Ceramic, Panorama Hilite, Vista VS 60/70, 3M ceramic are all sputtered films.

 

If you "install" (don't tape them) samples to the window, you will see the differences in optical quality from one film to the next. Let the sun come through at angle and you will probably be able to pick out the Vista films because they tend to exhibit 'low angle haze.' Panorama CX is a new product for them so that is the risk you may be taking. Dual layer is a must have in toilet paper and worth the added expense. :gasp In film, dual layer is incorporated to reduce reflectivity . It does not enhance the durability. So in the case of a dye-free ceramic like Huper, they patented dual layer technology to reduce the reflectivity of their ceramics without the use of dyes, carbon or pigments. Again, pllace both product next to each other and you will see differences.

 

SunTek UVLDS... Just place it up next to the others and let the sun shine through it. I've seen consumer complaints about the higher vlt's not rejecting enough heat. You can use your hand or face to determine if it meets your expectation. Stay away from BTU meters... those are misleading. 

 

Bottom line... You can pick the best film in the world but if the company that installs this film does not do a great job, then you are left with a great film that is poorly installed. Get references, go with who you are most comfortable doing business with. Look at the installed samples and choose what looks nice and balances out with everything mentioned in this thread. Window film is one of the most effective and least expensive energy saving upgrades that you can put on your home... that is a fact. :thumb 

If you want to PM me, I know a lot of the companies in your area. I'd be happy to give you additional input. :beer

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18 hours ago, vquestfilms.com said:

 

In my experience "Elite Networks" and "Special Training" is nothing but marketing fluff. An "Elite Network" is simply a group of dealers that have access to products that the rest of the dealer organization does not have access too. In this case Panorama dealers are Solar Gard dealers that have access to Panorama films made by the same MFG that the rest of the Solar Gard network does not have access to. Does that make them "Elite" or better than other window film dealers? No, they simply are given access to the Panorama line usually because they make some kind of special commitment to promoting that line of film.

 

"Special training" is usually done by the MFG which is not uncommon throughout the industry. My issue with training. A trained installer is not necessarily a "capable" installer. There is no MFG guarantee that you as a consumer will have a capable installer working on your home even though they market their dealer network as "trained." What if the trained installer gets fired or leaves on Friday and today you get a new hire working on your house? Can Panorama or any MFG control that? Nope. What if the MFG trainer lacks the experience or skill to properly train installers? I know some of these folks and I can tell you that they do not install film on a regular basis and yet they are the ones teaching others... mostly from a book or manual. I don't recommend buying into this fluff. Get references, go with that gut feeling you get when you have confidence in a company rather than compromising that feeling for a lower price. Remember Ben Franklin's quote: " The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."

 

Ok, let's talk tech... Your desire to research is very commendable. :thumb

 

"Spectral Select" is a descriptive term with a qualifier. All films are filters that "select" or more accurately "allow" certain wavelengths of the solar spectrum to pass thru the film. The industry gives the term "spectrally select" to films of all compositions that have a Luminous Efficacy (LE) of 1.0 or >. Most films in that class are "Sputtered" and use rare metals like silver and gold. Is it possible for a non-metal film to be spectrally select? Yes, there are a few but they are expensive and many use IR absorbing dyes which have limited lifespans before their effectivety starts to diminish. "Sputtering" is a manufacturing process that is very precise way layering of coatings in 1 atom thick layers. It is expensive but it yields the best optical qualities. Huper Select and Ceramic, Panorama Hilite, Vista VS 60/70, 3M ceramic are all sputtered films.

 

If you "install" (don't tape them) samples to the window, you will see the differences in optical quality from one film to the next. Let the sun come through at angle and you will probably be able to pick out the Vista films because they tend to exhibit 'low angle haze.' Panorama CX is a new product for them so that is the risk you may be taking. Dual layer is a must have in toilet paper and worth the added expense. :gasp In film, dual layer is incorporated to reduce reflectivity . It does not enhance the durability. So in the case of a dye-free ceramic like Huper, they patented dual layer technology to reduce the reflectivity of their ceramics without the use of dyes, carbon or pigments. Again, pllace both product next to each other and you will see differences.

 

SunTek UVLDS... Just place it up next to the others and let the sun shine through it. I've seen consumer complaints about the higher vlt's not rejecting enough heat. You can use your hand or face to determine if it meets your expectation. Stay away from BTU meters... those are misleading. 

 

Bottom line... You can pick the best film in the world but if the company that installs this film does not do a great job, then you are left with a great film that is poorly installed. Get references, go with who you are most comfortable doing business with. Look at the installed samples and choose what looks nice and balances out with everything mentioned in this thread. Window film is one of the most effective and least expensive energy saving upgrades that you can put on your home... that is a fact. :thumb 

If you want to PM me, I know a lot of the companies in your area. I'd be happy to give you additional input. :beer

I would agree and also disagree with some of this. Particularly the network of Elite dealers within each brand. By and large the dealers that are allowed to offer a manufacturers top tier line of films, are more often than not vetted by a mfr rep and that rep will determine weather that company is financially stable, qualified to represent and install said material and not a fly by night trunk monkey. Some mfrs make great efforts to ensure the dealers maintain a very high level of professionalism in order to be in their program. 

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Thanks everyone for your input and feedback, this is such a great resource to have and become an educated buyer! :).

 

Questions:

 

When I look at the TSER does that take into account any heat that is generated off the glass that is both on the outside and inside? 

 

Specifically, if I have a spectral film and a ceramic film that have the same TSER. Is it possible that the ceramic because of it's high absorption makes the window somewhat of a radiator that could potentially heat the room and make it feel warmer then with a different film? Not sure how much truth there is. But I do know that if I have something in the room that's radiating heat in a corner it will over time raise the heat of the room. That being said it's all relative and even if there was a degree of difference I'm not even sure I would be able to tell unless I was actively measuring. 

 

I also keep reading and hearing that ceramic will get hot this is just by the nature of how the product works. I actually got a bunch of card samples and have been looking at HO C30, but found somewhere the SA is really high like something in the 60s (think this was someone's calculation on the web as it's not directly listed on the spec sheet). The installer says it's not an issue and scouring the web I came across the Film to Glass (F2G) chart where the lowest for the ceramic is indeed C30 for clear double-pane. So for compatibility it seems there's not an issue but do worry if I'm installing C30 in a conservatory which has windows all around am I just creating windows that are just radiating heat back into the room -- gulp!

 

I will say among the ceramics I've seen HO is optically sharper (it's almost like seeing stuff in vivid HD), but I did actually find the CX films not a bad alternative. The spectral films also looked pretty nice but the concern about the precious metals and possible corrosion down the line was a turn off, plus it would require all edge sealing which if not done right it would make my full length windows pretty ugly. At this points it's almost just aesthetics and if I like blue tone vs greenish tone. The C40 has similar performance to the CX35, although if I want to go darker the only option is HO C30. 

 

I'm still trying to find someone to actually put up some mock-ups. Most are just estimators who just pass out the sample cards. So they tell me to just hold them up like sunglasses and imagine how it would be --- huh?. If I get an actual installer to come they require a trip charge. I'll keep looking but maybe bite the bullet to at least get some sample mock-ups on actual windows so I can see the real life performance since it is a pretty significant investment (way more then tinting a car).

 

Oh another question, what VLT is considered medium? I keep reading that if you want to meaningfully cut glare (my conservatory is next to the TV room so do have a glare issue) they say you need to cut the visible light to medium level. I actually see window quotes coming in that just says "medium tint". Is this 30, 35, 40, 45, 55, 60 ???? Is there a standard? I did have one installer recommend to at least go down to 40, but now that I research more I think I want to go even darker thus considering HO C30 and CX35. I have 8 glass panels of 28"x80" so there's significant amount of light coming in :(.

 

Thanks so much!

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