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Can You See Through Reflective Window Tint?

By November 23, 2022Window Film
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Reflective window tint is pretty cool stuff. We notice it most often on stunning high-rise buildings that beg to be adored as we peruse by. It comes in various hues and reflects the surroundings to viewers. It is never more gorgeous than when a glorious sunset is taking place.

With this stated, it only makes sense to know what it is, how it works, and when it is best suited for a commercial building.

What is it

Reflective window film is a type of window film that reflects light on the outside like a mirror. In essence, it has a one-way mirror film effect. Reflective window film blocks people from seeing through your windows, into your building. Yet, inhabitants of the building can still see out.

Many of us refer to reflective film as mirror film as it does act much like a mirror. But not all reflective film has a high-mirrored effect. One-way reflective films are mirrored. There is also a metallic reflective film that has a more toned-down appearance when compared to the mirrored window film. Finally, there are dual-reflective films that also have a mirrored effect but tend to be a bit darker than one-way reflective window films. Let’s delve in.

One-way reflective window film

If you are looking for daytime privacy for your commercial building, then mirror reflective film may be the best choice for you. The appearance of these films is striking and adds a seamless effect to the exterior of your building.


  • One-way mirror effect
  • Reflects heat
  • Blocks U/V rays
  • Provides privacy

Metallic Reflective Film

Metallic reflective film offers daytime privacy with a more toned-down appearance. Whereas it has some moderate reflective properties, it doesn’t have a true, full mirror effect.


  • Many are rated safe for laminated and insulated glass
  • Reflects heat
  • Blocks U/V rays
  • Provides moderate privacy

Dual reflective window film

Dual reflective film maintains moderate privacy while also enjoying great views from inside your home day and night. Much like one-way window film, dual-reflective window film doesn’t offer the same level of privacy at night. Since there is no light reflecting off the metallic exterior surface, people will be able to see in your building or storefront when it’s dark outside.


  • Clearer interior views through to the outside
  • Daytime Privacy
  • Reflects Heat
  • Blocks U/V Rays

Ultimately, dual-reflective window film combines a highly reflective outside layer for high solar heat rejection with a lower reflectance color layer to better your inside view. This high-quality film has a warm-neutral appearance. And it comes in 5%, 15%, 25%, 35% and 45% visible light transmission (VLT). VLT is the amount of daylight that transmits through the film. Thus, you can choose how much sunlight to allow into the interior of your building.

How does it work

Reflective window tint film can give glass the effect of being a one-way mirror. As a rule, the darker and more reflective the film, the stronger the one-way mirror effect will be. Consequently, the lower the lighting difference you will require before it becomes apparent.

However, it is the surrounding lighting conditions that actually dictate how well the mirror effect will work. The side with the most light is the side that will see a mirrored effect. In contrast, the other side will be able to see through. During the day you can see outside but passers-by won’t be able to see in. In the evening, the effect is reversed. When it is dark outside and the lights are on inside, then people can see in. Consequently, you would be able to see your own reflection while inside the building.

Ultimately, the greater the light difference, the stronger the mirror effect will be. When the ratio is smaller (similar light levels on both sides) we get a ghosting effect. In other words, it partially works on both sides. The key point is that the film is only part of the process, as lighting conditions play a major role in its productivity.

When should you use it

If privacy is a priority for you, reflective film is an excellent choice. Moreover, if you are a 9 to 5 business that isn’t open at night, then you don’t have to worry about interior lighting interfering with the view in or out of the building.

Why reflective window tint

Most business owners appreciate the extra privacy provided by reflective window tints. Preventing would-be thieves from being able to assess your property generally equates to a safer building. Moreover, insurance companies often offer discounted rates for this extra layer of security.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Sun-reflective window film also provides energy efficiency. Below is a list of attributes you can expect from installing reflective window film on your commercial property:

  • Protection from UV rays
  • Glare protection
  • Increased property value
  • Protection from the hazardous shattering of glass
  • Decorative properties
  • Increased privacy and security
  • Moderates interior temperatures

Can you see through it

While daytime privacy is assured, it is often forgotten that the reflective window film is not as effective at night. This is particularly the case when interior lights are on, and it is dark outside. In this scenario, you can in fact see through reflective window film. Thus, you may not want to use it for businesses that require high security but are open at night.

We hope that this article has helped you better understand the pros and cons of various reflective window tint films offered. To learn more about window film installations watch our webinar on what we do and how we do it.

NGS Product Demonstration
Hosted by  James Beale
Join our 15-minute virtual product demonstration to learn how our products and services can help you make your buildings better. Plus, watch us put Riot Glass™ to the test with a sledgehammer!

Photo by Aurelien Romain 

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