While the type of film you choose will affect the price you pay, the application technique will also greatly influence the final total. The two basic application choices are do-it-yourself or professional installation. The application procedure will differ depending on the type of window the film is being applied to, along with the type of window film.
The basic application procedure begins with a thorough cleaning of the window. After cleaning, measure the window, then cut the film to include an additional 3/4 to 1 inch (1.9 to 2.54 centimeters) of extra material on all sides. Exposing the adhesive coating is the next step in the process. For do-it-yourself application, it might be a good idea to have a friend help to separate the protective liner from the adhesive to ensure that the film does not attach to itself [source: Hawks].
Since most of the adhesives used on window films are water activated, the film and window are sprayed with a wetting solution. The films are then ready to be applied to the window with the adhesive side towards the window. To smooth out any bubbles or imperfections, it's generally recommended to use a squeegee and possibly more wetting solution to get a consistent look. When the film is smooth, the excess film can be trimmed. The surface should then be blotted to remove any extra water.
Window films usually need to cure, or dry out, for a period of time. This process can last anywhere from a couple of days to more than a month.
Obviously, do-it-yourself installation is going to be less expensive than professionally installed window tints. Costs can range from around $1 per square foot for a do-it-yourself film to $35 per square foot and up for highly specialized professionally installed films. It's also important to note that several brands of window films are exclusively sold through professional installers.