From the Field

August 2nd, 2021 by Bryan

Challenging —and Ultimately Rewarding— Installations

WINDOW FILM magazine invited you to send us your best and worst installations. Readers were asked to send their best installation photos, hardest installations (maybe it was technically challenging or maybe it was difficult due to a particular customer)–whatever it is, we wanted to hear about it. We also asked readers to send in their most memorable installation and explain why it’s the one that stands out. We chose two, and there are more to come in future issues. Send your challenging installation stories to for possible inclusion in a future issue.

Tackling Two New Challenges

Michaela Bennett, tinter at Superior Auto Glass in Hartwell, Ga., told us about two vastly different installations–both challenging and rewarding.

Tractor Tint

The first, installing film on a tractor, was the “hardest tint job I have ever taken on,” said Bennett, who performed the installation with her boyfriend Kyle Whalen. Bennett and Whalen run the shop.

“He has trained me on installing since day one, and I have been tinting for about three years now,” she said.

“The elements of the atmosphere during the tractor install was probably one of the biggest factors that made it challenging,” she said. “We were in an open barn with hay all around us and it was pouring down rain. Also, the glass had to be removed, and there were many rubber gaskets and buttons that had to be cut around. The hardest part was probably removing the glass.”

Yet Bennett says if a similar opportunity came through the shop again, she would absolutely say yes to doing it. In fact, she already has.

“We actually have another tractor and a bobcat scheduled to do at our shop next week.”

Learning by Hand

Another challenge Bennett met head on was putting aside her plotter to hand-cut a window. In fact, although she has been tinting for three years, she just hand cut her first window in June during the Madico Competition in Kennesaw, Ga. Evidently, she learned quickly as she placed eleventh in the competition.

“I have practiced hand cutting a few windows since the competition, and I plan to compete in the IWFA competition this upcoming September in San Antonio, Texas,” she said. “I do like hand cutting because I feel like it is more of the art side to window film. Using a plotter can be easier most of the time, but sometimes I find that the patterns do not fit, and hand cutting is the only option.”

Having a Plan Decreases the Stress

A window film installation itself is often different from the drawings as Garrett Hollis, technician at Solar Solutions Window Tinting in Lexington, S.C., found out while working on a recent job with a fellow window film company. Hollis undoubtedly encounters this frequently. But a plan of attack helped him and those working on this installation make it a job everyone was proud of.

Solar Control of Jackson in Jackson, Miss., was awarded the contract for the YMCA new construction job in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Hollis was a travel sub working with Russell Yeates of Solar Control of Jackson, and the pair completed the project in two days.

“We didn’t plot the film because the project was bid based on architectural drawings and we didn’t want to waste any film because of differences in drawings and actual construction,” said Hollis. “I would say the most difficult part for me was figuring out where to start, being that the actual construction was slightly different than the drawings.”

He said that once the team devised a plan of attack, everything went smoothly, and the stress level decreased dramatically.

“It was a project to remember for a lifetime, and it was a great feeling to see it come out as good as it did,” said Hollis.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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