A Shade above the Rest
Tint N Trim, a respected installer of custom window tinting that’s still growing after more than 30 years in business, adds value and comfort to area residences and commercial applications
by Jennifer Updike

When Christopher John started his grassroots window-tinting business in 1984, he was a college student working toward an undergraduate degree in photography. He was young and motivated, and his office space was, in a word, untraditional; technically he ran the business out of the trunk of his BMW 320i, purely because he had nowhere else to go.

“I was the victim of a fire at my home,” he recalls. “Because I was in college at the time, my wife was basically supporting me. We lost everything and had no fire insurance. When you’re desperate, you go with what you know, so I borrowed $500 from my mother and used it to start a business tinting the windows of other cars.”

From such modest beginnings, John’s business—Tint N Trim Inc.—has flourished in the 30 years since. Of course, his office these days is much more spacious, and he no longer spends his days climbing in and out of cars. In fact, John fully reinvented his company to meet consumers’ changing needs, focusing less on cars and more on homes and workplaces.

Tint N Trim, which is a 100-percent bonded and insured union shop, now tints windows for upscale residences and commercial applications such as health care/pharmaceutical facilities, museums and hotels, as well as government installations. The company has expanded its services to include jobs of all kinds in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware—and, as John likes to say, no job is too big or too small.  

An authorized dealer and installer of LLumar, Madico, Solyx and 3M decorative window films, Tint N Trim offers more than 100 types of films—decorative, solar and safety—for glass. All film installations carry a manufacturer’s warranty and are inspected by a qualified foreman to maintain consistent quality on every job. Regardless of a job’s size or scope, Tint N Trim serves every client with respect, cleanliness and integrity.

“Glass is glass, so most of the challenges we face on the job site are primarily related to height,” John says. “The technology has changed a lot and improved a great deal over the years in terms of adhesives, and the advent of ceramic technology has led to more longevity and better clarity. We are now able to make films that are clear but also reduce 99 percent of UV radiation and reduce heat gain and annoying glare.”

Tint N Trim celebrated a landmark in its history on January 1, when it joined forces with, Southampton N.J.-based Precision Glass Tint, owned by industry veteran Jerry Carpenter.

“We’re a bigger operation now, with a bigger installation team,” says John. “Jerry is the brains behind the scheduling, and I’m more out in the field marketing and selling. It was a good marriage and we’re a union shop, so we can do anything in the city. That’s how we secured work with the U.S. Department of Defense, the FBI and other government projects.”

The merger with Precision Glass Tint has added a distinctive new element to Tint N Trim’s business. Out of its 4,100-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Southampton, Precision Glass Tint does graphic design, business cards and signs of all kinds, as well as T-shirts and apparel. The company’s forte, however, is vehicle wraps, and it takes great pride in every job.

Recent advancements in vinyl development have led to two new types of vinyl designed specifically for wrap advertising, according to John. This includes vinyl that features bubble-preventing air channels and microscopic glass beads that prevent an adhesive from functioning until the user is prepared; the beads allow the material to be repeatedly lifted and reapplied during the wrapping process, without compromising the longevity of the wrap. The vinyl is heated with a heat gun or torch for the purpose of molding the material around objects. Using what is known as a conformable vinyl wrapping material, a high-quality printing choice can be molded to almost any and every part of a vehicle, thereby transforming the vehicle into a roaming advertisement for the client’s business. Typically a cast or conformable material is preferable for contoured surfaces, while cheaper, non-conformable material can be used on flat areas to save costs.

Decals can be made to cover side and rear windows on a vehicle, but for obvious reasons—i.e., safety—the front windows are not covered. The decals on side windows are typically perforated so that passengers can still see out the windows. Wrapped advertisements must often be divided into a number of smaller pieces to appropriately cover any movable panels on the vehicle, such as the fuel tank cover, trunk openings and other doors. Wrapping is sometimes used instead of paint as a less permanent way of applying its operator’s standard livery. Wrapping can also be used for vehicle customization, and racecars opt for vehicle wraps because they are lighter than paint.

For Tint N Trim, meanwhile, window tinting for residential and commercial applications remain its core business. The installation team can complete a house in less than a day, while even the largest commercial applications are typically finished in less than one week, according to John.

“Window tinting is more affordable than window treatments like blinds or draperies,” he says. “It’s a great option for big, beautiful, high windows; it really brings the outside world in while toning down the brightness and heat while maintaining the beauty. It can preserve the life of things like art and hardwoods; even a 50 percent neutral grade can reduce fading by 70 percent. It’s the cheapest insurance you can buy, and you can’t even see it.

“Window tinting can help save energy and reduce your air-conditioning costs in certain scenarios,” he continues. “It can also act as insulation in certain scenarios. It can be hard to calculate sometimes because everybody’s different.”

As John continues to find new avenues of growth for his 30-year-old company, he is also returning to his roots. He remains 100 percent committed to his business, though he’s using the time he used to spend climbing ladders and performing installations to pursue another passion: studio photography.

“I take a lot of pride in what we do,” he says. “There’s a certain amount of art to the job, and you never know whose home you’re going to be walking into; it could be the CEO of Ford or a regular Joe. … I never would have guessed that I’d end up where I am today after that fire 30 years ago, but I guess everything worked out all right.”  

Tint N Trim LLC
4614 Louise Saint Claire Drive
Doylestown, PA 18902
www.tintntrim.com | 215-491-9041

Precision Glass Tint LLC
2 Linda Place
Southampton, NJ 08055
www.precisionglasstintnj.com | 609-801-9200