Protect Yourself at All Times
by Melissa LaScaleia
Matt Lillich, the owner and operator of Coastal Tinting and Security Films, attended college at UNC Wilmington, where he got started working with window films.
“I graduated in 1993 on a Saturday,” Matt tells the Insider in an interview. “And on Monday, I was managing the company.”
By 1996, he had bought out the owner and relocated the business to Myrtle Beach, where he’s been running it ever since.
His company installs window products that reduce heat and glare from the sun, and security products that protect glass from breaking. As the installation of security films has become a bigger part of the business, Matt changed the name to reflect that at the first of the year— from Coastal Tinting to Coastal Tinting and Security Films.
The sun control products temper the amount of heat and glare coming through windows, and prevent upholstery and carpeting from fading in the sun without imparting a loss of light. They also reduce air conditioning costs and prevent people from having to close their blinds to ameliorate the effects of the sun.
“There is a distinct satisfaction in knowing that the day I do an installation in a customer’s home, I’ll make that home a more comfortable place,” Matt says. “And you have to be very meticulous to do this, which is right up my alley.”
As technology has become more advanced, he has shifted his focus to high performance safety and security window films that provide increased glass safety and also help eliminate negatives associated with direct sun exposure. There’s a light and dark shade, so it offers varying levels of glare and heat control.
“Most modern homes have a lot of glass,” Matt says. “So it leaves many points of vulnerability in the home.”
The window film is a thick, heavy gauge product that is invisible to the naked eye and much more difficult to break if there is damage from storm or a forced entry. Additionally, the film is designed to hold the broken glass together (if it is broken), protecting people and things inside from shattering glass.
With these protective films, it’s the passive nature of their protection which makes them so immensely popular. It’s always there; doesn’t require maintenance; and doesn’t change the appearance of the windows. It’s like an invisible safety shield.
Security window films are supposed to be attached to the frame of the window in order to maximize their protective features. And it makes the installation more difficult and time consuming. This step is so crucial to the functioning of the product, that film manufacturers across the board won’t test the product unless it’s installed this way. Coastal Tinting and Security Films is the only Myrtle Beach company that installs the product this way for all their clients, whether commercial or residential. They use the same product as is found in military bases and court houses.
“The idea with the frame attachment is to not allow the frame kick-out to occur if something pushes up or tries to force its way through the glass,” Matt explains. “It’s there to hold that sheet of broken glass in and keep it adhered to the frame.”
“There has been very little impact testing done in a residential setting,” he continues. “So I used my own house for a test, because no one else would volunteer their own, and I wanted people to see how the product works.”
Matt created a video in which he applies security film to both panels of a sliding glass door— one with the frame attachment, the other without. Then he had people throw large rocks at the glass doors.
In addition to being fast (5 minutes), and highly gratifying (how could watching rocks being thrown at a glass door that isn’t yours not be?), the video drives home the importance of quality installation. Without the film being attached to the frame, the damage to the glass was pretty bad, with the rock shooting right through the door. With the frame attachment, it outperformed the security capabilities that Matt expected. The impact was strong enough that it bent the aluminum frame of the door, but the rock bounced off the glass. You can view the video at www.coastaltinting.com.
“The public needs to be aware that just because they have security film installed, unless it is bonded to the window, it won’t perform in the way they’ve been told or may expect. Security films are becoming quite common, and it’s doing a disservice to the customer to leave them uneducated and vulnerable.”
Last year Matt celebrated his ten-thousandth customer. “It was a huge landmark moment for me,” he says. “We always try to do good, solid, honest work at a fair price— where every job is done right the first time.”