Sal's House of Tint

Internationally recognized window tinter calls San Marcos home

Salvador Hurtado stepped up to a 2012 Nissan Sentra on Sept. 22 with a few razor blades and a spray bottle in hand. When he stepped away 60 minutes later, he did so as one of the top 10 window tinters in the world.

Hurtado, who co-owns Sal's House of Tint with Michelle Aaron, took home the honor at the 2012 Window Film Conference and Tint-Off in Louisville, Ky., where window tinters from as far away as Jamaica competed for recognition.

Aaron said the honor has not gone unnoticed in San Marcos.

"People call now and say, 'Is this where the world-famous Sal works?'" she said.

"The world-famous Sal" began working with cars when he was a teenager living in the Rio Grande Valley. Hurtado was balancing his schoolwork with a job at a tire shop when a local business owner found him in an advanced mathematics class.

"The owner of the tint shop came in and found me covered in tire black and doing calculus, and he was like, 'Dude, you gotta get out of here,'" Hurtado said.

Hurtado took a job at the shop and has been tinting ever since.

There is a good chance residents of San Marcos have seen Hurtado's work, even if they don't realize it. Hurtado tinted the Greater San Marcos Partnership building on Wonder World Drive as well as Dick's Classic Garage on Stagecoach Road.

The business offers a range of services including automotive, residential and commercial tinting, front-end paint protection and pinstriping.

Every window film that Sal's House of Tint carries provides 99 percent protection from UV rays. Aaron said the films are recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as effective protection from harmful rays.

In addition to the health benefits of blocking ultra-violet rays, residential tinting typically reduces cooling costs by about 30 percent, Aaron said.

Hurtado and Aaron have cleared a place on one of the garage's walls for the award recognizing his top 10 finish. The wall is a patchwork of certificates, diplomas and artwork, but absent from the collection is the Grammy that Hurtado won in 2011. Hurtado calls it his "lucky Grammy" but said he is in no hurry to buy the actual trophy.

Hurtado was working as a tour manager for Grupo Fantasma when the members of the Latin rock group first realized the guy mixing their sound each night had solid guitar skills. The band and crew would hang out in their hotel room after shows, and Hurtado says it was always just a matter of time before someone began strumming something.

"They invited me on a last whim like, 'Hey, can you lay down some guitar?' It was good enough to put on the record, and the record took off from there," Hurtado said.

Hurtado's guitar work can be heard on the song "Hijo" off the band's album "El Existential."

"I could order a trophy, but it's a $2,500 investment," Hurtado said. "Eventually, if I want it, I'll hang it up somewhere, but not until I have an extra $2,500 for a gold-plated piece of plastic."

Hurtado and Aaron have tinted more than 1,300 vehicles and buildings since the business began two years ago, charging about $180 for an average four-door vehicle. Hurtado said the jobs are not always safe and are rarely easy—the back glass of 2008 and 2009 Corvettes present unique challenges because of the shape of the glass—but he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I've got a reputation for being able to do the impossible," he said. "We go do bids on jobs where three companies have come from as far as Georgetown to do an estimate, and they show up, see the job and immediately say 'No.' I show up and see the job and [am] like, 'We can do it but we charge.'"

Hurtado said he takes pride in getting a tinting job done right the first time.

"I like to work on a car once, and that's usually the way it is," he said. "I work on it once, it leaves, and that's it. We won't see it till the guy wrecks it. I don't let anything go until I think it's like if it were my car. That's just kind of how I do it."

Sal's House of Tint, 2605 S. I-35, Ste. 200, San Marcos, 757-8716, www.salshouseoftint.com

By Brett Thorne
Brett Thorne reported on education, business, economic development and city government in San Marcos, Kyle and Buda from 2012 to 2017. Thorne attended Texas State University in San Marcos, where he graduated in 2010. He joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in 2012 and was promoted to editor in 2013.


MOST RECENT

Hundreds of new homes are being built in San Marcos, Kyle and Buda. (Evelin Garcia/ Community Impact Newspaper)
Realtors work to meet demand of homebuyers in Hays County

Supply is low and demand is high when it comes to real estate in Hays County, especially near the I-35 corridor, where hundreds of houses are being built to satisfy the need.

Dr. Steven Kelder is a professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Austin with a career spanning more than 25 years. (Graphic by Chance Flowers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Disease expert discusses ongoing pandemic and nearing school year

Dr. Steven H. Kelder recently answered several questions for Community Impact Newspaper regarding COVID-19; trends in cases statewide; and important considerations for parents, students and educators as the 2020-21 school year approaches.

Hays County confirmed 88 new cases of coronavirus July 13. (Community Impact staff)
Hays County reports 88 new coronavirus cases, 38 additional recoveries July 13

Numbers provided by the Hays County Local Health Department showed 88 new coronavirus cases July 13.

The city said residents should make sure they are only watering on their scheduled days based on address. (Courtesy city of Georgetown)
Georgetown faces watering restrictions, SW Austin private school closes: News from Central Texas

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas here.

The day care facility is located at 2448 Main St., Buda. (Courtesy Kiddie Academy of Buda)
Kiddie Academy of Buda now open on Main Street

The 10,000 square foot facility is expected to serve 195 students ages 6 weeks-5 years.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, shown here in March, announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide additional resource to help Texas combat COVID-19. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Department of Defense task forces deployed to help Texas combat COVID-19

Gov. Greg Abbott announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide more resources to Texas to combat the rise of COVID-19.

Cities in Hays County have adopted different economic relief programs to aid hoteliers during the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Cities, hotels in Hays County brace for 80% drop in business

City officials and hotel owners in Hays County brace for the highest hotel revenue deficit seen in the last few years brought by the pandemic.

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.

The new partnership will provide on-site, same-day testing and results for assisted-living facility staff and their residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
State announces partnership for increased COVID-19 testing for patients, staff at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes

These test sites will help the state work toward the goal of processing up to 100,000 tests in the first month.

Former Cedar Park Police Department Chief Sean Mannix is pictured in this 2015 file photo. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)
Cedar Park police chief moves to Burnet, driver's license offices reopen: Most popular news this week from Central Texas

Read the most popular Central Texas news from the past week on Community Impact Newspaper's website.