Everything You Need to Know About Obscure Glass

Whether you want to create a level of privacy at the office or are looking to add a feature wall to your home – obscure glass has an abundance of applications, making it one of the most versatile types of glass on the market. But how much do you know about obscure glass?

Here at EGW we’re experts in the manufacturing of bespoke glass and have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry. Today, we are answering your most asked questions about obscure glass – and telling you how it can be used both at home and in the office.

What does obscure glass mean?

Obscure glass can be any one of dozens of types of glass, each set apart from ordinary glass due to their partial lack of transparency. Obscure glass of any sort distorts or obscures the items on the other side of the glass, whether this is by using textures or patterns. Obscure glass ranges from only offering very slight distortion to completely hiding the items in question from view or revealing only silhouettes.

Perhaps the most common sort of obscure glass is satin glass, which has been chemically treated to stop it from being transparent, while still allowing large amounts of light through. Immediately distinctive with its smooth, frosted appearance, satin glass is a versatile and popular form of obscure glass – though many, many more types exist.

How is obscure glass made?

From our two toughening plants to our state of the art computer numerical cutting machine and our most recent laminating kiln – we have the equipment to create a wide range of glass designs. As obscure glass is by far one of the most popular applications for commercial and residential buildings that we produce, we often get asked how we do it!

To create frosted glass, regular sheet glass is acid etched to create a pitted surface on one side of the glass. This results in the transparency of the glass pane, which scatters light when it passes through, helping to blur the images but still letting through the light.

obscure glass office door

What is the difference between frosted and obscure glass?

Frosted glass is one such obscure glass type – revealing only a very distorted image of the other side of the glass. It can be distinguished by its white opaque frosting, which offers a very hazy transparency. For example, people on the other side of the glass may simply appear as roughly humanoid shapes and be indistinguishable from one another. However, this is not the same as being opaque – obscure glass still allows large amounts of light to pass through it, illuminating an area, while an opaque surface, such as a wall, doesn’t allow any light through.

What kinds of obscure glass are there?

Many kinds of obscure glass exist, from frosted satin glass to textured glass of many patterns and textures. These include decorative glass designs, like patterns incorporating pictures, as well as purely obscuring glass designed only to provide privacy.

At EGW we offer a range of obscure glass designs, including frosted satin glass, sandblasted glass, which offers both privacy and style as we can create bespoke designs for any application.

What obscure glass designs are available?

Obscure glass can be made in a wide variety of ways, providing a range of effects. We are experts in the production of obscure glass and can offer a range including Taffeta, Sycamore, Stippolyte, Pelerine, Oak, Minster, Mayflower, Florielle, Flemish, Everglade, Cotswold, Contour, Charcoal, Chantilly, Autumn and Arctic, as well as a wide range of satin glass and frosted glass patterns to provide obscurity without stopping light from reaching an area.

Whether you want to upgrade your bathroom, or implement a level of security at work, we’re sure there will be a design of obscure glass available for you.

Are there different levels of obscurity available?

Different amounts of obscurity can be denoted on a scale from one to five, with one being the least obscure and five being the most obscure. Using this scale, a clock behind a pane of glass with a rating of 1 would hardly be distorted and could still be seen clearly.

As the rating increases, it becomes impossible to determine what time the clock is showing, until finally, at an obscurity rating of 5, it becomes difficult to even determine what the item behind the glass is – it can no longer be clearly identified as a clock.

house plant behind obscure glass

Can obscure glass be tempered?

If you are looking into obscure glass, you may not wish to compromise on the safety or strength of the glass – so you will need the obscure glass to be tempered.

Luckily, obscure glass can be easily tempered to improve its strength and remove the risk of it shattering into sharp, jagged pieces. Obscure tempered glass requires much more force to break it than ordinary glass, and it breaks into small, rounded cube-like pieces instead of the long shards typical of annealed glass.

This makes obscure toughened glass ideal for use in shower doors or dividers, such as in an obscure glass shower screen, making it much safer than ordinary glass and providing much more privacy.

Obscure glass is tempered by heating it to high temperatures, then using jets of cold air to provide a cooling effect, causing the outer layers to cool and contract at a higher rate than the inner material. Thanks to this differential cooling, the glass is placed under patterns of stress, which greatly increases the force required to shatter the glass. In addition to this, the stress patterns ensure that the obscure toughened glass breaks into the small rounded pieces typical of tempered glass.

Get in Touch with The Glass Warehouse for Obscure Glass and Frosted Satin Glass today!

If you would like to know more about the obscure glass available from EGW, or you would like to place an order then why not contact us? We are confident that we have the expertise and equipment necessary to offer you the perfect glass solution for your home or office.

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