Obscure glass –
Whether you want to create a higher level of privacy at the office or are looking to add a new design feature to your home, obscure glass has an abundance of applications. It’s one of the most versatile types of glass on the market – but how much do you know about what obscure glass is and where it can be used?
Here at The Glass Warehouse, we’re experts in bespoke glass and have a wealth of experience in the industry. Below we will answer your most asked questions about obscure glass, explaining how it can be used both at home and in the office.
What is obscure glass?
Obscure means hidden from view – so obscure glass is a type of darkened or clouded glass with reduced transparency, distorting or obscuring whatever is on the other side of the pane of glass.
This can be achieved by using coloured glass, textured glass, or patterned glass. One of the most common types of obscure glass is satin glass, which is chemically treated to achieve a distinctive smooth and frosted finish.
Different levels of obscurity are available, ranging from translucent to fully opaque. Glass obscurity is rated on a scale from 1 to 5, offering slight distortion at the bottom of the scale and completely obscuring objects behind it at the top.
Whether it only reveals silhouettes or you cannot see through it at all, obscure glass is also known as ‘privacy glass’ because it offers a greater level of privacy than ordinary transparent glass – making it ideal for offices and bathrooms.
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 here at The Glass Warehouse.
To create frosted glass, regular sheet glass is acid etched to create a pitted surface on one side. This results in translucency of the glass pane, which scatters light when it passes through, helping to blur the images but still letting the light through.
Obscure glass can also be tempered to strengthen it further and reduce the risk of breakage. This is done by heating the glass to a high temperature then cooling it with jets of cold air. The outer layers cool faster than the inner layers, creating patterns of stress, which means breaking the glass will require greater force.
If the obscure toughened glass does break under a heavy impact, the stress patterns also mean that the glass will break into smaller rounded pieces, which is safer than large sharp pieces. This makes obscure safety glass a great choice for shower screens or partitions, providing privacy and safety.
What is the difference between obscure glass and frosted glass?
Frosted glass is one of the many types of obscure glass available, which has a distinctive ‘white frost’ look, ranging from a hazy translucence to a greater level of opacity. It can have a blurred or fuzzy appearance, or a kind of flat smoothness to it, which is also known as satin glass.
It’s important to note that obscure glass and opaque glass are not the same thing. Obscure glass can be opaque, but most will have a lower level of obscurity that still allows light through. Though both opaque and frosted glass panes offer obscurity for added privacy, the two differ in that frosted glass will still transmit light, whereas opaque glass will not.
Frosted glass applications still allow light to filter in, although images will be distorted for privacy. While frosted glass still allows a good amount of light to come through, it will typically cut out some of the light due to the pattern and texture.
Frosted glass can come in pretty much any pattern you wish, whether it’s a simple or an intricate design. You can opt for partial obscurity with our sandblasted glass service, which allows you to get creative with the design of your frosted glass window for a striking feature element in any room.
How much light does frosted glass let in?
Frosted glass applications still allow light to filter in, although images will be distorted for privacy. Although frosted glass still allows a good amount of light to come through, typically it will naturally cut out some of the light due to the pattern and texture.
What kinds of obscure glass are there?
Many kinds of obscure glass exist, from frosted satin glass to textured glass of many patterns and styles. These include decorative glass designs, like patterns incorporating pictures, as well as purely obscure glass designed only to provide privacy.
At The Glass Warehouse we offer a range of obscure glass designs for both privacy and style, including sandblasted glass available on request – we can create bespoke designs for any application.
We can also supply a wide selection of decorative obscure glass from Pilkington, featuring an extensive choice of simple or intricate patterns that provide obscurity without preventing light from reaching the area beyond the glass.
These include circle or line patterns, rippled or ridged textures, and more elaborate designs like flowers, leaves, and branches. Any of these designs is sure to look elegant and serve its function of increasing privacy wherever you install them.
What are the different patterns for frosted glass?
Frosted glass can come in pretty much any pattern you wish, whether that be simple or an intricate design. You can opt for partial obscurity with our sandblasted glass service which allows you to get creative with the design of your frosted glass window for a striking feature element in any bathroom.
The perfect types of obscure glass for bathroom windows
There are a range of benefits to adding obscure glass around your home or business premises, but one of the most popular applications is bathroom windows. Obscure glass windows in the bathroom not only add an extra layer of privacy for anyone using the bathroom, but they can also provide a practical way of blocking out unsightly views outside while still letting the natural light in.
At The Glass Warehouse we sell a variety of different obscure glass styles that are ideal for creating a sense of privacy and safety in the bathroom, including frosted satin glass for a translucent finish, which allows great amounts of natural light to fill your bathroom. This particular type of glass is incredibly hard-wearing, lasting for years after installation – making obscure glass windows or partitions an excellent investment piece for your home.
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. As the rating increases, it becomes impossible to determine what is behind. Until finally, at an obscurity rating of 5, objects behind the glass can no longer be seen.
Can obscure glass be tempered?
Luckily, obscure glass can be tempered to improve strength and remove the risk of shattering. Obscure tempered glass requires much more force to break it than ordinary glass. In the event of breakage, safer fragments are found, instead of larger sharp pieces.
Obscure glass is tempered by heating to high temperatures, then using jets of cold air to provide a cooling effect. As a result, causing the outer layers to cool and contract at a higher rate than the inner material. Thanks to this method, glass is placed under patterns of stress. Which in turn 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.
What does opaque glass mean?
Also known as privacy glass, fully opaque glass means it cannot be seen through at all. Unlike typical obscure glass which does allow light through. Opaque glass is popular for use in offices where full privacy is essential.
What is the difference between opaque and frosted glass?
Although both opaque and frosted glass panes offer obscurity for added privacy, the two differ in that frosted glass will still emit light, whereas opaque glass will not.
Get in Touch with The Glass Warehouse!
Obscure glass is by far one of the most popular applications for commercial and residential buildings, so whether you want to upgrade your bathroom or implement a better level of security at work, we’re sure there will be a suitable obscure glass design for your specifications and personal taste.
If you would like to know more about the obscure glass available from The Glass Warehouse, or you would like to place an order, then why not contact us? We’re confident we can offer you the perfect glass solution for your home or workspace.