What is Obscure Glass?

What is Obscure Glass?

Obscure glass has numerous applications in the home, office, or business. Yet, if someone were to ask you about it what it even is, what would you be able to tell them? In this post, we'll explain exactly what is obscure glass. 

Let's begin with the difference between obscure and regular glass.

What is the Difference Between Obscure Glass and Regular Glass?

As defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary↗, obscure glass is "a sheet glass made translucent or opaque." It is carried out by roughening one side of the glass to make it difficult to see through. Regular glass is entirely translucent. It should be easy to see through from one side to another. 

Obscure glass allows light through while blocking your view through the glass. There are different levels of obscurity. Sometimes, you will be able to see colors and silhouettes through the window, whereas other types completely block the outside world's view.

Is Obscure Glass the Same as Frosted Glass?

Frosted glass is a term with which more people are familiar. It is a type of obscure glass since it limits the view when looking through it. It only reveals a very distorted picture through the other side. It is distinguishable by its opaque frosting on one side, giving it a white shimmer.

Where Should I Use Obscure Glass?

Obscure glass has many different applications. If you are remodeling part of your home, consider placing it in areas that need more light, but you don't want to see through.

One of the most common areas to find obscure glass is in bathroom windows. It lets in light without letting people see inside. To create the feeling of a wall between rooms, put in an intermediary pane of opaque glass. It allows light to filter back and forth while limiting the sense of an open floor plan.

Otherwise, it can be placed in bedroom windows, the kitchen, dining area, or any other exterior wall to limit close neighbors from seeing and increasing your privacy. Using it for the glass in a skylight helps add an extra layer of security to a room.

A Brief History of Obscure Glass

Opaque glass was a valued addition to the Victorians' homes↗, growing in popularity throughout the 1880s since glass became so much more affordable. The glass was able to be produced by patterning through machine rolling. In the 20th century, many more options were created for mass production of glass, and glazing was invented. The different patterns of obscure glass increased, and more people than ever were able to decorate their homes with specialty glass.

Examples of Obscure Glass In Windows and Doors

There are four primary patterns common to the design of obscure glass. The variety you choose depends on the look you want in your window or door and the level of translucence.

  • Frosted
    • Frosted is the most prevalent variety and can be done with an extremely fine texture that ends up being smooth and white-ish. It can be acid-etched or sandblasted. It provides a range of different visibility levels and is a cost-effective choice.
  • Patterned
    • Obscure glass doesn't only have to be a single sheet of plain, opaque glass. It is popular to put in a pattern. They are often plants, like the Flemish, or geometric, like Master Carré. They give a more dynamic appearance with decorative appeal.
  • Bubble effect
    • The Bubble effect can also be called raindrop. It gives an air of naturalness to a scene. Light shining through it looks subtly diffused throughout, almost as if there were raindrops spattered across the glass. It is this variety that is most commonly used in bathrooms and some restaurants.
  • Ribbed
    • Ribbed can also be referred to as reeded. It creates the most illusion since the ribbing lets certain amounts of light pass through. Wider bands dictate how much distortion is seen from one side to the other. It creates a three-dimensional effect with a variety of levels of obscurity.

There are numerous ways to add your unique touch to your home. Opting out of using regular glass for your windows is one of the subtle ways to make your mark. With privacy benefits and customization options, opaque glass stands out from the rest and helps your home to do the same.