Frosted Glass Installation: What You Need To Know
When choosing glass for your structure, whether it is a home or a commercial building, you have a multitude of choices when it comes to the type of glass to use. Window glass can be tinted or treated for energy efficiency, for example, while storefront glass comes in different forms of construction for durability and safety.
However, whether for exteriors or interior installations, both commercial and residential glass fixtures offer possibilities for frosted glass. It is a classic and perennial choice for many glass installations.
Frosted glass continues to be a stylish selection that can be used for a variety of purposes. This opaque variety of glass enclosure not only provides an elegant form of privacy but can add a unique character and stylistic touch to an interior.
Frosted Glass Considered
There are a few ways to obtain a frosted glass finish, one of them being frosted window films. And while this is a common approach and can be more economical, we are going to focus on glass plate, the surface of which have been altered chemically or mechanically to provide a desired opaque finish.
Frosted glass, which is considered a type of obscure or translucent glass, is produced through processes such as acid etching or sandblasting. Both of these processes result in a surface that breaks up and scatters the light passing through the glass, creating an obscured visibility or translucence.
Acid etching uses hydrochloric acid to create different degrees of opacity on the glass.
Etching is also used to create a variety of decorative patterns. The acid is applied to one or both sides of clear, low-iron, or colored float glass. The acid “etches” the glass surface by breaking it down until the desired translucent look and feel is achieved.
The other process used is sandblasting, which is done by applying sand to the surface of the glass.
In a similar fashion to etching, sandblasting glass plates can be used to create stylish patterns that enhance the glass’s aesthetic appeal. High pressure blasting with sand or other abrasive materials allows the particles to etch the surface of the glass to obtain the desired pattern and overall design
Another method of frosting is known as ceramic frit silk-screening. This is a process that uses ceramic frit, a type of paint, that is applied to glass to create specific designs. Fritted glass fixtures are often decorated with custom patterns and are used for both interior and exterior fixtures.
Fritted glass, like most frosted glass products, is used to reduce glare, increase privacy, and add a sophisticated aesthetic to a building’s facade or interior. The process can create glass with a variety of patterns and styles, including gradients, tinted glass, and varying degrees of transparency, translucence, and opaqueness.
Common Varieties of Frosted Glass Effects
Typically, frosted glass can be produced with different textures and patterns for a variety of uses. Among the more common finishes are water effect glass, ribbed glass, patterned glass, and even customized frosted glass.
- Water Effect
Frosted glass panels etched with water-like patterns create a translucent, “wet” look that lets in natural light while providing privacy. This opaque glass typically features raindrop, trickle, or bubble patterns that create a water-like appearance. This glass is perfect for shower enclosures, restaurants, or other areas that can benefit from lightly frosted glass.
- Ribbed Effect
Another common finish on glass doors or windows features thin, subtle ribs or ripples for obscure glass. A vertical ribbing finish can create a more modern and minimalist aesthetic, for example. Ribbed frosted glass is often used on contemporary front doors, door sidelights, and for interior divider wall panels.
- Patterned Glass
Some frosted glass sheets feature abstract patterns, geometric shapes, or classic decorative motifs. The various patterns possible can give frosted glass an elegant sense of style, character, and privacy. This effect is perfect for entryways, conference rooms, or for centerpiece windows, while still providing privacy.
Some of the Benefits of Frosted Glass
Typically, frosted glass is a much greater investment than other types of architectural glass products. However, there are also several significant benefits and added value with frosted glass, regardless of whether it’s used on a glass shower enclosure, office wall panels, or on a decorative divider in a lobby area.
This is a great benefit for a corporate design that calls for glass wall panels and doors. While these designs bring style and elegance to an office interior, as well as an open feel, privacy is a challenge with clear glass.
Blinds and other solutions can often be used to resolve this issue, but there are instances when an interior space may not allow for traditional blinds to be used for privacy. If blinds are not an option, frosted glass panels can be a perfect solution. And an added benefit with frosted glass options is the ability to choose the degree of opacity you need for your privacy requirements.
Part of the beauty of frosted glass is that it is highly functional and versatile. Decorated or simple, translucent frosted window panels can be installed just about anywhere in a structure. In fact, despite the functionality of frosted glass, it can also be used in place of clear glass simply for an aesthetic touch.
Most frosted glass products can easily be used with a variety of architectural styles and interior layouts and décor. A well thought out design using frosted glass can achieve the perfect balance between privacy and stylistic appeal.
Frosted glass helps maintain ideal indoor temperatures as more sunlight is filtered through the glass during the day than with clear glass. It can also help decrease the cooling of interior air during the winter. This allows for reduced energy use and significant savings on energy bills throughout the year.
As an article at Architectural Digest noted,
“To make their designs more energy-efficient, architects often use glass that is printed with a ceramic frit and fired into a permanent, opaque coating.”
Easy to Clean
Frosted glass can be easily wiped clean with a cloth. And, unlike clear glass, frosted glass does not streak easily due to its textured surface. In most cases, all that is required to keep the glass clean is an occasional application of a microfiber cloth and some standard window cleaner.
As we’ve noted already, frosted glass is attractive and can add a touch of elegance and style to any residential or commercial space. Professionally installed frosted glass will last for years and is highly versatile and functional while looking beautiful. Beyond its functionality, frosted glass adds a strong decorative element to your building and can uniquely enhance any space.
Using Frosted Glass for Your Office Environment
You can create an open and bright atmosphere when you opt for installing frosted glass walls and partitions in your workspace. Offices and workspaces seem larger and the overall feel of the interiors are more “open” as a result of the natural light that helps illuminate the office environment.
Frosted glass is far less transparent than clear glass products and can even be completely opaque. However, because it is still glass, it allows you to create an overall sense of openness throughout your workplace while maintaining a degree of privacy and minimalist separation.
Energy Efficiency Advantages
Like clear glass, frosted glass allows natural light to permeate throughout an office interior, which, as we noted previously, can help to reduce your dependence on artificial lighting. This means reducing your energy usage and it helps to reduce your carbon footprint.
Essentially, frosted glass walls, panels, and partitions can be seen as an energy-efficient alternative to more traditional interior building materials.
Perhaps the most significant reason for installing frosted glass in an office environment is that it ensures the privacy of your employees, while allowing for the opinion of glass walls and partitions. In other words, a stylish and sophisticated glass interior can still be a space where employees can work productively, while having a sufficient degree of privacy.
In other words, installing frosted glass office walls and partitions lets you provide the privacy for spaces that every company needs, while allowing for the free flow of natural light.
Common frosted Glass Products
Along with storefront glass and bathroom windows, frosted glass installations can take various forms. Here are a few of the more common frosted glass products installed for commercial structures for example:
Interior Frosted Glass Walls
The popularity of the International Style for commercial architecture has led to multitudes of corporate facilities with glass fronts and largely glass interiors, as well. Glass wall panels have proven to be a flexible and environmentally friendly approach for creating interior spaces.
Options and fixtures are almost endless. For example, glass doors can include bi-fold systems, hinged doors, pocket doors, and sliding doors. Along with these there are folding walls, as well as demountable partitions or fixed panels.
The beauty of frosted glass is that it can be used on all these various structures.
Commercial frosted glass wall systems are extensively used in a wide variety of buildings such as corporate, healthcare, educational, retail, and art centers.
Like clear or tinted glass options, interior walls and dividers made with frosted glass can be designed in both framed and frameless styles, as well as free-standing cubicle and office partitions, in other words, not attached to the ceiling.
Multi Panel Frosted Glass Doors
These glass doors can be installed in both residential and commercial structures. These expansive doors use multiple sections that either slide into pockets that are hidden while the doors are open or fold-up panels that stack on one or both sides of an opening.
Frosted glass door panels allow in an ample amount of natural light while providing versatile access, privacy, and a stylistic aesthetic. Multi-panel glass doors are not only elegant and dazzling architectural features, but they function as both windows and doorways.
Frosted Glass Handrails
Glass handrail designs are stylish and functional installations for large commercial spaces and office environments. Frosted glass panels with handrails provide elegance and luxury to any well-appointed office, as well as multi-level areas, such as interior balconies or on staircases.
In addition to the clean feel and the elegance of unobtrusive glass fixtures, glass handrails can provide a high-end look to properties that have a positive impact on clients or potential business partners.
Glass railing can be manufactured with two methods.
One approach is to create a solid piece with frosted glass panels fixed between the top and bottom frames made with wood or metal. An even more elegant design uses frameless glass railings. On these structures, hidden hardware is used to anchor the barriers in place and clamping hardware is used on the frosted glass panels.
Glass Tabletops and Dividers
Custom fitted glass tabletops can be a great solution when you need to protect office desks or conference tables or want a custom, frosted glass table.
Frosted glass tabletops provide the benefit of adding a sense of spaciousness to smaller rooms. In addition, frosted glass tables can complement any room’s decor and are easy to clean and disinfect.
Along with frosted glass table tops, interiors can be enhanced with glass shelving and glass multi-functional dividers to create a needed separation between open areas. These frosted glass items can be designed for a unified look for offices, conference rooms, and lobby areas.
Frosted Glass Installation
Regardless of whether you need to replace old storefront glass, or install a new glass storefront, it needs to be done correctly and at a fair price.
Because professionalism and experience are critical for high-end residential and commercial frosted glass installation, the preferred type of contractors for these types of installations is those that specialize in commercial glass installation.
Frosted glass structures are made with what is known as “safety” glass. It’s important to note that there are essentially two main types of safety glass that are used for different purposes. These are tempered glass and laminated glass.
Tempered glass is used for items as tabletops, doors, and certain types of windows. Tempered glass, unlike annealed glass, breaks into thousands of small pieces if shattered, making it far less dangerous than big glass shards. This is accomplished through a special heating process that makes it up to four times stronger than annealed glass.
Laminated safety glass, on the other hand, is great for glass walls and partitions. It consists of two pieces of annealed glass with a very strong layer of laminate that is sandwiched between them to keep the glass shards firmly in place if it breaks. The advantage of laminated safety glass is that it is much safer for anyone that may be near the glass if it breaks.
Professional Frosted Glass Installers
Because frosted glass products represent a significant investment in a home or commercial structure, it is important to choose a reputable, professional glass installer. Here are some points to consider when making a choice:
- Professional commercial glass contractors will inform you of glass options and make reliable recommendations.
- Commercial frosted glass installers can offer a variety of options of styles and designs for your glass needs.
- One mark of a good commercial glass company is after-project support. Quality frosted glass installation requires more than simply putting it in. A quality contractor will actually follow up after the job to ensure the integrity of the installation.
- Another hallmark of professionals is that, when it comes to new construction, they work to avoid costly difficulties or delays with other contractors on a construction job.
In addition, quality, professional contractors have experience ordering or fabricating custom frosted glass products, as well as installing them.
Choosing a Frosted Glass Installer Near You
When it comes to selecting a professional glass contractor, Sonoma County has many to choose from. The question to ask when you are looking to have frosted glass fixtures installed is, “Which local contractor is right for your needs?”
Finding the answer to that question is simple when you call B&L Glass, one of Santa Rosa’s best glass companies. Our team of highly skilled technicians has a passion for glass installation and for the satisfaction of a job well done, delivers robust solutions for all kinds of clients. For commercial storefronts, Santa Rosa businesses are covered.
Whether you require a commercial glass storefront to flood your building with light, or frosted glass walls to create a stylish look for your offices, we have the skills and professionals necessary to execute your ideas to the highest level.
With the attention to detail needed for custom frosted glass office doors and the capability of working on large scale projects, we offer the most reliable path to outcomes you’ll love.
Contact us today to learn more about what makes us different and to discuss your project with our team.