If you think about it, it’s quite contradictory to use glass in the bathroom. Traditionally, it doesn’t offer as much privacy as you’d like. However, there are more than a few types of glass that are specifically designed for the bathroom. Not all types of glass are purely transparent. Using modern processing, glass manufacturing has become a very functional industry that provides the public with the safety and privacy they need.
Let’s take a look at the many types of glass that you can use for your bathroom windows!
Best Types of Glass For Bathrooms
Tempered Glass: Doors and Partitions
Right off the bat, tempered glass is a top choice for bathrooms. You can use it to renovate your bathroom by placing a tempered glass partition to separate the bath area from the rest of the room. It can also be used for building a shower cubicle or enclosure that’s modern, sleek, and luxurious. There’s a reason why this type of glass is often used in fancy hotels!
More than the aesthetic, tempered glass is also very resistant to impact. It is toughened glass that can give a high level of safety that it can be used for doors as well. Bathroom floors are almost always wet and slippery. By using tempered glass partitions, you can prevent water from spreading onto the rest of the bathroom space.
Frosted Glass: Windows and Enclosures
Frosted glass is another top choice for bathroom projects. You can achieve privacy in your bathroom without giving up the aesthetics using this option. Frosted glass limits visibility from the outside but it does not compromise the amount of light coming in, making it a great material for bathroom windows.
This material is achieved through sandblasting, acid etching, or any of a handful of techniques that create a translucent, hazy surface. These characteristics make it the perfect material for bathroom windows, shower enclosures, and even partitions. More and more high-end homes, resorts, and hotels use this type of glass for their bathrooms.
Let us delve deeper into the various kinds of frosted glass.
Acid Etched Glass
This type of glass uses an acid, abrasive or caustic substance to remove a small amount of the glass surface, leading to a somewhat rough overlay. This is used to apply a frosted and translucent appearance to the glass pane. It is possible to do this and achieve creative and artistic patterns or designs. Some establishments use it to etch words and numbers to the glass panel, often in office settings.
Depending on how much decoration you want, the level of privacy varies. The parts that are etched do make the glass opaque. So if you want 100% privacy, this might not be something you’ll want to go with.
Acid-etched glass applies the designs after the glass has finished production. On the other hand, textured glass is made with the pattern pressed into it during the production process, while the glass is still in a molten state. What you get is a wide range of styles and options that can also offer different levels of privacy.
This type of glass is made by blasting flat glass with sand, nutshells or other abrasive materials at a high-pressure level. It can be similar to acid-etched glass because the same principle is used to shape the glass in order to achieve the desired design.
For an extra step, you can achieve a more specific design by using masking tape. This blocks off the sand, creating portions of glass that are opaque and non-sandblasted. These patterns turn out quite simple and easily accessible, compared to other custom-made glass types.
This glass can be made using varying levels of opacity and different gradients, just like acid-etched glass. Plus, sandblasted glass is very resilient. Don’t expect it to chip or peel over time. Compared to other methods of glass frosting, this provides more opportunities for creativity and customization, as well as levels of visibility. It’s a designer’s blank canvas.
But it’s not all pros without cons. Sandblasted glass can be hard to clean. If you keep it in storage, this problem escalates a bit more. For this type of glass, there are particular guidelines that need to be followed from the fabrication stage and until storage, just to keep it from damages. And it’s not a secret that it’s quite costlier than others in this list. That’s why it’s very important to nail your desired design right at the beginning.
Ceramic Frit Silk-Screened Glass
This type of glass is created by applying paint, called ceramic frit, to the glass to achieve the desired design. It lets designers play with different shapes and colors for both indoor and outdoor fixtures. This glass is used to increase privacy as well as reduce glare.
There are so many styles and patterns that you can choose from, such as stripes, dots, holes, tinted or clear glass, different gradients, opaque to transparent visibility, and more.
The frit is made using raw powdered materials. It is melted then cooled before transferring it to the glass surface during the process of heating and strengthening. The goal is to create a permanent bond as well as a design that’ll last for a long time.
There are many benefits to using this type of glass. The higher the percentage of frit, the better the quality of your frosted glass. A high rating also equates to brighter colors, better clarity, smoother surface, and lower thermal expansion. This glass can also benefit you with solar protection. But if it breaks, you’ll need to replace the sun protection element as well, which can be an expensive process.
Frit can dissolve in water eventually, that’s why manufacturers try their best to push the limits of its solubility and stability.
Translucent Interlayer Laminated Glass
This type of glass has been around for quite a long time. The first-ever interlayers were created in 1930. These were used for car windshields, in place of cellulose acetate which has been used up until then. It became a mainstay in architecture and construction by the 1950s, as this type of glass became more common. More colored choices became in the market, too.
Laminated glass holds together if it gets shattered. This is because its interlayer is made of PVB (polyvinyl butyral) or EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate), and is placed between two or more glass layers. This laminates to the glass using pressure and heat. This leads to an added layer of transparent protection.
Compared to other types of frosted glass, this glass gives you a choice of color and opacity. You can go for a singular color, or stack up multiple layers (up to four) to get a desired pattern and design. If you choose less than four interlayers, they will use clear PVB to fill in the rest of the glass thickness.
This is one of the strongest glass types in the market today. Its main purpose is to provide safety. Depending on the design, it can be a good source of privacy as well. Cutting interlayers can be challenging. And because of its chemical components, many landfills refuse waste disposal of laminated glass. So if it breaks, it can be hard to dispose of the material.
Applied Translucent Film
Finally, we have the easiest and fastest way to achieve the frosted glass look. The applied translucent film is a convenient way to add a strike of color to your bathroom. Compared to other types of glass, you can apply intricate levels of detail using the film technique.
Besides being cost-effective, it is designed to solve issues such as glare, heat gain, safety against projectiles, and – of course – privacy.
This film is shown to reduce utility costs by up to 30-40%. It also costs less, at $6-$14 per square foot. That’s way cheaper than taking out your windows and buying new ones. It’s also cheaper than acid-etching. Like tempered glass, when this glass film breaks, you get a controlled scattering of shards.
These films reflect the sun’s heat and glare during the summer months. And when winter comes, they keep the room warm using this saved up heat energy. That’s added savings for you. Your heating and air conditioning units don’t need to work as hard, giving you incredible energy savings. Plus, these block 99% of UV light, preventing the possible fading of furniture. In some states, you can get rebates on utility costs if you install this type of glass film.
NOTE: Certain window manufacturers will void your warranty if films are installed, so you’ll probably want to check their guarantee statement. It can also be challenging to install films because of added latches and frames – since not all windows are made to support film and achieve a good look. If applied improperly, you’re likely to find bubbles on the window, which can be quite annoying. Like in all things, choose a good brand when buying glass film, preferably those with a certification from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC).
Lacquered Glass: Doors, Cabinets, and Shelves
If you have been dreaming of having more color in the bathroom, this glass is right for you. Lacquered glass lets you add colorful highlights to the room. This type of glass has one surface that’s painted with a high-quality hue that is designed to be resilient.
This is often used in vanities, cabinets, shelves, and other bathroom fixtures to create a beautiful aesthetic. Most manufacturers create these types of glass with heat-resistant technology, making it durable for a bathroom environment.
One-Way Privacy Glass: Windows
Also known as transparent mirrors, these are made with an application of a thin metallic and reflective coating. This coating is called a half-silvered surface since it has reflective molecules, making the glass half-opaque. If light hits the glass, half of the light is reflected back while the other half shines through.
In principle, the idea of an actual one-way mirror cannot exist, since that requires one side to be brightly lit and the other side to be completely dark or dimmed.
In order to give one-way privacy, the reflective film is still the most common and effective method. The film is applied to give the outside of the glass a mirror effect during the day. People outside cannot see through the glass but instead sees a mirror reflection.
Most of the time, this film affects light transmission. But modern-day manufacturing has constantly improved its techniques to keep this loss of light to a minimum (except if you prefer a specialist blackout film), making sure that you’ll likely not even notice that drop of light levels while inside the bathroom.