Etched and Frosted Glass: What’s the Difference?

June 20, 2018 10:37 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

There may come a time when you need to look into commercial glass replacement in Santa Fe, NM. It could be that a glass surface, door or wall was destroyed in an accident or break-in, or you simply want to switch out old glass for new decorative glass. So, what are your options? You may have come across the terms “etched glass” and “frosted glass” while searching for information online. They both look nice, and you think you might consider either one or both for glass replacement, but what’s the difference?

The difference between etched glass and frosted glass

The first thing to note is that etched glass is the generic term for decorative glass, and frosted glass is another term for translucent glass. These types of glass are pretty, but are meant to obscure while still allowing diffused light to filter through. The great thing is that both etched and frosted glass have a place in commercial settings—such as being used for interior or exterior doors, installed for screens or partitions and used in kitchens and bathrooms:

  • Etched glass: Etching is a process used to alter the glass surface to create a decorative look. Most etched decorations are formed into artwork, lettering or numbers or decorative patterns.
  • Frosted glass: Frosting is a process used to change the surface of the glass from a transparent state to a translucent state in order to create an opaque, almost cloudy appearance.

How etched and frosted glass are produced

When it comes to commercial etching, production is done in one of two ways: the glass is either acid-etched or sandblasted. The method that’ll work best for you depends on your specific commercial glass project:

  • Acid-etched glass: The term “acid-etched glass,” also called “French embossing,” is a rather old decorative glass technique, but today acid-etchings are done carefully using a mask to create artwork, intricate designs, fancy lettering and fine patterns. A professional can achieve your preferred level of opacity, as well as enhance the designs by back-painting patterns.
  • Sandblasted glass: Whether you want fully frosted glass or glass with a simple design for your commercial project, know that commercial sandblasting is likely your best choice. Sandblasting can be done by hand or using a machine—either way, the process involves blasting high-pressure sand particles at the glass to erode the surface. The tiniest amount of glass is removed to create that classic rough surface and translucent quality of frosted glass. Additionally, the depth and intensity of sandblasting can be controlled to match your desired level of opacity.

If you are deciding between etched and frosted glass, keep in mind that your decision will depend on the purpose of the glass, how much privacy you want and the amount of light you want to filter through.

When you need commercial glass replacement in Santa Fe, NM, make sure your first call is to the folks at Santa Fe Glass & Mirror. We offer glass sandblasting services to ensure eye pleasing etched glass every time. Call us today for an estimate or to learn more about your commercial glass options!

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