Your Guide To Obscure Glass

When you are designing and decorating your home, you want to pay attention to every single element of your surroundings. While it may be obvious that you want to get the right colour for your walls and lay down new flooring, you should also begin considering what glass you need in your home.

Obscure glass is one type of window that you will probably want in at least a couple of places in your home. But what is obscure glass? What is it used for? What are its benefits? Read on to discover the answers to these questions and more.

Obscured Glass For Bathroom Window

What Is Obscure Glass?

Obscure glass is a kind of glass popularly used for household windows. This glass reduces how much can be seen through the pane. One can usually see shapes and light through obscure glass, however, there is no clarity of vision – the room is “obscured” behind the glass.

What Is Obscure Glass Used For & Where Is It Used?

Obscure glass is used to increase privacy for a room, or rooms, within a home.

It can be used for internal dividing doors, or for front doors to create an increased sense of privacy while allowing light to enter the home.

However, it is most commonly used for bathroom windows, so that the occupants can be obscured from view, even when the lights are on.

Closeup On A Frosted Glass

The Types of Obscure Glass

There are many different types of obscure glass to suit your needs. Obscure glass is float glass, which is then treated to create its textured and blurring appearance. Float glass is also known as modern glass.

Another type of obscure glass is toughened glass. This is a type of glass that has been tempered and is five times the strength of ordinary glass, making it a good choice for external windows. It is very resistant to breakage; however, when it does break, the pieces will fall out of place.

The last type of obscure glass is laminate glass. Laminate glass is similarly strong to toughened glass – however, when laminate glass is broken, the pieces tend to stay in place as opposed to falling out.

Toughened and laminate glass tends to serve a more functional purpose – to be more sturdy or retain broken pieces to avoid injury. Obscure glass is usually more decorative and serves to provide privacy without removing access to natural light.


Frosted glass is float glass which has been treated with sand-blasting or acid etching to add tiny dimples to the surface. This means that light can still pass through, but the see-through effect of the regular glass is disturbed. Frosted glass is a very popular option for windows where you’d like a high degree of privacy as it is more opaque than other obscure glass options like rippled or bubbled glass. For a decorative effect, stencils can be applied prior to the treatment to create designs in the frosting, such as florals, trees, animals or geometric.


Bubbled glass has small air pockets included in the molten glass before it is poured and set. The result is an exciting texture that offers a degree of privacy, as light doesn’t pass easily through the bubbles. Bubbled glass is a popular choice in bathrooms as it mimics the appearance of water droplets. One side of the glass is usually smooth, so cleaning is very simple and not an issue even with the bubbled surface.


Ribbed glass is created by disturbing the surface of molten glass while it is cooling with rollers or air, to create waves on the surface, much like the wind does over the surface of water. The result is a mostly transparent glass with small lines breaking it up. As it doesn’t provide a high degree of privacy, it is mostly used for internal windows like doors where being able to see through isn’t as much of an issue.


Patterned glass is glass that has been poured over a plate or mould that imprints a design onto the front of the glass. The designs range from geometric and modern to a more old-fashioned floral or natural style. This kind of glass is popular for use in french doors as you would want to showcase the incredible craftsmanship that goes into it. Patterned glass may also mimic the style of stained glass if this is something you’d prefer.

Patterned glass can also have less distinct designs, and can range into more simple and abstract patterns. Common patterns include Cathedral (a larger dappled pattern), Spotswood (smaller dimples but not as small as frosted glass) and Satinlite (small checked pattern).

The Benefits of Using Obscure Glass

  • Privacy without losing natural light
  • Dividing large rooms without heavy drapes or solid walls, allowing people, heat and light to flow through
  • Statement piece that can be customised to your style with etching
  • Use natural light for lighting, saving money on energy bills

Obscure glass is a fantastic alternative to having heavy blinds or curtains hanging in a room, or to having a completely wooden door. It permits light to enter a room or entryway without removing the element of privacy that these alternatives grant. It can also be etched in a number of ways in order to match your own unique style and the look and feel of your home. It is essential for many homes, and it continues to be an up-to-date and stylish choice for all types of households.

As you can see, obscure glass is a wonderful addition to any home. However, keeping your glass looking great is not always easy – cracks and breakages do happen.

Applications of Obscure Glass

  • Windows into private areas such as bathrooms or bedrooms
  • Room dividers
  • Front doors, for privacy and decoration
  • Backsplashes in kitchens, for easy cleanup
  • Tabletops on side tables or coffee tables
  • Skylights to diffuse harsh sunlight

Contact Us

If you have obscure glass in your own home, or any other kind of glass windows, in need of repair, then get in touch with A.S.A.P Glass. We are experts in glass repair on the Gold Coast, and we understand that you want your glass to look its best. Let us know how we can help you get your windows looking new.