Satin glass and frosted glass might seem like alien glass types, but chances are you might have seen at least one of them. They are pretty common in home and commercial use.
While both provide some privacy, their properties change depending on how close you are to the glass, the amount of light, and so on.
You can only choose between them if you know the differences between satin glass vs. frosted glass. Today, I will cover these differences and highlight these glass types.
What Is Satin glass?
The satin glass allows only partial light to pass through. That is why; it obscures the things on the other side. It has a clean and smooth finish due to the acid etching that it undergoes.
It has another unique property. You will be able to make out what’s on the other side from nearby. However, as you move away from the glass sheet, it will seem more and more opaque. Consequently, by installing it in a place that doesn’t have anyone nearby, the glass sheet can provide complete privacy.
Below we will cover the different variants of satin glass.
The variants depend on the manufacturing technique used. Most of the satin glass available these days uses acid etching. That is why; the finish is pretty smooth and even.
In case you cannot afford a film attached to a satin glass, there is another option available. In this, the finish is achieved using a self-adhesive film. However, this variant of satin glass is not that famous as its durability is less.
Advantages of Satin glass
There are essentially three advantages of satin glass that help it stand out.
1. Varying Opaqueness
Depending on the distance at which you are from the glass sheet, the opacity of the glass will vary. That is why, if you want to see what’s on the other side or at least decipher, you can move closer to the glass sheet.
However, if you’re installing it in a commercial setting where people are likely to be away from the glass sheet, it can provide excellent privacy.
By installing a single glass sheet, you will be able to get varying opacity which is one of the main reasons satin glass is so popular.
2. Acid Etching
The opaqueness of Satin glass is achieved with the help of acid etching. With acid etching, it will be able to retain the opaqueness over a long time. You need not worry about the glass changing the properties anytime soon.
The acid etching process also makes it highly durable, which is another reason to go with satin glass.
3. Clear Finish
In terms of finishing, satin glass provides you with a completely clear finish. That is why; it becomes easier to amalgamate it into your home’s decor.
Disadvantages of Satin glass
Due to its manufacturing process, satin glass has a disadvantage.
1. Slower Manufacturing Process
The manufacturing process of satin glass is not as seamless as frosted glass. The process of acid etching takes more time and resources. Due to the same, the manufacturing process is slower, and therefore, if you want to order satin glass in bulk, you might face some difficulties in doing so.
What Is Frosted Glass?
Frosted glass is manufactured using a transparent sheet of glass. It turns opaque due to the sandblasting technique. In some rare cases, acid etching might be used as well. Even though it transmits a bit of light, it becomes translucent because of the light scattering.
In modern manufacturing processes, frosted glass is also made by putting a vinyl film on the glass surface. There are frosted glass films, which can also turn the glass opaque.
As you can see, frosted glass can be manufactured with multiple manufacturing processes, and therefore it is widely available and economical as well.
Depending on the manufacturing process, frosted glass can be divided into three different types –
The first type is similar to satin glass – the finishing is achieved by treating the glass with acid. Light can get through this glass but only to a limited extent.
The most common type of frosted glass which you will come across is the sandblasted one. During the manufacturing process of this glass, a high-powered machine is used to spray sand on the glass.
This process is done at such a fast pace that sand particles erode the surface. While it creates a finish, that finish is due to the process used. Due to the sand particles, it is not easy to see on the other side.
Frosted glass can be made by applying a glass film to the surface of the glass. That creates a privacy barrier. However, its durability is once again less.
Advantages of Frosted Glass
When you speak about the advantages of frosted glass, there are quite a few like:
1. Multiple Manufacturing Techniques
Frosted glass can be manufactured using multiple techniques. Some of these techniques allow you to customize the opaqueness or the light scattering property of glass. That way, you can get the glass in the exact shade you want. That is why; you can buy the glass in bulk.
When multiple manufacturing processes are available, needless to say, one of them will be more affordable than the other. That is why frosted glass is available in a variety of budgets. Increased competition also means that it is much more affordable compared to satin glass.
3. Same Level of Privacy
Whether you’re standing close to the glass sheet or at least 10 m away, the level of privacy that frosted glass offers is almost the same. That means, if you aren’t able to see on the other side of the glass sheet from a distance of ten meters, you won’t be able to see the same even if you’re right next to the glass sheet.
It certainly increases the number of applications for which you can use frosted glass.
Disadvantages of Frosted Glass
It’s not as if the frosted glass has only advantages. It has a few shortcomings as well.
1. Low-Temperature Resistance
The temperature resistance of frosted glass is on the lower side. If it suffers from extreme variations in temperature, it might break.
2. No Reprocessing Later
You can give any desired shape and dimensions to frosted glass during the manufacturing process. However, after that, you cannot reprocess it. This is another shortcoming.
Difference between Satin Glass and Frosted Glass
Now that you are aware of each of those glass beads, it is time to look at their differences.
Obscurity refers to the degree of opaqueness in the glass.
Obscurity variation occurs when you move away or towards the satin glass. When it comes to satin glass, it has varying opaqueness. The lesser the distance between the satin glass and you, the more clarity you will have.
That, however, does not mean that if you’re very close to the satin glass, you might be able to see what’s on the other side. There will be the scattering of light, and therefore seeing clearly on the other side is not possible. However, as you move away from the satin glass, the obscurity increases more and more.
On the other hand, Frosted glass has constant obscurity whether you are near the glass or away from it. There is, however, an advantage. You can vary the opaqueness of the frosted glass during the manufacturing process. In a nutshell, it allows customization during manufacturing.
Once you look at the applications of both these types, it is easy to understand how useful each one of them is.
I will go into the details of Satin glass applications.
a. Changing Rooms
Satin glass is often used in changing rooms. It provides not only privacy but proper elegance as well.
Satin glass is also used in signs, as well as decorative patterns. That is because it is easy to paint on satin glass. That is why, with a touch of creativity, you can give it an entirely new look.
Offices are another premises where satin glass is widely used.
Whether you speak about banks, car dealerships, or financial companies, satin glass is widely used as a partition in all these premises.
e. Hospitality Sector
Another widespread application of Satin glass is in the hospitality sector. It is used in restaurants and hotels widely.
Now, we will go into the applications of frosted glass to understand how widely it is used.
f. Shower Stalls
Frosted glass offers you the same level of finesse, no matter where you are. That is why; it is commonly used in shower stalls and bathrooms. The shower stalls are not limited to pools, but it is also used in hotels and resorts.
g. Closet Doors
Closet doors are another popular application of frosted glass. Frosted glass goes pretty well with the home decor. That is why; interior designers often stick to it while manufacturing closet doors.
h. Skylight Windows
Not always, transparent skylights are the perfect solution. Many times, scattering of light is needed in the skylight. Since frosted glass allows light to pass through partially, they are often used in skylights.
i. Living Room Partition
Partitions in living rooms and kitchens, if required, are often made from frosted glass.
Classroom partitions require some opaqueness. However, they require some passage of light through them. That is why; such partitions are made from frosted glass.
In terms of application, both these types of glass have quite a few.
Merely choosing one among these glass types is not good enough. You will have to work on maintaining them. Right from the start, if you choose a glass type that is easy to maintain, your workload will reduce in the future.
Unfortunately, satin glass requires more maintenance. Firstly, it often undergoes the acid etching process during manufacturing. Consequently, you cannot use harsh chemicals to clean it.
When you use milder ones, you might have to clean more frequently or clean in multiple rounds to remove the contaminants, fingerprints, and so on.
Frosted glass, on the other hand, is easy to maintain. It can also handle moisture very well, which reduces the maintenance requirement. You can simply use a vinegar mixture to clean the smudges, dirt, and grime.
In this regard, frosted glass is the winner.
4. Scratch Resistance
Satin glass is unfortunately susceptible to scratches. It undergoes surface treatment for manufacturing. That is why, if you do not handle it carefully, it is prone to scratches. In that case, the aesthetics will be affected, and you cannot do much about the scratch either.
Frosted glass, on the other hand, has an uneven finish itself. That is why it would be visible even if it suffers from scratches. Apart from that, the sandblasted design makes it less prone to scratches.
Thus, frosted glass has a definite advantage when it comes to scratch resistance.
Up until now, you might have noticed that there are quite a few disadvantages of using satin glass.
Why then is it so popular?
That is because of the finish which it offers.
Satin glass is very true to its name. It has a satin and silky smooth finish. Also, it does not have that shine either. When you compare it with another glass finish, it appears almost matte.
You can seldom get such a silky smooth finish in the frosted glass. In fact, the most dominant manufacturing process of frosted glass is sandblasting, which results in an uneven texture.
While uneven texture looks good as well but if you’re looking for something in uneven design, it is difficult to achieve that using frosted glass.
In terms of aesthetics, satin glass, therefore, is the winner.
Without taking into account the cost of satin glass as well as frosted glass, making the buying decision is a mistake.
The satin glass will cost you around $ 400 – 450 per square foot. On the other hand, Frosted glass is around $ 400 per square foot.
A lot also depends on the manufacturing process. If you opt for the film variant in both of them, the cost can be lesser.
The cost is comparable; however, frosted glass is slightly cheaper compared to satin glass.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is satin glass private?
Yes, setting glass is considered private as it obscures your view. You generally won’t be able to decipher what’s on the other side because of the scattering of light. Since the glass sheet undergoes acid treatment, the glass is opaque.
2. What color is satin glass?
The mass-produced satin glass has a slight tint. Blue is the color of the tint. Even though you can get it created in a customized fashion, the one available in the mass market has a blue tint.
3. Is frosted glass toughened?
Yes, frosted glass can be toughened. It undergoes this process after the sandblasting process is complete.
Thus, there is no clear winner when you compare satin glass vs. frosted glass. It all depends on the requirement you have. For example, if you’re looking for a glass sheet that looks elegant, you can go with the satin one. While, if your requirement is for a low-maintenance glass sheet, you can go with the frosted one.
A lot also depends on the application you are planning to use the sheets for. In a nutshell, take into account your requirements and the comparison above, and thereafter you can choose between satin and frosted glass.