Glass is one of the most prominent features on a building, and for good reason. It lets natural light in, provides inhabitants with a view of the outside, and makes interior spaces more welcoming. Glass is now dominant in the structural composition of most buildings. From etched glass to decorative window film, designers are experimenting with ways that set their creations apart from common designs.
Etched Glass Was The Old Way
People often look at glass as a rigid, fragile, and unchangeable material. This is due in part to the overabundance of plain glass we see in many buildings. For so long etched glass has been the main way to customize glass in commercial and residential structures. But glass etching remains a costly, and time-consuming process. This is why customized glass isn’t as common as it really should be.
The two main options for customizing glass are:
- Etched Glass, with the use of chemical—Very costly!
- Decorative window film.
Glass etching entails using acid and other abrasive chemicals to create permanent artistic designs on the surface of the glass. The technique, also known as “French Embossing,” was developed in the mid-1800s—Very expensive!
Techniques Used In Etched Glass
- Acid Etching: Acid etching is the most common technique used to apply patterns to glass. The main acid used in glass etching is hexafluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6)) and it is a colorless acid.
- Abrasive Etching: Also known as “sandblasting,” involves high-pressure air mixed with abrasive materials aimed at the glass to create the desired effect. The abrasive etching is typically used to give glass a “frosted” design—This is no fun!
- Mold Etching: In-mold etching, the art is etched directly onto the mold. This means that each piece of glass already forms with the intended texture on its surface—ugh!
Decorative Window Film
Decorative window films are applied within the surface of the glass. Unlike etched glass, decorative window film can be removed at any time, and the process is less costly—Super economical!
The quick installation for window film means that more designs can be made at a fraction of the cost and time of the etched glass. In addition, decorative window film can be removed without damaging or scratching the glass.
- Textures: Touching textured window film gives the same feel as touching the etched glass. With window film it’s easy to create repeated and consistent patterns across an entire slab of glass. Also, window film still allows a controllable portion of the light to pass through. This can create an eye-catching 3-D prismatic effect.
- Gradients: Gradients are features in the ultra-modern smart films that electronically transition from opaque to clear. This can add a unique element of design to any open space. Also, gradients allow for unobstructed views through the glass in each direction. Perfect for added privacy without the need for walls. With window film, the direction of the gradient, and the intensity of the transition can be customized with a slight electric current.
- Frosts: Decorative window film can create a frosted effect at nearly one-third the cost of etched glass. Frosts are perfect for added privacy without blocking the transmission of light to a room. There are more varieties of frost glass available with window film than there are for etched glass.
- Colors: Tinted windows add unique colors to glass spaces. It can also contribute to the desired characteristic of space and help people find their way through an office. If you get tired of the color, simply have the tint removed and change it to another one.
Why wait? Start exploring your decorative film options today. At Doctor Window Tint® we provide hands-on service at your convenience. Scheduling a consultation is the first step to transforming your home or office!