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What is Acid Etched Glass?

There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing glass panels for your home. Matte, frosted, opaque, translucent, and acid etched glass are some of the terms you may come across. Among the different processes of glass production, acid etching technique offers the best quality and performance.

In commercial etching, glass is either acid etched or sandblasted.  The method you choose ultimately depends on your project requirement.

What is Acid Etched Glass?

Acid etched glass refers to a sheet of float glass that has been treated with hydrofluoric acid. Upon applying acid, the glass permanently changes into a smooth matte translucent surface.

Indeed, acid etching has a distinctive satin-like appearance that lets light through while providing vision control.

It produces a finished surface that is smoother to the touch and easier to maintain. It does not degrade nor wear, does not discolor or pickle, and stays smudge-free for an extended period. Glass that is acid treated is also resistant to common cleaners and humidity.

Acid etching gives glass the ability to withstand stress. This durability allows you cut it into any shape or size easily.

Moreover, it is practical for both interior and exterior applications. In commercial settings, etched glass is found in bathrooms, kitchens, doors, partitions, and balustrades. Residential applications often include:

  • Walls
  • Shower and bath enclosures
  • Interior and exterior doors
  • Windows
  • Railings
  • Interior partitions
  • Shelves

Do it on both sides if the glass is thick enough. Adding back-painting gives it a contemporary, classic feel.

Acid Etched vs. Sandblasted Glass

Acid etched and sandblasted glass may be similar in style but differ in the end result. Both techniques apply abrasives to give the glass a frosted look.

Sandblasting involves high-pressure blasting of sand particles to erode the glass surface. Do this by hand or machine. The technique creates the rough surface and translucent look of frosted glass. In sandblasting, you can choose the level of glass opacity. The process guarantees good quality etching with a faster lead time. Designs are readily available with plenty of room for custom details. One disadvantage of sandblasting is that the glass attracts fingerprints that require more maintenance.

Acid etching is perfect for more complex designs. The technique creates a smooth, satin appearance which gives the glass a true frosted look. You can choose from various degrees of transparency and types of finishes. Besides, acid etching leaves a permanent design that will not peel, chip or wear out.

Moreover, acid etched glass is less likely to attract fingerprint marks, so it is low maintenance. It is also more economical than sandblasted glass. Unfortunately, acid etched glass is not readily available as it is often produced overseas. Acid etching is also less versatile when it comes to custom designs.

Commercial sandblasting is best suited for large projects that require consistent, high-quality finish. It is also ideal for simple designs on window panels that need fully-frosted glass.

Tips for Buying Acid Etched Glass

One of the most significant benefits of etched glass is its versatility. It can be as opaque or as transparent as you like. This characteristic is essential when privacy is a factor in choosing the type of glass.

The level of opacity or transparency of etched glass depends on where you install the finished product. Are you buying glass panels for room partitions? Glass shower enclosures? Office cubicles? Public spaces?

Glass companies usually offer two options – opacity and gradient. Etched glass gradients can start at 20 percent and end at 80 percent. With light dusting, one can achieve a 10 percent to 20 percent opacity level. Heavy glass frosting can yield zero clarity for full privacy while still allowing light to penetrate the glass. You can also find a perfectly clear glass panel that fades into a 100% full-frost with zero opacity.

When ordering frosted etched glass, you need to specify the level of opacity you want. The range is 0 percent (fully clear) to 100 percent (fully opaque). You should also tell the glassmaker where the opacity specifically starts and ends in between a range.

For Quality Glass in Chandler AZ, Contact Glass King

Glass King makes true acid etched glass for residential and commercial applications. From home windows to store-front glass displays, Glass King has become the leader in glass repair in Arizona. Not only do we offer great pricing – we pay attention to detail and show up with a customer-first attitude.

Our glass repair services maintain the highest standards to deliver superior etched glass. Soft to the touch, our frosted glass is easy to clean and highly resistant to stains and marks. Tell us where you want to install a glass panel. Let us know the level of privacy you need and how much light needs to go through. Glass King will take the worry out of repairing or replacing your glass window, door, or partition.

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