Obscure Glass

Obscure Glass & Frosted Glass

At Everest, we offer 19 styles of patterned and frosted glass as a choice for our windows and doors. Find out what obscure glass is, what it can be used for and the different patterns we offer.

Obscure glass

What Is Obscure Glass?

Obscure glass covers a type of glass that includes frosted glass, patterned glass, textured glass and privacy glass that all have reduced transparency. Visibility through the pane of glass is limited and this is most often used in bathrooms and homes for privacy.

Frosted, or privacy glass, is opaque so that light can transmit, but you can't see through the glass. Patterned and textured glass obscures the view so that it's transparent in varying degrees.

Types of Obscure Glass

Frosted Glass

Glass can be given an opaque or frosted translucent appearance by acid-etching to produce fine detailed patterns.

Textured Glass

Glass can be obscured by creating a textured pattern into glass.

How Obscure Glass Is Made

Obscure glass is created from standard annealed glass, or it can be created from toughened or laminated glass if safety standards are also required.


To apply a frosted and translucent finish to glass, an acid or caustic substance is applied that eats into and removes the surface glass creating a slightly rough imprint. This process is applied after the glass has been manufactured.

Glass can have a solid frosting for maximum translucency and privacy, or be used to create artistic and geometric patterns. Acid-etching is also popular on door glazing for the application of numbers and words, such as a house name or number.

Glass that has been acid etched has an even surface.

Textured Glass

Patterned or textured glass has the pattern pressed into the glass while the glass is still in its molten state on the production line.

During manufacturing, a molten sheet of glass is passed through rollers with a pattern mould, this imprints into the glass and then the glass is quickly cooled for the pattern to remain. Patterned glass has an uneven and textured surface in varying degrees and can be textured on one or both sides.

Different Glass Types for Different Needs

View the Everest range of specialist glass and glazed units.

Can You See Through Frosted Glass?

The transparency is defined on a rating scale from 1-5, with 1 being the most transparent (see-through) and 5 the most translucent (opaque). Obscure glass can offer a range of privacy levels as this is dependent on the amount of decorative etching applied.

In daylight, obscure glass does offer a reasonable level of privacy, but at night when it's dark outside and there is a light inside, the window may be more transparent. Solid frosted glass is more opaque than patterned glass and not easy to see through, even at night.

What Is Obscure Glass Used For?

Obscure glass is most commonly used for bathroom windows to provide privacy whilst allowing light into the room. For bathrooms, we recommend a privacy rating of 4/5.

Obscure glass can also be used in front or back external door glazed panels for privacy but to allow light into a dark hallway or room. Or, for security purposes in back doors. For secluded doors, we recommend choosing a laminated option for additional security.

Obscure glass can also be used for windows in living spaces or bedrooms adjacent to roads or paths, or where they are overlooked by neighbours.

Obscure glass can also be used for decorative effects in door glazing. Obscure glass with a privacy rating of 1 is often used as decorative panels for doors.

Note that in critical locations, glass must have a safety classification of BS EN 12600 for areas such as:

  • Glazed doors and glazing adjacent to doors
  • Low-level glazing
  • Bathroom areas
  • Balconies and balustrades
  • Furniture and cabinets
  • Glass partitions and walls

At Everest, we can provide your obscure glass as either toughened or laminated upgrades to ensure it meets safety standards.

Obscure Glass Patterns

Warwick glass

Privacy Level 1

Chantilly glass

Privacy Level 2

Minster glass

Privacy Level 2

Sycamore glass

Privacy Level 2

Canterbury glass

Privacy Level 2

Taffeta glass

Privacy Level 3

Digital glass

Privacy Level 3

Autumn glass

Privacy Level 3

Mayflower glass

Privacy Level 4

Florielle glass

Privacy Level 4

Oak glass

Privacy Level 4

Charcoal glass

Privacy Level 4

Stippolyte glass

Privacy Level 4

Arctic glass

Privacy Level 4

Contora glass

Privacy Level 4

Pelerine glass

Privacy Level 5

Cotswold glass

Privacy Level 5

Everglade glass

Privacy Level 5

White diffusa glass
White Diffusa

Privacy Level 5

Commonly Asked Questions

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    How is obscure glass made?

    There are 2 types of obscure glass which is either acid etched which creates a frosted appearance and is made by taking a standard glass sheet and applying acid which creates the frosting appearance this can then be etched to create patterns. Some obscure glass has a texture applied which is added in the manufacturing process by passing over special moulds to create the effect. Everest offers a range of both acid-etched and textured glass.

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    Can you see through frosted glass?

    Obscure and frosted glass is rated in levels of privacy from 1 to 5 with 1 being almost transparent to 5 which is opaque and not possible to see through. Frosted glass can offer a range of privacy levels as this is dependent on the amount of decorative etching applied.

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    What is the difference between frosted glass and obscure glass?

    Obscure glass is a category name for any glass type that offers some level of a reduction in transparency. Frosted glass offers the ability to reduce visibility through the glass and is distinguished by its white opaque frosting.

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    What other types of glass are available?

    You may be surprised by the number of glass options for your new windows, and it is important to understand which would be best suited to your requirements. Low E glass is a great option for energy efficiency. Low Iron glass offers high clarity and energy efficiency. Toughened glass is five times stronger than regular glass and laminated glass contains a plastic interlayer offering better insulation and resistance against damage.

We Can Help You Choose the Right Glass for Your Home

Book your free quotation appointment with one of our local consultants who will discuss your requirements, show you samples and provide you with a free no-obligation quote.