Here’s our picture gallery of frosted glass shower doors along with the different types, bathroom design options, cleaning tips, and their comparison to clear glass shower doors. Frosted glass shower doors provide the needed privacy and promote a more hygienic shower surface, adding a luxurious and updated look. Since introducing glass shower enclosures, many homeowners have switched from conventional shower curtains to custom glass doors.
These traditional shower curtains are mostly made from vinyl or polyester materials. Other fabrics, such as cotton and microfiber, are available. The problem with these textiles is that they can easily get in the way while showering and can harbor mold and mildew when not regularly maintained.
With frosted glass shower doors, you’ve got a solid enclosure that’s easy to clean and maintain. Continue reading to find the frosted glass shower doors benefits and disadvantages of using this type of opaque shower enclosure.
What Is Frosted Glass?
A frosted glass (or privacy glass) is tempered glass with an opaque appearance of around 10 to 20 % opacity. It is mostly made by acid etching or the sandblasting process. As the glass thickness increases, so as its durability.
Frosted glass has a standard thickness of 6mm. An 8mm or 10mm glass is a recommended thickness for heavy use as it ensures good structural integrity.
Frosted glass is extensively used in the building industry, mainly for commercial structures both for interior and exterior surfaces. Office spaces, for instance, use frosted glass to provide private or semi-private office areas and can also be used to allow a degree of light and view to passing through the material.
For homes and the hospitality industry, frosted glass is mainly used for bathroom spaces where privacy is needed. The opaque glass can be frosted entirely or partially, where some parts are left unpitted, allowing maximum light to pass through.
The pitted surface is on only one side of the glass, and when light transmits, the light scatters, still allowing light to pass through while having blurred visibility.
Types Of Frosted Type Glasses
The most common processes used are acid-etched and sandblasting to create frosted glass. Due to the availability of modern techniques and demands, applications are added to these common processes.
• Acid-etched Glass or French Embossing. One of the longest techniques in decorative glass, acid-etching is a process using hydrochloric acid, which is applied to both sides of the glass to achieve a blurry effect.
The tempered glass will now have a blurry finish, thus obscuring the images on the other side of the glass.
• Sandblasted Glass. Another common method of creating the frosted effect is using the sandblasting technique.
Here the glass is etched using sand or other abrasive material and water. The level of opaqueness can be adjusted from medium to heavy, which makes it a versatile method.
• Ceramic Frit Silk Screened Glass. The ceramic frit screened glass is used to add a range of different colors and shapes. The method uses ceramic to be painted on the glass surface.
Using powder ceramic, these components are heated and then cooled, which uses a frit that is applied to the glass using heat. This gives a permanent effect to the tempered glass.
• Translucent Interlayer Laminated Glass. When one opts for laminated glass instead of tempered glass, a frosted look can be achieved using the translucent interlayer laminated glass method. The interlayer is frosted and then sandwiched using a polyvinyl butyl or PVB.
Laminated glass though less strong than tempered glass, will break with the broken glass still intact on a plastic layer, unlike tempered glass, which breaks into smaller pieces.
• Applied Translucent Film. A textured film is applied on the surface of the glass shower enclosure, which can be professionally removed if needed. It adds a layer of insulation, and some films can block away harmful UV rays.
Translucent Shower Doors
Generally, tempered glass is used in all types of glass enclosures. The difference with frosted glass is that one side is acid etched or sandblasted to create the opaque effect.
Sliding frosted glass shower doors will need a 6mm to 8mm thickness to make sure the glass can easily slide through the tracks while ensuring durability.
Frosted Doors for the Bathroom Pros and Cons
Pros of Frosted Glass Shower Doors
• Provides Privacy. For bathrooms used by more than one person, frosted glass shower doors are a sensible option preventing anyone from walking on a person taking a shower. Moreover, the opaque glass door provides a sense of security and coziness, especially with large and spacious bathrooms.
• Keeps Water Inside The Shower Area. One of the problems with shower curtains is that it tends to have splashed water slide down the bottom of the fabric and can get stuck outside your water dam strip or threshold. A frosted glass door contains potential water from the shower area, minimizing the need to wipe off excess water and soap drippings that can get into floor rugs.
• Allows in Natural Light. Day-lighting is one of the most effective ways to kill bacteria and other harmful microorganisms that can thrive in dark and moist environments. Natural light can also uplift the mood of a space and helps keep areas dry faster.
While some frosted glass does filter UV rays which have the main disinfecting properties, the absence of UV rays can minimize damage on material surfaces over time.
• Saves you on Energy Bills. Allowing natural light to pass through enclosed spaces minimizes the need for increased lighting wattage. In addition, frosted glass can maintain the ideal indoor temperature since the filtered sunlight minimizes heat gain and prevents cool air from entering during the colder months.
• Additional Layer of Protection. Tempered glass is safe and virtually impenetrable, which means it doesn’t easily break, and when it shatters, it breaks into small pieces preventing sharp edges from flying off into shards.
• Easy to Maintain. Bathroom upkeep, especially the shower area, can be frustrating and time-consuming; with a frosted glass door, the smooth surface can be wiped clean with a damp cloth without the need for special detergents.
Most frosted glass today is installed with a frameless shower enclosure and is held using stainless-steel hinges, joints, and brackets. Stainless steel shower door handles, support bars, and other hardware fixtures won’t rust, preventing corroded material from seeping through crevices and joints.
• Maximizes Space. With a thinner profile and versatility, frosted glass can be easily customized to fit your needs and the available space. Irregular or corner shower areas can also be accommodated with a custom frosted glass enclosure. They are also easily disassembled when you need to replace or renovate your room.
• Long Service Life. With proper maintenance and the use of high-quality materials, a frosted glass door can last around 20 to 30 years. There are frosted glass manufacturers who do provide a lifetime warranty to their customers.
Cons of Frosted Glass Shower Doors
• Cost. Glass as a building material is costly compared to your conventional shower door materials as high temperatures are required during the manufacturing process of the raw materials. For frosted glass, the additional process of creating the frosted effect will add to the cost.
Moreover, frosted glass enclosures and doors will need stainless steel hardware and shower accessories, adding to the overall cost of installing the opaque glass.
• Not Safe for Earthquake Prone Zones. Locations with constant earthquake tremors or places along the seismic belts may consider installing a frosted glass door enclosure, especially for wide spans of frosted glass enclosures. Glass, in general, is not designed to take up the horizontal loads and movements caused by earthquakes.
Currently, there is no advanced technology to make glass earthquake resistant apart from laminated glass, which is seen to perform well for seismic applications. Additional treatments may be performed on a frosted glass door but can be expensive.
• Alkali Corrosion. Like any other type of glass, frosted glass can corrode when enough exposure to solutions with high alkali solution. As an average homeowner will unknowingly use solutions or detergents with high alkali content, it is best to regularly maintain and clean frosted glass doors and enclosures regularly.
• Acid-etched Frosted Glass Cannot be Recycled. Any glass that has undergone chemical processes cannot be recycled as the chemical components can be harmful to the environment, contaminating water and other natural resources. However, sandblasted frosted glass, which did not undergo any chemical treatment, is recyclable.
• Pitted Surface Can Be Difficult to Clean. There are shower glass enclosures with textured surfaces that can be difficult to clean as soap and debris accumulate over time on the pitted surface.
Types of Opaque Doors for the Shower Area
A partially frosted glass shower door allows you to get the maximum light possible into a shower area while achieving the needed privacy. Most of the middle part of a shower enclosure is frosted, while the rest of the upper (head level) and lower area (feet level) are left with clear glass.
This also allows a person to bathe in a view outside of the shower area. Other designs choose to have the lower 2/3rds of the shower enclosure frosted, leaving only the upper area with clear glass.
Partially frosted glass is typically manufactured using the sandblasting technique, where abrasive sanding under high pressure is applied to achieve a rough surface.
Also termed tinted glass, smoked glass shower doors provide a level of privacy depending on how dark the tint is. The most common color is black, which can add depth and create an industrial and modern look together with other contemporary materials.
There are other colors available for black, such as yellow, brown, blue, or green tints. A smoked glass frosted glass shower door will employ both glass treatments where usually the upper and lower parts are tinted with the rest in a frosted appearance. This increases the level of privacy and the feeling of security as the middle are opaque while the head and foot levels are tinted.
While tinted glass shower doors can add depth, they can make a shower area look heavy and cramped, especially for black tints. A lighter color such as white for shower walls and floors can balance this effect while creating an appealing contrast between the elements.
Modern bathrooms feature less use of elaborate designs with sleek and simple elements. The modern frosted shower doors are a perfect addition to a modern bathroom as they have that streamlined and luxurious quality.
A completely frameless frosted glass shower achieves the best minimal look needed with its light, sleek profile and translucency. Semi-frameless and brushed metal frames will easily fall under the modern look, but the frameless version has the most updated look among the framing designs.
Modern glass shower doors also include hinged door formats, reversible left and right handles, and sliding doors.
Glass Door Designs
• Frosted Glass Sliding Shower Doors. The frosted glass sliding shower doors are installed with a track and roller hardware allowing the doors to open by sliding along these tracks. The sliding direction depends on the number of doors and available clearance.
A double shower door can have each door leaf open and slide to each side; a single shower door will open, sliding to the right or left.
• Frosted Glass Pivot Shower Doors. Pivot doors operate like a typical door mounted using a pivot hinge installed top to bottom, allowing the door to spin vertically. When pivots are installed to the left or right of the door, they will swing like the common door, while pivots installed in the middle will function like a revolving door.
These allow more movement compared to hinged doors and are more costly. Frosted glass pivot shower doors are perfect for tightly spaced bathrooms.
• Hinged Frosted Glass Shower Door. Like your typical door, two hinges are installed to mount the glass panel on a wall, making it swing out when entering the shower area. Since the hinges can be positioned at any height, glass panels can be off the ground level when preferred.
The swing-out installation of a hinged frosted glass shower door requires door clearance, making it space-consuming for smaller bathrooms.
• Frosted Glass Frameless Shower Door. Features a sleek and clean aesthetic; the frosted glass frameless shower door, as the term implies, does not need a frame to hold the glass panels.
This feature needs a thicker tempered glass, where a 1/2” thickness is recommended. The frameless door can be mounted with hinged, pivot, sliding, and bi-fold hardware.
• Bi-fold Shower Doors with Frosted Glass. A bifold shower door with frosted glass will have a set of two glass panels where each is mounted on the opposite sides. Thus, the door panels open at the center pivoting on the sides.
Types of Shower Door Frosted Glass
Commonly manufactured using acid etching or sandblasting, the frosted shower glass features an opaque appearance while allowing light to pass through the glass.
Frosted Etched Glass
The etching of frosted glass doors is mainly applied to create a decorative design such as a pattern, text, or artwork. Glass etching can either be by hand or manufactured by the supplier.
A more affordable way to achieve frosted glass shower doors is by applying a frosted film. The gradient film is applied on a clean surface using a special solution. To avoid bubble formation and uneven surface, the glass surface is cleaned thoroughly, removing oils and dust.
Aside from being less costly, a frosted film for glass shower doors is that it can be professionally removed without damaging the glass. Moreover, a frosted film can be laser cut, so the design options are endless, giving your shower glass a customizable design.
Suppliers provide different types of patterns, textures, and degrees of opacity for a completely customizable frosted glass door.
How to Clean Frosted Doors?
Compared to other shower door materials, frosted glass is easy to maintain. Regular cleaning is advisable when it comes to your frosted glass shower doors to prevent stains and other impurities from sticking hard on your glass doors.
Water and vinegar are the best cleaning agents to clean frosted glass as they don’t have harmful chemicals that can damage your glass material and release harmful fumes.
• Purified Water. The best type of water to use is purified water since it won’t leave marks and can easily break up impurities. Do not use tap water as it may leave stains and contains chemicals such as sodium, copper, and calcium, which can leave ugly marks.
• Vinegar with Baking Soda. When you get textured frosted glass, removing accumulated dirt on the pitted surfaces can be tricky and require a stronger cleaning agent than water. Vinegar with baking soda can be used to help loosen the dirt.
Use a 50/50 ratio of vinegar and water. You may also at two tablespoons of lemon juice to your vinegar solution, which acts as an antibacterial agent.
Step 1. Mix Vinegar and Baking Soda. For every half cup of baking soda, use one cup of vinegar. Mix the vinegar and baking soda in a bowl until you can a paste consistency.
Step 2. Apply the Mixture to the Frosted Glass Surface. Apply the mixture to the glass surface using paper towels with a grid or a microfiber cloth. Generously apply the solution to stained areas, then let the cleaning mixture settle for a few minutes. A soft brush can also be used to apply the cleaning mixture.
Step 3. Wash Off Solution. After brushing off, wash off the cleaning solution by pouring clean water. For stained spots, use a clean cloth to help remove softened debris, then pour water to remove dirt.
Step 4. When stains and spots are still present, you can repeat the process to achieve a thoroughly cleaned frosted glass surface. For stubborn dirt that can’t be removed from the cleaning process, you may opt for stain removal agents that are made for glass surfaces.
• Clean Quickly. During the summer months, the temperature can cause the cleaning agents to dry off quickly when not rinsed immediately, adding to stained spots and streaks.
When cleaning, make sure you have all your cleaning supplies near and ready in your bathroom. A spraying bottle can also help speed up the process, along with microfiber and a sponge.
Frosted Vs. Clear Glass
Choosing between frosted glass and a clear glass shower door always helps define your needs and priorities. Both are aesthetically pleasing, with each having unique features.
• Translucency. Frosted glass will appear opaque. Thus, light is diffused, minimizing the light coming through the glass shower door. There will be a need for additional artificial lighting that can light up your shower during the day.
Other than privacy, the advantage of an opaque glass enclosure is that it does not show water spots or stains easily. Fingerprints and smudges are also less visible than your clear glass shower doors.
Clear glass shower doors, on the other hand, provide the maximum light through the shower area. This is advantageous for bathrooms with limited window openings.
There is frosted glass that is coated instead of the etched or sandblasted effect, which can leave the shower glass completely opaque, which means minimal light can penetrate through. However, it does provide complete privacy to your shower area.
• Maintenance. Clear glass is generally more challenging to maintain as the 100% translucency can show marks and smudges. There will be a need for regular wiping and cleaning of the clear glass door. Frosted glass is easier to maintain as dirt and stains are not easily visible.
• Privacy. An opaque enclosure provides the needed privacy when showering, avoiding someone walking on you during this intimate time. With multiple users for one bathroom, frosted glass is highly recommended.
For more related articles about frosted glass, visit our gallery of frosted glass backsplash designs on this page.