Decorative Glass for Windows and Doors: The Basics and Beyond


Decorative glass is relatively self-explanatory. After all, it is just that: glass that has decorative elements. We’ve included photos of some examples here.

The product can serve a variety of functions. First and foremost, it is used to enhance the aesthetics of a space, whether it’s a design in the glass on your door or a backsplash in your kitchen. It can also provide privacy, depending on the application. Decorative glass can come in many different forms and can go through various production methods.

While we’re going to focus more on the door and window aspect here, let’s first go over a few types of decorative glass that you may not have heard of.  Most can be used in window and door applications, as well as other residential uses.

Types of Decorative Glass

Here are a few of the more popular decorative glass types, and how they are produced:

  • Frosted Glass: This is glass that diffuses or scatters light and has a “frosted” appearance. It can be produced by a variety of methods, including etching with chemicals, sandblasting, abrasives and engraving. (Note: Sandblasting is when high-velocity air is used to spray a stream of particles against the surface to create this effect.)
  • Laser-Etched Glass: With this type of decorative glass, an image may be engraved into the surface using laser technology. This method of etching allows for a very detailed engraving.
  • Patterned glass: In patterned glass, the surface is imprinted with a texture or pattern at high temperatures while in the malleable state.
  • Silvered Glass: Silvered glass has a surface treatment applied to create a reflective or mirrored feature.
  • Stained Glass: This is made up of colored glass pieces combined to form decorative designs, like the ones you see in church windows.
  • Painted/backpainted glass: This refers to an opaque glass surface that is completely covered by a coating, such as silicone. It is obtainable in solid and metallic colors.
  • Fritted Glass: Fritted glass achieves its look when ceramic enamel is fired onto the glass at extremely high temperatures.
  • Digital Art Glass: Digital images can be printed onto glass or onto films that are applied to glass.
  • Fused Glass: This is created by melting in a kiln and fusing two or more types/colors of glass together.
  • Laminated Decorative Glass: This consists of two or more pieces of glass bonded with a plastic interlayer in the middle. Interlayers may be in clear, translucent and opaque forms with colors and graphic designs.

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Serving its Purpose

Decorative glass is much more than a pretty feature for homeowners. It can also boost privacy while still allowing natural light to flow into a residence. This glass makes it difficult, if not impossible, to discern what is on the other side of it with any clarity. It’s one of many smaller upgrades that can increase the resale value of a home.

Decorative glass is popular in entrances. Glass textures and decorative designs built into the window and doors can provide occupants a warm, inviting welcome into the house.

Window and door manufacturers have upped their game in recent years to implement decorative glass into their products. These designs can be paired with certain styles of framing and different frame colors to achieve a desired look. Whether you’re looking for a classic or contemporary look, there is likely decorative glass product for you.

Maintaining Performance

Sure, you may be replacing your standard, transparent entryway glass with something more elegant, but you don’t need to sacrifice the thermal performance that your old doors and windows provided.

These various decorative glass types typically can be implemented into an insulating glass unit like the one you have (or had) before. Even low emissivity coatings may still be used to further improve performance and minimize the effect of UV rays.

Some Examples

Many companies in the window and door industry offer decorative glass in a range of styles with their products.

Provia, for example, produces hand-beveled decorative glass by precisely cutting, mitering and soldering each component into artistically designed patterns. The company says its decorative art glass seeks visual character through aesthetic imperfections that mimic the hand-made custom sheet glass of centuries past.

RSL is another company that specializes in decorative glass. It has a product that features a unique honeycomb-patterned textured glass for both privacy and style.

Specialization is also an option. For example, GlassWorks North America recently introduced new flat glass laser-engraving technology. It has the ability to engrave gray-scale images, and even 3-D images, into the glass.

Start Looking

These are just a few of the many examples of what’s out there. Ready to start browsing for your next decorative glass window or door? Submit an inquiry at Glass.com, and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

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