As an old proverb suggests, everything new is well-forgotten old. So is specialty glass. Specialty glass, such as stained glass has existed for many centuries with the first examples of it dated as early as 6th century. In the Middle Ages the increasing number of new churches led to the increasing demand for stained glass. It was becoming more and more popular in Medieval Europe, especially in France, Germany and England. Stained glass windows could be seen in churches, wealthy homes and public buildings. Made by hand, each of them was a unique piece of art, offering astounding details in a wide range of colors. The ancient masters had found the formula for making glass of different colors – from green to pink.
Today, specialty glass enjoys its renaissance and comes in wide array of textures, forms and colors. Modern technologies have significantly advanced offering several different techniques of glass treatment. Patterned and acid etched, laminated and stained glass– each of them have their individual features and properties, as well as styles and designs. The purpose of glass has grown beyond offering more light into the living space. Modern doors with specialty glass make their own statement about the owner’s taste, style and standards of life.
Patterned or textured glass has numerous applications. It can be used for light control, the level of privacy and/or for decorative purposes. The manufacturing process involves passing molten glass through steel rollers with a specific pattern that is being imprinted on glass. The glass is then slowly cooled to be cut to size. The varying levels of opacity give the textured glass the power to control the amount of light and the level of privacy you want in your living space.
The range of designs for patterned glass is enormous, varying from the simplest to the most sophisticated, from geometrical shapes to natural landscapes.
Patterned glass can be a stylish way to make a statement in your home décor and at the same time to achieve the level of privacy that will make you feel comfortable and relaxed.
Another way of creating patterns on glass is acid etching. The process of acid etching is the application of hexafluorosilicic acid to the glass surface. This technique can be used to create traditional frosted glass, but it can also be used to create various patterns and designs on previously blown or cast glass.
Frosted glass is the most popular type of acid-etched glass and has a variety of applications due to its simplicity and opacity. Being quite inexpensive, frosted glass doors are an excellent way to give your rooms some privacy without breaking your budget.
The traditional stained glass is created by adding metallic salts in the process of manufacturing. Depending on the level of concentration, each metallic salt gives various shades of specific colors. For example, nickel gives the glass various shades of blue and violet and even black. Iron oxide makes the glass green, manganese give it various shades of amethyst. Another way of making stained glass is applying paint directly to glass surface and fusing it in a kiln.
To create a pattern with stained glass, many pieces of glass are combined into the given pattern. These pieces are cut to minute precision in order to fit into each other tightly and flawlessly. Traditionally, strips of lead were used to keep the pieces of glass intact, which could be either invisible dissolving into the pattern, or could be part of the pattern alongside the glass. However, today we can find a wide range of materials used in caming (attaching the pieces of glass to each other) – from zinc to wrought iron.
Many manufacturers offer doors with a large assortment of stained glass patterns that can be incorporated in virtually any décor – from contemporary to classic, from country-style to urban. Stained glass offers the level of sophistication and complexity that no other material can do.
Safety glass for doors
Safety glass refers to the type of glass that has been reinforced, therefore is safer and more durable. The two most popular types of safety glass are toughened (or tempered) and laminated glass.
Tempered glass is created by thermally or chemically treating regular glass to increase its durability and strength. Unlike regular glass, tempered glass crumbles into tiny pieces that do not have any sharp edges, significantly reducing the possibility of injury.
Tempered glass is often laminated to make it even safer. In this case, a layer of plastic is sandwiched between two sheets of tempered glass (regular glass can also be used) and when such glass breaks, the plastic layer prevents it from falling apart.
As doors are usually located in high-traffic areas, the possibility of breaking the door glass is higher than that of window glass. That is why only tempered and/or laminated glass is used for door inserts.
Today’s market of door specialty glass is huge and without the help of a professional it can be easy to get lost among the hundreds of patterns and styles, but you can always start by browsing some online stores to get a better understanding of what the market has to offer.