The kitchen truly is the heart of the home! More time is spent in the kitchen and dining area of a home than any other area. It's the place of family gathering where we not only share a meal, but we spend and share our lives! Kitchen remodels are among the most popular type of remodel. With the advancement of high-tech appliances, stunning counter surfaces, innovative faucets, lighting and custom cabinetry, today's modern kitchen has gone to a whole new level of custom!
A very vital part of the kitchen is the pantry. Today's newly designed kitchen's will usually feature a nice walk in pantry, or at least a full length pantry for easy access and a good amount of storage space. Everyone knows, the pantry is essential! When we walk into a kitchen for instance when shopping for a home, for instance, or getting ideas for a remodel, when we see a nice large kitchen pantry, we want it! Having enough space to keep things easy to reach and neatly organized is a huge part of having an efficient kitchen that we love to cook in!
But we don't just want efficient. We want pretty! And the pantry door is what our guests see! And we not only want pretty, we want UNIQUE! We want the pantry to compliment and coordinate perfectly with our individual decor. There's no better way to add a custom feel to a pantry door, than having it feature custom frosted glass. The glass creates an “open feel”, and a contrasting surface to compliment the others we see: the granite or other counter surface, the wood, the stainless steel perhaps, are all complimented by glass. So we know glass is the best choice to achieve an open and varied surface, BUT… we don't want to be able to see IN to the pantry! Even a with a neatly kept pantry we don't want to see the cans or the boxes and all the other goodies inside!
Solution? Etched glass, or also what's referred to as frosted glass.
They both mean the same thing, but did you know there are several TYPES of etching, that actually create various textures and effects?
There's sandblast glass etching, acid etching, cream etching, ceramic frit, and of course there's also vinyl decals. All of these methods will provide a flat, white frosted surface. The biggest difference comes in with the SANDBLAST method, and that's because sandblasting the glass allows the artist to actually penetrate deeper into the glass, as the sand is sprayed through a hose with varied air pressure. Unlike the other methods and materials that only allow for a “surface etching, the sand acts as a carving tool, with the ability to create depth and shading, which are areas in the glass that fade back out to clear glass, creating a 2 dimensional effect in the design. The sandblast nozzle is actually used as both an artist's brush, and a sculptors carving tool, as you would think of clay being carved with a metal tool. The sand actually melts the glass. When you run your fingers across the sandblasted surface, as compared to an acid etch or a cream etching, you'll be able not only ridges and line edges, or lumps and bumps, if the glass was 3D Carved, but, you'll also notice a subtle difference in the actual surface fo the glass. It will be slightly more porous, and a brighter white than acid etching, as a comparison.
Acid etching actually creates more of a “sheen” in the etched finish. No “shading” can be done, and the finish is not quite as bright white.
Cream etching is a technique used more often for the hobbyist for smaller items like wine glasses or other cookware. Creating a slightly more white finish than acid etch, it too etches the surface only.
A ceramic frit is an enamel applied to glass with a large roller for full coverage applications or through a screen for silkscreening applications. The design is made by placing a screen over a piece of glass and then pressing ceramic frit, by means of a large squeegee, through the pores of the screen. After the frit is applied, the glass goes through an infra-red oven to dry the frit and then through a tempering furnace to fire (bond) the frit to the glass permanently. This method also creates a solid white finish.
As far as maintenance, each method is actually quite durable. All can be cleaned with a soft cloth, using a typical glass cleaner. With acid or cream etching, you need to be a little more cautious not to rub too hard while cleaning, but that rarely becomes necessary.
The sandblasted surface is probably the most durable against scratches. Being slightly porous, it CAN take in oils a bit deeper, but the oil is removable with acetone. Using a soft white cloth, apply acetone to the cloth and rub. The surface is actually very tough.. obviously permanent, and so long as you're using a soft cloth you're safe to rub and remove any oils. To finish, follow up by spraying the entire area with glass cleaner and wipe clean. The only time that using acetone really becomes necessary is if you get a little one with butter fingers or some other oil on someone's hands, touching or rubbing the glass. Otherwise, the sandblasted glass doesn't show dust and rarely needs cleaning.
Now for GLASS THICKNESS: Most interior glass doors will come with pre-installed tempered glass that is 1/8″ thick. If glass inserts are ordered separately, you may find 1/8″ or 1/4″ being sold. Both being tempered, they are essentially equally strong. Tempered glass is very hard to break. The only real vulnerable places are the edges, which of course is either already in the door frame. If glass is ordered separate, just take caution with the edges, not bumping the against a counter or other hard object. where Scratches on door glass are not usually any issue. Unlike a glass table or counter where objects are being slid across the surface, the door glass is usually only touched with hands and fingers.
Now on to the FUN PART! The frosted glass design! The best choice for achieving the privacy you want, with a design at the LOWEST PRICE, is what's called A SOLID NEGATIVE FROST or ETCH. With a negative etching, the design elements are CLEAR GLASS and the BACKGROUND is FROSTED for obscurity. Line widths (say for a border or a design) shouldn't be more than 1/8″ thick, although a 1/4″ is still suitable and will allow for no real visibility, unless the light is ON, and a person stands right at the glass, peering in!
With sandblasted glass, there's also the option of a 2D and 3D Carved effect. These effects give the glass a truly hand-crafted, higher quality look. Also known as “stage sandblast” the design will take on completely different look in one of these techniques.
When it comes to shopping for a frosted glass pantry door, these effects cover the majority of what's available. Adding one to your kitchen will truly create something fun and unique that you'll take pride in as you showcase it AND enjoy for yourself every time you go into your pantry!