Tempered Safety Glass Finishes
The most common types or finishes available for tempered safety glass used in exterior deck railings is different intensity levels of tint & color shades.
A clear tempered version is shown on the left for comparison purposes. In order of appearance there is bronze tempered grey tempered & dark grey tempered.
Minimum code requires that regardless of the glass shade it must be 6mm or 1/4 inch thickness. Depending on how the glass will be structurally housed you may require a thicker version based on the frame style selected.
This photo shows each glass shade up against a door lock behind to better visualize the level of shade or darkness intensity with a single point of focus.
Contrary to most belief both the bronze & grey shades do not actually provide much in way of actual true privacy.
Indeed they are darker than clear but these glass types should be considered more for their visual appeal towards the finished design over obtaining actual privacy. However the dark grey can be considered a privacy level glass type.
If true complete privacy is desired or required the most suitable type of glass is called satin etch also referred as acid wash.
This glass type has a consistent factory etched surface on one side very similar to that of sandblasted glass which is no longer used anymore. So if total privacy is what you are seeking then this is the perfect choice.
Light can still easily pass through but the obscurity level is nearly 100%. It is very common to see this glass type used on the sides of a deck to create total privacy from an adjacent home or the front of a deck facing a busy street.
Another possible privacy glass option is called rain pattern tempered safety glass. One side of this glass has a finish that is quite prominently textured in a vertical fashion to mimic that of a wet rainy surface.
Unlike that of satin etch which tends to take on a whitish appearance in strong sunlight this glass retains the clear glass appearance but with a strong mottled finish.
This glass can also be considered full obscure. However depending on the distance involved you may still see some degree of silhouette for background objects behind this glass type.
Why is glass tempered when used in exterior deck railings? Tempered glass is heat treated & as such this process increases the glass strength value to 5 times that of standard or annealed glass.
When regular non tempered glass breaks the pieces are large irregular shapes almost always with razor sharp points & edges.
Tempered glass will break into consistent tiny pieces around 1/4 inch in size and the edges are much more blunt than regular so this is a much safer material overall for use in exterior railings.
Tempered safety glass also has excellent thermal properties over regular glass so for this reason it is capable of withstanding extreme temperature changes such as very hot or cold environments without issue.
Dek Rails industry unique glazed / grooved post design fully encases all four edges of the glass panels just like a great window frame. So there are zero raw exposed edges unlike other railing systems on the market.
Cleaning your glass panel railings is super easy. Wet down the glass with your garden hose. Use an RV style soft bristle brush & wipe down the glass followed with a good rinse from the top down.