Privacy Rating Numbers: Can people see right through this glass?

May 5, 2016


The manufacturers of decorative glass understand your concerns, and have addressed the issue. To help you in determining the obscurity level of each glass design, they have assigned a numbering system. It works like this:

Privacy ratings start at 1, and progress to 9.

A privacy rating of 1 means the glass is as clear as possible. This type glass is typically found in the back of a home, say in sliding glass doors or patio doors, where privacy is not as much a concern. Clear glass allows you to see out and enjoy nature, or watch the kids play.

Any materials or designs, such as grids or etchings, will raise that number accordingly. Typically, in the front of the house where aesthetics come in to play, decorative glass is used. This is where you want the most privacy from a glass.

Liquid Crystal glass, wrought iron glass and camed glass (which has the metal lines and various textures of glass such as glue chip, granite, baroque, etc.), will raise that privacy number considerably. The maximum privacy number is 9, which means that particular glass has the highest level of obscurity available. However, a 9-rated glass with maximum obscurity does not mean you cannot see anything at all.  It simply makes it difficult to see anything specific with clarity.

The rule of thumb used by manufacturers is that, if you stand 3 feet back from the door, nothing of determinable recognition will occur. This means that if you stand back 3 feet from the door, you will not be able to determine exactly what you are seeing. The sex of a person, the breed of the dog, the color of the hair or eyes, will not be discernible. You may or may not see a shadow, such as a person moving past the glass.

Dream Doors displays glass with mostly 7, 8 or 9 privacy ratings. We have a few that do go lower, for those folks who might want to show off a staircase or a grand foyer. Most people find privacy ratings of 7 and 8 still give all the privacy desired.

While there are varying degrees of obscurity, even the clearest glass reflects natural and artificial light and obscures the vision to some degree. The person walking down the sidewalk, or mowing the lawn usually cannot see through the glass with enough clarity to determine if anyone is even home.

One suggestion is to install a screw in motion detector on your outside porch light. This adds more light to reflect on the outside of the glass and thus increase the obscurity level. As people approach your front door, this will back light the outside, and make the glass even more difficult to see through, especially at night.

Come by our showroom and let us take you outside to see how difficult it really is to see through a Dream Doors decorative glass!

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