Tips For Using Etching Cream On Your Patio Door Windows

If your new patio doors hold large windows, then you may enjoy the light cascading through your home. However, if the door provides you with very little privacy, then this may not be ideal for you. If this is an issue for you, then you can enhance privacy by adding frosting to the glass with glass etching cream. This will add a permanent opaque texture to the glass. If you have never used etching cream, then follow the tips below to help you with the project.

Mask Off The Glass

Glass etching creams are typically a mixture of strong chemicals like hydrogen fluoride and sodium fluoride. Hydrogen fluoride is a chemical compound that is similar to hydrochloric acid. This means that the chemical, along with sodium fluoride, can eat through wood, plastic, and other materials it comes into contact with. In fact, the acidic properties of the chemicals allow it to eat through glass to create a textured or frosted pattern on your patio door windows. 

If you want to prevent door damage, then it is wise to mask off the windows properly so the chemicals do not transfer to the door or window frame. While you can use regular painter's tape to complete the masking, the etching cream may work its way underneath the tape and cause damage. To prevent this from happening, use a polyethylene coated tape like gaffer tape instead. The polyethylene will protect the tape from deterioration when the acid etching cream is applied and the rubber adhesive underneath will keep the tape in place until it is ready to be removed. 

Apply Several Coats

Most etching cream instructions will advise you to leave the cream on the window glass for a set period of time. For example, the instructions may say to leave the cream in place for 10 or 15 minutes before washing it away. If you want the glass to be deeply etched, then you may decide to leave the cream on longer. However, this will not create a more opaque surface since the acid will only be active for a short period of time. 

Instead of applying one single thick layer of the etching cream, apply numerous layers instead and only for the time period described in the directions. Each time you apply a layer of cream, the glass will be etched further to create more texture and a more opaque surface. 

When you apply the layers of cream, make sure to use soap, water, and a clean cloth to remove the last layer as completely as possible. Dry the window completely as well before adding more etching cream to the surface.