A Guide to Glass Options for Home Windows and Patio Doors


In this, the United Nations-designated “International Year of Glass,” we want to celebrate that essential material as it relates to home windows and patio doors. It’s the kind of glass that helps us maintain a consistent temperature inside our homes, the glass that gives us added privacy, and the glass that helps protect the interior of our homes from harmful ultraviolet rays.

Yes, thanks to the latest technology, you can find glass options that do all of the above. If you’re considering a home renovation, or if you’re in the process of building your dream house, then you should learn more about these glass options and see what they can do for your new windows and patio doors.

Low-E glass

Milgard Low E Glass

The 21st century is quickly shaping up to be the century of energy efficiency. It’s a featured quality nearly everywhere: We see it in electric cars, LED light bulbs, and even certain kinds of blinds and curtains. Windows and doors are no different. The glass used in these products have differing levels of energy efficiency.

Now, no matter what kind of window you purchase today, you’re almost certainly going to have a product that’s more energy efficient than those of years past. But there are some glass options that go the extra mile, like Low-E glass. Available in both Low-E2 and Low-E3, Low-E glass will give your windows and doors added energy-efficient protection. Low-E3 glass is particularly effective because it features multiple layers of metallic coatings that reduce solar heat gain, helping you maintain interior temperatures in your home, which in turn keeps your space comfortable regardless of the season.

In addition, Low-E3 glass provides another layer of protection against ultraviolet rays. This is an important barrier against sunlight, as UV rays can damage curtains, carpets, upholstery, and the like.

Obscure glass

Milgard Obscure Glass Options

Often employed in sidelights and bathroom windows, obscure glass gives homeowners the privacy they crave while still allowing sunlight into the home. The aesthetic look found in obscure glass is created during the manufacturing process and comes in numerous styles. One of the most common designs is rain glass, which is fabricated to look like rain dribbling down the surface. There’s also pattered glass, which has a frosted-over look, thus giving it a slightly different aesthetic than rain glass.

Another kind of obscure glass that evokes images of water is reed glass, a version that often resembles waves flowing across the window. These waves can be narrow or wide, depending on what style is desired.

Then there’s scalloped glass, a common variety of obscure glass that has a raised, cracked appearance. There are many different types of scalloped glass, with some having a “rougher” appearance than others.

Finally, before leaving this topic, we want to mention acid-etched glass. This kind of obscure glass typically combines a satin finish with a translucent appearance, resulting in a no-nonsense classic look that minimalists prize.

Tinted glass

Milgard Tinted Glass Options

Plenty of homeowners want to reduce the light that’s coming into their home without obstructing the views to the outside. This can be accomplished with tinted glass, which has become increasingly popular in recent years.

Tinted glass offers a relatively new aesthetic while also providing privacy. What’s more, most styles of tinted glass are designed to reduce solar heat gain and help block UV rays, helping to keep your energy costs down and your furniture and carpeting protected.

And if you want tinted windows that are especially energy efficiency, you can also get them with Low-E glass. Many manufacturers offer both Low-E2 and Low-E3 glass on their tinted products, allowing you to purchase windows and doors that boast a unique look and maximum energy efficiency.

Get started with a quote on your window and doors project with a trusted Milgard® Certified Dealer. 

More Helpful Articles


How to Find the Best Sliding Glass Doors

Read this before you shop.


Top 10 Signs It’s Time for Replacement Windows

Is it time for change?


5 Hot Choices in Patio Doors for Indoor Outdoor Living

Ideas to transform your patio space into an extended living room.


5 of the Best Patio Doors for 2024

We’ve got five of the best patio door options for 2022 that you have to see to believe.


Single Hung vs. Double Hung Window: What’s the Difference?

Learn the key differences here


What is a Double Hung Window?

And how it compares to a Single Hung Window


Buyer's Guide on Sliding Patio Doors: Answering Frequently Asked Questions

Read this before you shop


Can You Replace a Sliding Glass Door with French Doors?

Refresh your home!


New Windows that Completely Change the Look of Your Home

Quick tips and ideas.


The Best Windows for the Top 9 Architectural Styles

Explore the top nine architectural styles we love and the windows and doors that complement them.

Add a comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.