Window that you can see out but not see in

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I have seen in some hotels that they have windows facing a corridor, hallway or outside. You can see out but cannot see in. It is more than just "tinting".
I am looking to replace a few of my windows at home, and I asked for quotes for non-impact windows and impact windows. I also asked the window companies if they have windows that can see out but not in, they all said to me "no not for residential it's only for commercial" and when I asked them to give me a ball park figure they wouldn't even do that and just said "trust me, it's VERY expensive".
What is so special about those windows? Is it a special glass? or is it something you can "apply" onto ordinary glass afterwards? Are we talking about 10 times more expensive? I have a large picture window inside the shower facing an interior courtyard, right now I am planning on using hurricane impact obscured glass window, I thought I ought to consider this other option but I can't even get a price!
MC
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Even though the two types of businesses overlap to an extent, I've found two totally different categories in the yellow pages phone book: Windows and Glass. The first tends to be oriented toward residential window replacement, and the second toward commercial situations. Call some dealers in the second category. If someone tells you it's too expensive, ask to speak to someone who's not afraid to quote prices. Get pushy.
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In most cases, the "one-way" glass depends on the obscured side to be darker than the viewers side. It will reverse just by reversing the lighting. If you want it, you can have it tinted by the same places that tint auto glass.
Our control room in the jail had the film application method. Worked great until you turned the lighting up in the control room, then it was as if there were no film at all.
Harry K
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wrote:

So it's a matter of tinting? I thought it's more than that, some sort of polarized glass? If it's just a matter of tinting I wonder why they wouldn't even quote me.
Or may be they thought I was talking about this:
http://www.polytronix.com/privacyglass.htm
I was not.
Thanks,
MC
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MiamiCuse wrote:

Possibly because most is half silvered mirrors? Like a beam splitter. That would be expensive and it too would depend on differential lighting inside/outside. It would have to be in a sealed double pane window as the half silvered surface is quite fragile.
Polarization has nothing to do with it.
--

dadiOH
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> So it's a matter of tinting? I thought it's more than that, some sort of

films. They make mirror type ones, patterned like crinkly looking ones, and decorative stained glass looking ones. For privacy, what about glass block? That would take care of the privacy and sturdiness factor. I currently have transparent textured contact paper on my bathroom window, as a do-it-yourself privacy measure. It lets the light in, but doesn't let you see through from either direction though.
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Good idea (blocks). And, frosted glass is another option that some builders already use for bathroom windows. I wonder if a glass dealer could frost the glass that's already in place. It would be a bitch to find out more, though. It might involve using a high-tech device called a phone.
Hey...look at this wild idea: http://www.glass-resource.com/sub/special/privacy.htm
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on 11/22/2007 9:27 AM JoeSpareBedroom said the following:

can be put on a window. The one I have on my ground floor bathroom window is a diamond pattern. Lets the light in or out, but diffuses it. http://www.glassdecorandmore.com/cgi-bin/category.cgi?item &diammagic&type=store Martha Stewart also has a line of contact paper.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Doesn't hydrofluoric acid etch glass?
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Beats me. I'm not in that business.
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Steve Kraus wrote:

It eats it but doesn't etch (as in "frost"). Rubbing with valve grinding compound frosts it nicely. So does sand blasting if the sand is fine enough. There *are* chemicals for frosting but I don't recall what they are.
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On Thu, 22 Nov 2007 17:03:45 -0000, Steve Kraus

Try the artists' supplies shop. There should be a matte clear coat aerosol spray can that will likely provide a "frosted glass" effect. Ask about the solvent in case you don't quite like it and want to remove the application. Krylon aerosol spray paints (hardware stores) probably has a siimilar clear matte coat paint. Perhaps practice on a piece of scrap glass first to see how thin or thick a coat you want.
If you really want to get creative the Dollar Store craft section has bottles of transparent paint used for simulating stained glass windows and artwork. The solid partition outline to separate the color panels is a black or lead colored acrylic plastic applied with the bottle's spout cap.
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I have a unique situation.
It is a bathroom window. I would like to be able to open that window from time to time for ventilation or view purposes.
I personally do not like glass blocks.
Even though it is an exterior window on a concrete block wall, it is exterior to the inside, meaning it is a house with an interior courtyard with the house on all four sides, so that window does not look into the yard or street, it looks into a planter area with hanging orchids, and other plants, so it's pretty obscured. It also makes it a very nice view.
For that reason I would like to be able to see out even while taking a shower, if possible.
Glass block or obscured glass do not serve that purpose.
Also, normal obscured glasses in a window for some reason do not appeal to me, frosted glass look cleaner and better. So I was just looking for something specific and I think the one way glass would do what I want, if it's affordable. I saw it in a hotel and my friend told me even with the room light turned on, you cannot see from outside in and I tried it and he is right. However, it does seem to not let too much light in, so I think another poster's opinion about it being a mirror film embedded in between panes of glasses is correct.
I will make a few calls to see what I find.
Thanks!
MC
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You need to find a creative glass craftsperson. They're out there. Maybe call an architect's office and ask for recommendations. Some of these places are buried unobtrusively in industrial parks, instead of having flashy storefronts and big ads in the yellow pages.
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On Thu, 22 Nov 2007 16:37:59 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"

Frosted glass may be hard to find, but you should easily be able to find reeded glass, which will reveal only shadows and looks great and would be easy to install in your current window.
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Plenty of businesses have frosted glass, often with designs or their company name as part of the pattern. Unless you live in the sticks, it's not hard to find. What's hard is getting people to open the phone book and put a little effort into finding things.
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I do intend to call around and see. The reason I didn't do it in the first place is because these are NEW windows. I was hoping I could order the windows with the proper glass on them but the manufacturers don't offer that option and the installer does not either. So yes I think you are right I need to order clear glass, then get glass companies who will offer speciality glass to come measure the window, the break/remove the clear glass and install new glass, then reglaze etc...I was justin hoping I could get the window that way without the extra time money and hassle.
MC
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MiamiCuse wrote:

We used Gila window film for years and it's "one-way" except at night when the inside lights are on. Our film is reflective and has a dark maroon color. There is a wide variety of color tints, reflectivity and transmissivity available. It's easy to cut and adhere to glass. Most home centers sell cuts from rolls, it would be easy to buy a piece and try it.
It has cut our A/C bills and protects everything from UV fading. Some tips, scrape the glass clean with razor blades and wash well. You want no dirt and dust when applying the film, it will wick under the film. They tell you to start at an edge then cut later. But using good measurements, sharp blades, and straight edge, cutting to 1/32" smaller that viewable opening is much easier and faster. Especially with 3x2 over 3x2 windows. Use plenty of slightly soapy water on glass, then lightly glide film onto glass and center the film. Lightly squeegee from center until all the water is removed, dry the edges well. If you have dirt or dust, flood it off the film and glass. Ours has worked well since 1980. Only bad side, it will loose about 1/2 its tint in 10 years. (The reflectivity & UV block remains though) It also shatter proofs the glass. You can find the film in auto stores in smaller sizes and higher cost (it meets a fed std). After doing the house, we did all the vehicles, absolutely sold on the film.
btw, you're spending too much time the bathroom, move the orchids ;-)
-larry / dallas
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On Thu, 22 Nov 2007 11:24:50 -0500, "MiamiCuse"

I used to work in a hardware store. They had a large roll of thin film tinted plastic that is semi mirrored on one side. This is applied with a thin soap solution to any window and they will cut the length you need from the roll and charge you accordingly. The roll was probably 30 inches wide. The mirrored side reflects sunlight thereby preventing the sunlight overheating the room or bleaching the contents. It also prevents people from outside looking in under daylight conditions. In darkness the light inside the room will allow someone on the outside see through the window as through tinted sunglasses. I haven't seen this product in any harware store for the last 10 years. But then I haven't seen those frosted (crazed pattern) plastic films for windows either. Maybe ask around especially from the smaller (non big box) hardware stores.
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How about a venitian-blind? When you want to look out and not be seen, just tilt the blades.
If you want to see scenery at one vertical angle, and want to hide from someone at a *different* angle, you can do it that way.
(Yeah, you get only horizontal "stripes" of the view, but that's the cost, like "there's no free lunch".)
And you don't like looking through the window via those stripes, well, you can just jump up and down in the shower, fast enough that it blurs into a full picture!
Hell, you can even put one of those small circular tramplines in the shower!
David
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