It’s always a shock when your glass windows or doors break. It’s not expected and it can be quite overwhelming, particularly if you have small children or pets around. Not only is it inconvenient but it’s a major safety hazard and it can compromise the security of your home too. For your own peace of mind follow these four steps below for your emergency glass replacement.
Step 1: Clear the glass
How easy and safe this is will depend on the glass type you have in your windows. If your home was built prior to 1989 then it is likely that you have ‘float’ glass (also known as annealed or monolithic) in your windows and doors.
This type of glass is the most dangerous and will break into sharp shards. To clean float glass up you should wear protective gloves to pick up the large pieces of glass. Then place them in a newspaper which you can fold up and secure. To clean the remaining glass splinters, use your vacuum and empty immediately into a doubled-up plastic bag.
If your home was built after 1989 then you will have safety glass installed in your windows and doors. There are two types of safety glass. Toughened glass will break into lots of small blunt chunks. These are unlikely to cut you; however, we would still recommend you wear protective gloves. You can use a dustpan and broom to sweep these up and discard into a doubled-up plastic bag. Then vacuum the area to ensure you removed all pieces.
The other type of safety glass is a laminated glass. Laminated glass is made of two pieces of glass adhered to an interlayer in the middle of them. When laminated glass breaks the glass actually adheres to the interlayer and cracks in a spider-web like pattern. This is the easiest glass to clean up and we recommend vacuuming the area to ensure any small splinters from the cracks are picked up.
Step 2: Secure the window or door area
The next step is to temporarily cover the window or door opening. This is important for safety reasons and to secure your home. If the window is just cracked, you can apply a sturdy tape to both the inside and outside of the window or door. If there is a hole in the window or door you can secure it with either cardboard or a heavy-duty bin bag. You will need to cut or fold it to size and secure it with tape. This will provide a temporary fix until a professional glazier can come out and organise an emergency glass replacement for you.
Step 3: Contact your insurance provider
Find out whether your emergency glass replacement is covered by your home insurance policy, particularly if it was a result of an act of nature or a break-in. Your insurance provider may have certain requirements for you to file a claim and which glaziers you can contact.
Step 4: Call a qualified glazier
Finally, contact a qualified glazier who will be able to assess and provide an emergency glass replacement. Who you use may be predetermined by your insurance provider but if it is not then you can visit the AGGA (Australian Glass and Glazing Association) website to find a qualified glazier.
They will be able to provide recommendations on the most suitable type of glass for your home and family. You might also want to consider replacing other windows and doors within your home now if they do not meet current Australian safety standards.
Your glazier will be able to advise you about this. Have you had a broken window or door? Do you know what it was replaced with? Did you consider your options for safety, security or energy efficiency? Tell us in the comments below.
Divisional General Manager – Jim’s Glass (Australia)
Board Member – Australian Glass & Glazing Association
President – Glass & Glazing Association of South Australia