5 Common Causes of Broken Glass

Common Causes of Broken Glass

Glass is a beautiful addition to many homes. Crystal clear windows make a home sparkle, glass mirrors open up space, and classy glass shower doors can lend a sleek, minimalistic look to a bathroom. Of course, having glass of any sort in your home means you run the risk of dealing with broken glass. It can be helpful to be aware of some of the common causes of broken glass.


Who hasn’t heard the story about the kid who accidentally threw a ball through a window? Children playing outside may accidentally break windows. If you live near a golf course, you could run the risk of a stray golf ball striking one of your windows. Maybe someone has an awkward moment and knocks something into a mirror, causing it to crack. You may find yourself in need of a glass replacement for a decorative wall mirror because someone bumped it and it fell. If you have a walk-in shower with a slippery floor, you could potentially fall into the glass walls or door and cause them to break.

Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can take a toll on glass surfaces too. If window glass isn’t thick enough, high winds can cause it to break. The same applies to windows that are too large and haven’t been adequately engineered to withstand the right wind loads. Wind can also send projectiles like sticks flying through the air. Depending on their size, the force with which they hit, and where they hit, even sticks can cause windows to break. Thousand Oaks generally has a reasonably temperate climate, so extreme temperature shifts shouldn’t be much of a problem. That said, California is quite prone to wildfires, which can reach temperatures of 1472 degrees Fahrenheit. In the event of a wildfire, you can expect glass surfaces to suffer severe damage. The same goes for house fires, which can top out at over 1100 degrees Fahrenheit.


Sometimes the damage isn’t an accident. Vandalism often results in broken glass and the need for glass replacement. Vandalism will most commonly impact your window glass since the outside of your home is more vulnerable to vandals. Even if the broken glass results from a practical joke or a prank, you’ll be the one left with the cost of repairs and the need to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance. How at risk your home is to vandalism will depend mainly on your neighborhood’s nature and the crime rate.

Damaged Glass

During moving or installing glass shower doors, the panels may become nicked or chipped at the edges. It’s not hard to damage the glass since installing the nails or screws used to fasten the glass at an angle that isn’t quite right can result in minor nicks and chips. In the case of minor damage, you probably won’t notice it right away. However, over time the glass will expand and contract. This expansion and contraction can exacerbate the damage, weakening the glass, and making it more susceptible to breaking and shattering. If the glass is tempered glass, you can expect the entire sheet to break. At that point, you’ll need to find a shower door replacement or replacement mirror glass.

Internal Defects

The damage isn’t always due to an installation error, though. Sometimes broken glass can happen because of an internal defect in the glass itself. The use of stainless steel machinery during its formation and handling can cause tiny shavings to break off and become inclusions in the glass. These inclusions often contain nickel and can change structure over time, growing and creating internal stress that breaks the glass when the stress exceeds its strength. Tempered glass is most susceptible to this sort of breakage.

While it’s not something that usually happens very often, it’s wise to have a plan in place for what to do if any of the glass in your home breaks. Accidents, natural disasters, vandalism, damaged glass, and internal defects can cause glass to break or shatter. Be aware of the common causes of broken glass so you can decide how to reduce the risk of breaking glass in your home.

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