Emergency Glass Repair: Types of Glass and Why they Break

Glass fittings have become a popular choice for homeowners and commercial property owners alike. Besides being used in windows and doors, glass is beginning to more commonly appear in furniture pieces, artistic wall hangings, and even in walls themselves.

Dividing rooms and spaces with glass can give a more open and spacious feel to any room, adding an upmarket feel to your shop fittings or your home decor. This is because glass can lighten up a room by letting in the natural light where your home receives the morning or afternoon sun.

However, as much as glass is an attractive addition to any home, it’s important not to forget it’s fragility, and the potential to break at what can be the most inconvenient times.  

Emergency Glass Repair

Emergency Glass Repair is most often the best option for shop owners and home owners when glass is broken, particularly when it threatens the security of the building which is especially true with windows and doors at the entry and exit points.  

It’s important that when glass does break that you first determine whether the glass is safety glass or standard glass, and whether you have single or double glazing. This will impact upon the safety precautions you need to take when looking to replace smashed glass, and will be useful information for your glazier to help you shorten the glass replacement process.  

The team here at Dee Glass have over 25 years experience in emergency glass replacement for both residential and commercial glass repair covering Newcastle, Maitland and Hunter Valley areas. We provide a 24 hour Emergency Glass Repair Service, so you can have peace of mind when an unexpected breakage happens. If your glass does break get in touch right away so we can be there to help.

Why does glass break?

Firstly, glass breaks easily because it does not have a good large-area orderly crystalline structure. This is because glass is made as a liquid, by heating sand, soda ash and lime to very high temperatures to a syrupy texture. This syrup is then cooled into the material we know as glass.

When the stress against the glass exceeds the strength of the glass, it will break. This can occur in such instances as a home break in, strong storm winds, or even a stray tennis ball from your neighbour.

The most interesting way a glass can break however, is when it seems to break for absolutely no reason at all. This is called “spontaneous glass breakage” and occurs only with toughened glass (we’ll talk about that later on).

Types of glass and how they break

It’s good to know when installing new glass fittings, or modifying older ones, what the different types of glass are, and how they break. This is because different types of glass have different manufacturing processes, so they break in different ways. Some are much more dangerous than others:

Standard Glass

Standard Glass is a popular choice as it can be manufactured in a much shorter time than safety glass. Reshaping, cutting and polishing of standard glass can be also done without breaking or shattering it, so it’s easily reworked and more appealing to some homeowners, but standard glass is definitely the more dangerous glass once broken.

The rapid cooling process undertaken when manufacturing standard glass leads to it’s high fragility, and that means when it’s broken, it shatters into many large pieces. This can be very dangerous for a structure with windows close to the floor, where someone could easily fall through, or for commercial spaces with many customers, or homes with smaller children. This glass can best be identified by the pattern that occurs when it’s cracked, breaking into dangerous, jagged pieces.

Safety Glass

Safety Glass is made with additional safety features that make it less likely to break than standard glass. Safety glass comes in two main types, Laminated and Toughened (also known as tempered) Glass, and they each break in different ways.

Laminated Safety Glass

Laminated safety glass is made for the purpose of sticking together once broken. Made from two panes of glass fixed together, with an interlayer of laminate between the panes of glass. This model of safety glass ensures that when the glass does break the two panes of glass stay together, holding after shattering. This type of glass gives off a spider web effect once shattered, and  is most commonly used for sliding doors made of glass and shop fronts.

Toughened Safety Glass (Tempered)

Toughened glass (also referred to as tempered glass) is a glass that goes through an intense heating and cooling process that allows it to be the strongest type of glass. This is because it puts the outer surfaces into compression and the interior surfaces into compression. This type of glass is used for all bathroom glass needs, occasionally front door panels, glass tabletops and commercial glass. You can easily identify this type of glass as when it breaks it shatters into a million small cubic pieces that are less likely to cause injury or harm.

Why does glass shatter by itself?  

Many of our customers who have chosen to install safety glass, are surprised when the safer option breaks unexpectedly. This is often called “spontaneous glass breakage” and can happen for a number of reasons, including:

  • Thermal stress – extreme variances in hot and cold temperatures
  • Uneven shading from the sun -when a window receives direct sunlight in one spot, yet is shaded in another
  • Gardening – when rocks ricochet from the whipper snipper/mower and hit to door or window at a high velocity this can cause it to shatter.

What do you do if your glass breaks

Even if the glass is only cracked, it’s important to speak to your local glazier and replace smashed glass without delay. Otherwise, there’s a danger that the crack could spread, and cause more damage to both the glass, and your bank account.

Once you have determined the type of glass, and called your local glazier, you should begin to consider why the glass shattered in the first place. This way, you can ensure you take the necessary precautions to reduce the chance of that happening again.

If you need assistance with any glass replacement, glass repair, or emergency glass repair services in the Newcastle, Hunter Valley or Maitland Region, please get in touch with the team at Dee Glass.