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Why Does My Glass Keep Breaking?

The Case of the Repeating Rupture



Dear Glass Detective,

We installed a glass door in a wash room but every time it broke after installation. Any advice where we could be making an installation mistake would be helpful. Or do you think there could be a manufacturing defect in the glass?

Thank you,

Ayub H.



Dear Ayub,

Thank you for making contact with the Glass Detective regarding your questions about why the glass in your newly installed door keeps breaking. While you don’t provide us with very many specifics (size of glass, type of door, type of glass, actual location of door) I am going to attempt to give you a few basic responses which I am hoping proves of some value to you. Here we go!

At some point, every piece/type of glass will break. How and why it breaks is the bigger, or maybe we should say harder, question to answer. Glass breaks most often due to impact. A rock, a bird, or any other object penetrates the surface of a piece of glass and it breaks. I have no idea how many pieces of glass are broken in any given day but it is probably safe to say that it could be several thousand a day throughout the nation. Glass shops in every state make a good living from doing nothing other than replacing broken glass every work day. Other causes of glass breakage include improper installation where the glass is loose and moves around in the frame. It ultimately breaks due to the edge of the glass making improper contact with its frame. Glass is also broken when dropped during cleaning or handling and can be broken due to weather (wind or thermal shock). Since not all glass is made the same way or is of the same thickness, glass will break at varying degrees of impact or from other occurrences (as noted above).

Glass also breaks in different ways. Laminated glass breaks but tends to stay in its frame whereas tempered glass will often “explode” out of its frame when broken. You may want to read our other reports on the differences in glass and how it breaks. Of particular interest to you might be a report titled “Tempered vs. Laminated Glass” which explains in some detail the differences between these two types of glass. And by the way, most doors that have glass in them will have either tempered or laminated glass used as the glazing material due to glazing code requirements.

So with all of this in mind, let’s get back to your broken door glass problem. Without really having much information to work with, let me suggest some possible things for you to look at going forward:

  1. The glass in your door might not be properly installed (too loose, too tight).
  2. You may not be using a strong enough type of glass (too thin, not tempered).
  3. It might be vandalism.
  4. You may be using defective glass.

In closing, I am going to suggest to you that you identify and make contact with a reputable glass shop in your area and have them take a look at your door. I am confident that they will be able to solve your glass mystery. Thank you again for making contact with the Glass Detective and good luck with your project.

Find a Glass Shop attempts to provide accurate information but cannot be held liable for any information provided or omitted.  You should always work with a licensed, insured and reputable glass shop that can assess your specific needs and local building codes and offer professional services. Never attempt to cut, install, or otherwise work with glass yourself. All content is provided on an informational basis only.

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