Spontaneous Shattering Of Sliding Glass Door Panes: Why It Happens And What To Do

Many homes have sliding glass doors that lead out to a patio, deck, or other outdoor space. These doors typically have large panes of glass that can unfortunately be susceptible to shattering and breakage. Specifically, in the right conditions, sliding glass door panes can spontaneously shatter. On the bright side, today's glass door panes are made of tempered glass that breaks into smaller, rounder pieces when broken. Still, all homeowners with sliding glass doors should be aware of the common causes of spontaneous door glass shattering and what they can do if it happens at their households.

Why Would a Sliding Glass Door Spontaneously Shatter?

Because sliding glass door panes are tempered, they're inherently prone to spontaneous shattering. And while it's not common by any means, it does happen and can take homeowners by surprise when it does. Most often, shattering will occur as a result of fluctuations in temperature. For example, if it's cold outside and a heat vent is located very close to the glass door pane itself, the sudden heating of the glass could cause the pane to expand quickly, resulting in a crack that leads to shattering.

In other cases, shattering could be caused by a small imperfection in the glass when it was installed, such as a small amount of nickel-sulfide getting into the glass during manufacturing.

What to Do (And What Not to Do)  If Your Glass Door Pane Shatters

In the event that your glass door pane shatters, the best thing to do is to first make sure that children and pets are kept away from the glass. From there, check to see if both panes broke (most sliding glass doors are double-paned) or if just one of the panes did. If both panes broke, then you'll need to put up a piece of plywood or some other barrier to keep insects, rain water, and other elements from getting into your home. If just one pane broke, then the good news is that you don't necessarily have to rush quite as much to have the pane replaced.

Even though tempered glass is much safer than traditional glass shards, it's still important to exercise caution by wearing shoes in the area of the shattered glass. It's generally best to leave the cleanup to sliding glass door repair professionals (like those at Cheaper Window Glass and other locations), who will haul away the old door and/or glass pane and replace it with a new one.