What to Do When a Window Breaks

As a Virginia homeowner, there likely will come an unfortunate day when you experience a broken exterior window or even a shattered glass pane shower door. These types of accidents can be caused by anything from an errantly thrown baseball to tumultuous summer storms and high winds.

Image Credit: Moneypit.com
Image Credit: Moneypit.com

If a broken glass window occurs in your home, your family’s safety is the top priority. After you complete the following basic safety tasks, it’s important to contact an experienced Virginia window repair contractor immediately. Be sure the correct and proper procedures are followed before replacement windows are addressed. These safety guidelines are for simple to moderate cracks, but not for massive shattering that causes widespread glass shards. When there’s complete window glass destruction, it’s best to contact a professional first to secure and contain the area. What to do when a window cracks or breaks:

  1. Begin by carefully picking up the largest pieces and placing them in a paper grocery bag or wrapping them up in butcher paper. Try to avoid using plastic bags, as the glass can cut through and harm either you or whoever next discards this trash.
  2. Next, sweep up the smaller slices of fallen glass as best you can and put them into a dustpan. Discard these bits in a paper bag or in wrapped up butcher paper.
  3. Vacuum the entire area, including the surrounding flooring where bits of glass may have landed. A hose attachment can be used to clean crevice areas, such as the grout between tiles and any gaps or cracks in wood flooring.
  4. To ensure that even the tiniest shards are removed, follow the vacuuming process with a damp paper towel. Press it into the floor and sop up any remaining pieces. If the window broke on a carpeted floor, using lines of duct tape is effective. The sticky underside will capture any errant shards.
  5. If your local contractor cannot come immediately, the next step is to cover the hole until replacement windows can be installed. Be sure to use a pair of heavy duty work gloves during this process to avoid any potential cuts from the broken window and its frame. If it’s a small hole or crack in a confined area of the window, begin by using clear packing tape over the crack. Clear nail polish can be used to for added adhesive properties.
  6. Use a tarp or shower curtain and some tape to cover and seal off the entire window frame or glass door. If neither of these are available, thick black trash bags can also be used.
  7. If you’re worried about theft or further structural damage, you can use a piece of scrap wood, such as a two-by-four, to secure your home. Nail this board into the sill or frame around the window. This should be done on the interior side of the house to best deter thieves. While it isn’t the most aesthetic fix, nail holes can later be repaired with caulk or house putty, and you’ll feel safer for the precaution.
  8. Advise family members and any visitors to stay away from the problem area until replacement windows are fitted.

After the area has been secured, make an appointment with your local window contractor. They will be able to recommend the best replacement windows for your home. You may want to consider upgrading to more energy-efficient dual pane replacement windows. A professional will be able to size and install these replacement windows correctly.