Gaz's Glazing Blog

Could Your Shower Screen Spontaneously Shatter?

by Arianna Griffin

Like any room in your home, accidents can happen in your bathroom. There is something chilling about the idea of shower screens that can spontaneously shatter, seemingly with no obvious cause. There have been instances when such an event has happened, and while most shower screens are made of tempered (heat treated) glass, designed to break up into larger sections as opposed to small sharp fragments, these pieces of tempered glass can still cause injuries. This is particularly the case when the occupant of the shower is a child, in which case the pieces of tempered glass can quite literally rain down on them from above.

The spontaneity of the process is something that's open to debate. If a shower screen was to shatter, then the reasons for this occurring had probably been developing for some time. While tempered glass shower screens are designed to be robust, it's not as though they are invulnerable to damage. So how can you reduce the likelihood of a nasty shower screen accident?

The Placement of the Shower Screen

Consider the placement of your shower screen. Is it in a position where someone will logically need to hold onto it when climbing in and out of the shower? This puts unnecessary pressure on the glass, which over time, can weaken it to the point where it might shatter. If it's felt that you need to hold onto the screen to climb in and out of the shower, think about installing a grip or handle attached to the wall in an appropriate position, removing this regular pressure on the glass.

Regular Inspections

You should regularly check the screen for any small cracks or chips that might have appeared. These can generally be repaired, and yet if left unchecked, can rapidly destabilise the shower screen. You also need to pay extra attention to any fastenings, bolts, or screws that might have been inserted through the glass. While these are necessary, the everyday use of the shower screen can cause these pieces of metal to rub against the glass, again creating a destabilising effect that can end with the screen shattering. So really, carefully look for any damage to the shower screen and have it repaired immediately.

The Edge of the Glass

The thinness of the tempered glass can also be an issue. The heating process makes the surface of the glass incredibly durable, but not its edges. The glass is heated and then abruptly cooled, which compresses the outer layers of the glass while its centre takes longer to cool. The end result is a compressed glass surface of an impressive strength. But this process means that the edges of the glass can be less strong, as there is relatively little compressed glass on such a thin strip of surface area.

Please be very careful with the edges of a tempered glass shower screen. If there is a door in the screen, it's vital that this is never slammed. You might want to install extra rubber stoppers to prevent this. A tiny crack in the edge of a tempered glass shower screen can sometimes quickly develop into a seemingly spontaneous shattering.

A shattered shower screen can be potentially dangerous, and costly to repair. The shattering is rarely as spontaneous as it might seem, and so with a small amount of preventative efforts, you will hopefully never have to deal with this situation.