How to handle a broken window pane

A broken window in the home is an inconvenience that we can all do without. 

But what do you do if you return home and find your window is broken? Or, it may be that a window cracks while you’re at home. In this post, we’ll outline what to do with a broken window, depending on how large the size crack is, and what to do if the window shatters completely.

What caused the break?

Whether it’s a football that’s gone through the glass pane or a crack that’s got bigger over time due to weather damage, the window will have to be replaced either way.

In the meantime, you’ll need a temporary fix. And, actually, on the last point, i.e. the weather causing damage, one of the biggest causes of this is when a window is partly shaded. That’s because the part of the glass that the sun is shining on will expand and or shrink, resulting in a crack. It’s called thermal stress and is caused by uneven temperatures – i.e. the warm half and the cold, shaded half working against each other.

Then again, it could be that the window is broken due to a badly installed window frame. If that’s the case, then it’s better to have the whole window, including the frame, replaced.

Repairing the window glass

If the window has a crack, then the best way to cope in the meantime (i.e. to make sure the wind and rain don’t get through the glass into the room) is to cover the crack with duct tape – on both sides of the window. Just make sure you don’t press too heavily on the glass so that the crack becomes even bigger.

If there’s just a part of the glass broken, then use a thick sheet of plastic to keep out the cold and keep the rest of the glass together until you can have it fixed.

A window with a large hole (i.e. the football) or one which is completely shattered needs to be boarded up with plywood for security purposes. Remove what’s left of the glass before doing so in case it falls out of its own accord and hurts someone. You can do this by taping the window entirely and then loosening the remaining glass by gently tapping it.

@ExpertHomeRepo1: “For smaller cracks left by gravel or hail, a good option to consider for covering your broken window is the use of transparent shellac. This process will take time as you need to apply new layers after old ones have dried, but it should work in most cases involving small windows with minor damage from weathering and rocks.”

Cleaning up the glass

Before you do anything about taping or boarding up the window though, you need to get rid of the glass that’s fallen out. That means moving all the furniture near the window and checking it for shards. Get a broom and sweep the floor. Hoover up if you have carpet or mop up if it’s linoleum or tile. Remove the biggest pieces of glass by hand, wearing thick rubber gloves.