4 Steps for Safely Dealing with a Broken Window

No one wants to deal with a broken window - whether it's the result of neglected tree trimming or a consequence of kids playing baseball too close to your home. Fortunately, when you hear the crash, there are some simple steps you can take to take care of the problem in a safe and efficient manner.

1. Clean Around the Break

Shattered glass can travel 10 m or more, so cordon off the area to protect your children and any pets from stray bits of glass. Follow these guidelines for cleaning up the area:

  • Protect Yourself: Put on work gloves and closed-toe shoes before you start. Pick up the largest pieces first and put them in a trash bag. Be careful not to touch the flooring or window sill with bare skin as there may be small shards present you can't see.
  • Use the Right Equipment: If you have a vacuum with a hose attachment, it will be your best bet for removing smaller shards. Brooms can fling bits of glass into the rest of your house and glass dust may stick to the fibres. If you do use a broom, sweep slowly and dispose of the broom when you're finished.
  • Be Thorough: Tiny shards and glass dust can be invisible to the naked eye, but they may cut or irritate skin. Once you've cleaned up all the pieces you can see, go over the area again with a wet paper towel to pick up the remaining fragments.

When you've finished, put the waste, the vacuum bag or broom, and paper towels into a double-layered trash bag and take it out of the house.

2. Secure the Window

The three most common kinds of window damage are cracks, holes, and missing panes. If the window breaks during a major storm or after business hours, you may not be able to replace the pane immediately. Take these precautions to protect your home from would-be burglars, pests, and bad weather in the meantime.

Cracks: Your first priority is to keep cracks from spreading. Patch cracks with superglue or clear packing tape to stabilize the pane. If you won't be able to replace the window for some time, line the window with plastic sheeting to keep any loose pieces from falling out.

Holes: For small holes (like those made by a BB pistol), use clear nail polish to fill the hole layer by layer. For bigger holes (like those left by an errant baseball), use plastic sheeting or a piece of tarp to cover the hole. If you have a window grid, attach the tarp to the grid instead of the outside frame so you don't block all your natural sunlight.

Missing Panes: If most of the pane is gone, remove any remaining pieces from the frame. You may need to crack bigger pieces so you can lift them out. Be sure to have a trashcan nearby for easy disposal and wear gloves during removal. Then sweep the sill and frame with a dry paintbrush to remove leftover glass. Cover the gap with tarp, heavy duty trash bags, or plywood. Remember, it doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to keep the insects and rain out until you can get a new window.

3. Contact a Window Contractor

In some of the cases listed above, you may be able to stave off the worst inclement weather and pests with a short-term sealant. But those fixes are only temporary. When you are ready to replace your window, consult with our expert contractors at Sunrise Windows & Door Depot.

A contractor will help you decide on your best replacement options. For example, you may want to install these features:

  • Shatter-Proof Glass: Reinforced panes prevent typical breaks and increase your home's security.
  • Window Film: Window film makes glass shatter-resistant. It also comes with tints to increase your privacy and energy efficiency, or printed designs (such as faux stained glass).
  • Reinforced Casements: Strong casements keep the window frame from bending when the pane breaks.

Talk to your Sunrise Windows & Door Depot contractor about any other concerns you may have, such as energy efficiency, privacy, and color options.

4. Contact Your Insurance Company

After you've spoken to a contractor, contact your insurance company. The entire cost of the replacement may fall under your homeowner's insurance policy.

Most homeowner's policies cover "acts of God," such as storm damage, and vandalism. But if the damage was the result of negligence, your insurer may not cover the full replacement cost. If you think you may have an insurance claim, be sure to document the damage before, during, and after clean up.

Also ask your agent how the claim will affect your insurance costs. Where you live and what kind of policy you have determines whether a single claim will increase your premium.

A broken window can be frustrating and inconvenient. But by following these steps, you can get the damage cleaned up, repaired, and paid for safely and efficiently.

To learn more, be sure to check out our blog or contact our helpful staff for more information.

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