It’s the way it shatters that matters – What type of glass should be used in bathrooms?


I had this blog post written in my archives as a draft and I never published it because I found more interesting things to blog about. Until now.

A well-known blogger in the community that I follow had a terrifying incident where the shower screen shattered over top of her after using the shower.

It’s a very rare occurrence that shower screens shatter or explode. The Australian Standards state that shower screens, glass doors and any kind of glass in the bathroom must be strengthened or tempered glass.

Plumbers don’t usually install shower screens. Usually the builder or a glass specialist installs the shower screens. If a shower cubicle is installed, usually the plumber and builder install it together.

I didn’t know about the standard regarding glass in bathrooms until Dad and I had a mishap in a client’s bathroom.

Years ago a client supplied their own vanity unit that dad and I had to hook up in a newly finished bathroom reno. While putting the vanity in place, the glass window in the vanity cupboard door smashed into jagged pieces and sprayed on the floor. We felt bad, but also knew that it must have been cheap glass to have not withstood moving the vanity into place.

A glazier was called and he immediately said that the glass in the vanity wasn’t up to Australian standards and shouldn’t have shattered like that. The glass should have been toughened or tempered glass. Toughened glass can chip and if broken will shatter into blunt like granules, but normal glass breaks into sharp shards, and this can be dangerous in a wet area like the bathroom. For this reason, shower screens and any type of glass in the bathroom must be toughened/tempered glass.

This means that if the shower screen shatters, it stays in place and doesn’t fall like rain over someone. Unfortunately frameless shower screens will spray everywhere. It’s the way it shatters that matters.

To avoid having a shower screen shatter, make sure there is ample room in the shower to wash oneself without hitting or bumping the shower screen. Get any chips in the screen fixed immediately to avoid the whole shower screen from shattering.

Always use a reputable glazier or shower screen installer to install the shower screens.

Choose thicker glass as opposed to the thinnest (your glass specialist can explain and show you what meets the code) or avoid glass screens altogether and design a shower that doesn’t require them.

Do you have glass shower screens in your bathroom? Ever been near a window or glass screen when it’s shattered? (It’s very frightening when it happens.)

I’m linking up with With Some Grace fro Flog yo Blog Friday.