How to Respond to a Broken Window

Spring has finally arrived. Those words are music to our ears, as are the seasonal sounds of songbirds singing and children playing. But sometimes those playful tones are accompanied by another not-so-pleasant noise: shattering glass. Even if you don’t have children or grandchildren at home, your window could be the unfortunate target of a wayward baseball, hockey puck, or even a misguided bird. Nobody ever expects to experience a broken window, but knowing what to do in the situation makes a big difference in keeping your loved ones and personal belongings safe.

Secure the Scene

Broken shards of glass obviously present a safety risk, especially for pets and children. The first step is blocking off the area so that no one comes in contact with the dangerous debris. Make sure kids know the area is off-limits and lock pets away in a safe space.

Document the Damage

Your initial impulse might be to dispose of any broken glass, but you should first contact your home insurance agent. If the window damage is the result of severe weather, a broken tree limb, or another accident, you may want to file a claim to cover repair or replacement costs. Your agent will arrange for an adjustor to visit your home to assess the situation. In the meantime, take photographs of the window and surrounding area.

Safety First

Whether the glass is shattered or just cracked, be sure to take the proper safety precautions. Always wear work gloves, eye protection, and thick-soled shoes before cleaning up broken glass. If you’ll be removing glass from the pane, lay a tarp along the ground to reduce the risk of additional glass fragments getting into your carpet or yard. When disposing of glass, always use a box or plastic garbage can, as the shards’ sharp edges can easily cut through a plastic bag.

Patch and Protect

The glass remaining in the frame may still be at risk of falling out if it was loosened by the impact. Press gently against the panes to see if there’s any give, and if the glass feels loose carefully remove it. Next, patch any cracks or holes to protect your home from rain, wind, and insects. Cracks can be sealed with clear tape placed on both sides of the window. Check for any small holes that may have developed around cracks and patch them by applying several layers of nail polish.

Finally, cover the window with thick plastic sheeting. Cut the sheeting to size, and tape it around the frame. Plastic should be applied even for windows that are only cracked. Covering both sides of the window will offer your home the best protection. Trash bags can be used if you don’t have plastic sheeting, and consider adding a layer of bubble wrap or an old quilt if the damage occurs during cold weather.

Call a Professional

A plastic- or tape-covered window is only a temporary fix. You’ll want to seek professional help to repair the glass. A better option, however, might be window replacement. Take the opportunity to upgrade your home with a new window that will boost value, add curb appeal, and offer energy savings.

At Schaefer Exteriors, we offer high-quality vinyl replacement windows that are both attractive and affordable. These durable windows use multiple panes of glass to minimize heat transfer, which makes for a more comfortable living area and lower energy bills. We’d love to talk about the many benefits replacement windows have to offer. Call us toll-free at 888-781-4028!

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