Regardless of what you’re doing or how much you’ve got going on, a broken window in your house is a hazard that requires immediate attention. The broken glass alone poses an immediate safety risk to you and anyone else in the house. In the event of a rainstorm or high winds, the sudden lack of protection against the elements does not bode well for your interior either.
The obvious first step is to call a maintenance specialist and get the window fixed ASAP. If you’re handy with construction or you have a bit of experience, you can try and replace the window yourself. However, for the sake of safety and security, you really should leave the repairs to a professional.
And anyway, waiting for the window replacement to happen doesn’t necessarily mean sitting idly by. There are a dozen things you can (and should) do in the event of a broken window. Cleaning up the glass is one such example.
But Before You Deal with The Glass…
Block off the area—especially if you have children or pets running around. The safety of every individual in the household should be your number one priority. Ask someone else in the house to watch over your kids while you deal with the glass, or place your children in a room with a door (or in their playpen). You want to get them as far away as possible and eliminate the risk of them wandering over to the disaster area.
Put on gloves and shoes. Any heavy-duty work gloves—such as the ones used for gardening or carpentry—will work fine. The thicker the material, the better. Avoid thin cloth gloves, as these provide very minimal protection. As much as possible, don’t use rubber gloves either—they don’t give you the best grip.
If your feet are bare, put on shoes or slippers. Glass slivers tend to be very small. Their size, coupled with their transparency, renders them practically invisible. You’ll be glad for the protection should you accidentally step on them.
Determine the Cause of The Damage
If the window broke due to storm debris or some other natural cause, you might want to file an insurance claim. If approved, this can help cover the cost of the replacement window. Take photographs of the damage and request for an agent to come over and assess the situation as soon as possible.
If you suspect a break-in, call the police station and file a report. The report can also serve as supporting documentation when filing an insurance claim. Be sure to follow the police’s instructions to the letter. If they tell you to stay in a hotel or at a friend’s house for the next few days while they investigate, do so.
>>Learn What Safety Glazing Is and if Your Windows Need It
In most cases, the soonest the repairman can come over is the following day. This means you’re left without a window for the next twelve hours or so. This is very dangerous for several reasons, the primary one being that you’re completely exposed. So, while waiting for the professionals to take over, here are some DIY quick fixes you can do in the meantime.
- Wearing heavy-duty work gloves, methodically clean up and dispose of all broken glass in the area. Check the window pane as well; if there are shards of glass still attached to the borders, gently ease them out and dispose of them too. Then staple a square of thick plastic (big enough to cover the hole) onto the surrounding window sash.
- A viable alternative to thick plastic is duct tape or masking tape. Clean up and dispose of the glass shards, and then stretch duct tape or masking tape over the gap, taping each end of the strip to the opposite ends of the window’s mullions or borders. Keep laying out strips of tape until you’ve covered the hole completely. Repeat this process on the other side.
- If the window is broken but still in one piece (i.e., there’s just a giant crack in the glass), reinforce it by applying duct tape, electrical tape, or packaging tape to both sides of the crack.
These window replacement methods may be crude, but there’s no sense in risking safety and security for aesthetic quality in emergencies such as this. If you don’t have any of the materials on-hand, try to ask for help from your neighbors or a friend that lives close by. Once you’ve placed all the necessary calls and cleaned up the mess, securing that gap is the top priority.