Though windows have not always contained glass, as the word originated from an Old Norse word that roughly translates to wind eye, nearly all modern windows do contain glass, which can become a hazard when broken. Glass began to be commonly used in residential windows around the industrial revolution. Depending on where in the world windows were created, paper or dried animal skins were used to achieve translucency near window openings. Modern industrial plate glass made modern windows possible and inexpensive for most home owners. Because glass, unlike formerly used materials, can shatter and create sharp edges, there are a few things to keep in mind when temporarily replacing a broken window. Depending on how urgent and temporary the fix is intended to be, there are also a few different steps that can be taken.
Regardless of the length of time that it takes for the window to be permanently fixed, any immediate hazards must first be neutralized. This usually begins by cleaning up the mess that was caused when the window broke. Before beginning, it is important to take the right safety precautions first. Perhaps the most important safety precaution is having the proper protection. Protective gloves, work boots, and goggles should always be used when removing glass. Having gloves made from material that cannot easily be pierced by glass, such as leather, is particularly important. Wearing boots or footwear that doesn’t expose skin will help keep you from getting cut, should any pieces fall to the floor during repair. Once all the proper safety precautions have been taken, begin by removing any large pieces of glass from the floor. Use a broom to remove the medium sized pieces, and a fine brush to remove the very small, but very dangerous small shards. It may also help to finish up by wiping the area with a damp cloth to remove any pieces that cannot be easily seen by the human eye. Once done, dispose of the cloth.
If the window will be fixed in the short term, it is best to tape the window along any broken pieces and apply a temporary cover such as cardboard or a translucent wrap. These short term materials can be applied until a professional is able to quickly repair the window properly. The most important part of this temporary fix is that no one is injured while waiting for the window to be repaired.
If the window will not be fixed for some time, it is best to start removing the glass completely in order to avoid possible injury in the future. Removing broken glass from a window can cause serious injury. If you fear that you may not have the appropriate experience to remove glass, it is important that a window repair company be contacted to remove the glass. Once the proper precaution has been taken, tape should be used to cover any glass portions with cracks. This will prevent any glass shards from breaking off of the remaining pane and falling onto the floor. In order to make the second clean-up process faster, it may be a good idea to place a cloth below the window in case any should break off during removal. Continue by loosening the large pieces of glass with a solid object, then slowly removing them. Using a chisel, then remove any of the smaller pieces from the frame. Now that the glass has been removed, you can now apply a temporary material to the window, such as cardboard or translucent plastic.
The last, but critical step in temporarily replacing a broken window is disposing of the glass. Many communities offer proper disposal for glass. If this is the case in your area, place the glass in a container that will not be pierced while you wait to dispose of it properly. If your community does not offer these services, you’ll want to dispose of the glass in a clearly labeled container, so that people are aware of the hazard.