Exploding Safety Glass Panels - Shower screens, Balustrades etc

Our shower screen randomly exploded yesterday, sounded like a car accident. Thankfully no one in bathroom at the time. Glass is everywhere in the bathroom and some in the hallway. Screen was installed during house renovation 2.5 yrs ago. No extreme temps or earthquake (!). Builder/product warranty has expired. Has anyone had experience of this? Is there a place it can be reported (feels like a safety issue)? Inclined to remove large frameless panel in the ensuite (installed at the same time).


Hi @TrickyT, welcome to the community.

Was it the door or a fixed glass panel? There are reports online about doors exploding…

In addition to those causes for doors, fixed glass panels can also shatter due to building movement, which places stress on the glass causing it to break.

Working out the cause of the shatter, may be impossible after the shatter occurs…as the reason for it to shatter will be in small pieces.

Check with you insurer if the glass panel is covered by the policy and what excess applies if it is. If you decide to replace it this will give you an indication of whether to lodge a claim against your insurance policy, or whether it is cheaper to replace outside insurance.

You could try and reporting it , but since the glass is tempered and will shatter into pieces rather than shards, the interest to take in further may be limited.


Thank you for the info, it was the panel that exploded. We’ve let the installer know and are exploring the insurance options. Some of the glass fragments are sharp and given the amount and force could possible have harmed someone in the shower/room at the time.


The way the glass has failed sounds similar to expected for one type of safety glass required to be used in showers/bathrooms.

Are you able to confirm if possible the glass panel supplied by the builder was compliant with the applicable Standards? AS/NZS 1288 and 2208.

How did you determine the failure is not warrantable? Requirements vary across jurisdictions. EG QLD builders warranty for specified works may be 6 years and 6 months, specified by legislation.


The warranty was in the building contract (he subcontracted the bathroom products and install). The glass company warranty also states 12 months for their shower screens. I’ll look into the ACT legislation though, thx.


This is mostly a list-making exercise unless/until there are widespread reports about the product.


Thank you, I will look into this too.


Here is an explanation of how and why:


This happened to me on 2 occasions 2 years ago
Once I was away on holidays and the shower door in the main bathroom exploded and 4 months later the side glass in the onsuite exploded while I was at home but in another room - it sounded terrible - yes glass everywhere. And loads of cuts picking it up - I bought the house in 2014 and both bathrooms were updated for the sale - I found out from the glazier that it’s a common occurrence in our local regional area - said they got about 7 a month
Cost me $ 500 each to fix the same as the insurance excess!! So I just paid


Wow, that is crazy! Grateful if you could share which state you live in, thx.


Thanks, very helpful. I wasn’t aware of the safety film. The company which installed it is sending someone to inspect the ‘scene’ and we will explore this too.


This topic is raising more questions, than answers.

Frameless glass and framed or partly framed panels are used in many safety related situations. In bathrooms the use is one of separating wet areas from dry. Elsewhere frameless glass panels may be used as swimming pool safety fencing, on multi story buildings as balustrade, on stairways and in shopping centres for mezzanine levels, to suggest some other locations.

The standard AS/NZ 1288 is commonly referenced. One source relates Grade A Safety Glass shall be either toughened monolithic or laminated.

If there are incidents of bathroom glass panels failing, is the same observed of glass panels used in other critical applications?

For consumers and the community as a whole are there further serious concerns,

  1. Are the Australian Standard and/or building regulations deficient in where they allow the use of glass panels? Or are the minimum standards for the products permitted inadequate?
  2. Alternately if the AS and building regulations are up to the task (reliable in requirements and accurate in minimum specifications), are consumers being sold products that are not fit for purpose?

Neither circumstance would seem satisfactory from the consumer point of view. An industry dismissing failures and inherent risk of the product, asks whether the products are truely fit for purpose or the industry is falsely promoting an unsafe product?

One test is to ask how long the average consumer might reasonably expect a glass panel used in a bathroom to perform safe and reliable service? Consumer ignorance vs industry opportunism!

  1. Are those without prior knowledge likely to expect the lifetime of the bathroom?
  2. Is the retailer simply going to offer a nod and wink suggesting their product is reliable and safe, or emphasise the risks of early and unexpected failures?

Apply enough force to safety glass and it will break. The “safety” part has to cover how it breaks:-

  • Toughened glass breaks into many tiny bits
  • Laminated glass breaks into large bits

My home was completed in 1991 and there are windows and shower doors that are laminated glass and not toughened glass. Eventually water will get into the layers of laminated glass in a shower screen - a visual inspection will show this.

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There are some businesses promoting toughened glass as more resistant to the soap scums etc in showers. Toughened glass is supposedly also lower cost than laminated glass.

I’m not promoting one type of AS compliant safety glass over another. For the option of toughened glass in bathrooms though. Are we victims of fashion in seeking lower cost glass panels, and in return receiving lower quality of manufacture and or thinner glass? The relative strength of toughened glass increases with thickness, but so does the weight and cost.

Toughened glass offered for pool fencing (Bunnings) are 12mm thick panels. Similar for balustrade applications. The assumption is these panels are strong enough to resist most outdoor forces including impacts from outdoor sports and the occasional stumble.

Laminated glass is the norm for car windscreens, often with exposed edges. The edges are capable of being well sealed, at least to provide good service life out doors in rain, cold and hot sun.

Laminated safety glass was used for our cyclone rated double sliding patio doors and fixed panels in North QLD. Numerous homes over time. In respect of breaking the one example of extreme impact cracked the outer sheet of glass but failed to crack the panel completely.


Hi our shower shower screen exploded yesterday (23 feb). The screen was 10 ml frameless, 1.2mt by 2mt, 18 months old, guest bathroom and rarely used. After we cleaned up the glass it was clear to see if anyone had been in the room at the time they could have been severely injured. The exploding glass (it did not just crack and fall) chipped the floor tiles, chipped the benchtop and walls. Spoke to our builder and he assured us the screen installed had met the Australian Safety Standards. The incident was frightening. How rare is this occurrence? I read another article here where someone else had a similar incident happen so is this more common than we thought?


Welcome to the Community @carnett,

I moved your topic into this existing one that might provide some insight.


Thank you phil. My first time posting anything.


Unfortunately the standard does not provide assurance this can’t happen. The shattered small pieces of glass is the outcome the standard assures for heat treated toughened safety glass if it is over stressed. IE Impact load, excessive movement of anchor points, temperature change or other.

Poor quality glass may contain inherent defects which can also cause random failures for no readily apparent reason.

IMO saying that the failed product met Australian Safety Standards is not the same as saying the glass supplied was free of defects or properly installed. Is failure after 18 months evidence the product was fit for purpose? What the contract with the builder said re warranty on glass may be worthwhile checking?


That should not have happened tell you about dangerous.Maybe a crack at worse but not shattered glass

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Agree with all your points Mark, at no time during the screen selection or installation process were we made aware of the ‘very rare’ occurrence of this nature. It wasn’t until it happened that we became aware. For the record, the installer seems concerned and (so far) has indicated a willingness to replace (we’re opting for laminated this time).

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