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What Causes Glass Shower Doors to Explode?

A sizzling hot shower is the best way to relax after a hard day at the office. But if your glass shower door explodes into a thousand small pieces while you’re taking a shower. What caused this, exactly? Glass shower doors are visually appealing and can enhance the look of your bathroom. You can show off your classy shower with glass doors, flapping doors, or a nickel and glass shower. But, like all mechanical parts, these glass doors are also not flawless. It might be a faulty screw or the glass breaking.

We wish you never had to suffer with a broken glass shower door. But, if you do, it’s crucial to know how to handle a broken glass door. The repairs may be simple or complex. In fact, they would break while nobody was using the shower. When first told about this, many contractors and glassmakers were shocked. They tried to figure out why glass shower doors randomly exploded.

You should know that this is quite rare. You don’t have to worry about putting a glass shower door in your house. In fact, the U.S.  Safety Commission says that broken glass doors rarely cause injuries. But the question still stands: what causes glass shower doors to explode for no reason? If you want to know why your glass shower doors are shattering, you should keep reading.

What Causes a Glass Shower Door to Explode?

Glass experts say that tempered glass contains a lot of energy that is trying to leak out. When glass is made, sometimes nickel sulfide inclusions, which look like tiny pebbles. It gets stuck inside the glass. The glass and pebbles will grow and shrink when the bathroom temperature increases. Also, the pebbles can make the glass weaker, which can cause it to break. Experts also said that improper installation could cause the glass to burst.

It also happened because of damage and flaws that already existed. It is always best to use a reliable glazier to fix or install glass. It’s important to ensure the glass is fitted properly and of the highest quality. The shower glass can also break when the temperature rises a lot. But this isn’t caused by day-night temperature changes. Also, drill holes in tempered glass edges might cause unexpected shower damage.

Causes of a Glass Shower Door Explosion

Nickel sulfide causes door explosion.

You may have heard stories in the news about random glass exploding. But what causes glass shower doors to explode? In a few cases, it’s because of how the tempering process works. Because of the inclusions of nickel sulfide, glass can unexpectedly break. In rare cases, the inclusions can develop over time and become a pressure source. It could crack as a result of heat or other external pressure. These incidents are rare and shouldn’t stop you from installing a glass shower.

Some companies that make glass do something called “heating-soaking.” Heat soaking in a chamber prevents spontaneous glass shattering from nickel sulfide. It puts the glass in a place where it gets hotter than nickel sulfide can control. This lets the glass burst in a safe place instead of when installed or the user has it. This is a fail-or-pass test, but not all companies decide to undertake it. Glasses gain some resistance to impact when heated, which is a nice bonus. Its defenses are less effective against side impacts. For example, even a tiny crack in the glass along the edge could cause the door to break over time.

Poorly installed shower door

When installed incorrectly, glass shower doors can sometimes break. The door might come off its hinges or fall off the track if it wasn’t installed properly. The same goes for broken components, such as rubber feet or base runners. These things can also lead to glass breaking. Always check the condition of the glass to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones. You should check the bolts and fixtures on the frame to ensure they are tight. Also, inspect the glass edges for flaws and breaks that can cause it to break suddenly. It’s also crucial to stop banging on the shower door. You shouldn’t use towel racks or doorknobs as a handhold, either. Because doing so could cause severe cracks in a glass door.

Thermal expansion can cause the glass to explode.

Thermal expansion affects all materials, but some are stronger at it. So, Glass shower doors explode due to thermal expansion. Thermal growth happens when the atoms of a material bounce at a higher frequency because of heat. They’re getting more energized as a result of the heat. This is due to the increased frequency of their vibrations. They take up more space because they are moving about more. If the material is hard or brittle expands due to heat. The more room an atom consumes, the less powerful it is. Because it cannot move too far without breaking. The component will expand until it’s stressed too much.

Vibrations of glass atoms reach a critical point at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The glass has reached its maximum capacity for expansion. The result is broken glass. But there isn’t much chance that your shower door will get this hot.   The water temperature may rise after heavy use, but it won’t go above 300°F. It might break the glass because it is already stressed to breaking point.   Thermal expansion may break your shower door if you take regular hot showers. Even more so if the water hits the glass directly.

If your bathroom doesn’t have enough airflow, these chances go up even more. Also, if the shower fan doesn’t operate long enough to remove heat. For this reason, your bathroom can get quite hot for extended periods. Don’t take hot showers regularly to reduce these risks. Also, you should make sure your bathroom fan reduces heat effectively.

Cracks in the edges or drill holes cause them to break.

Glass nicks and drilling holes from making or fitting may not shatter immediately. But, this does not make the glass more durable. In fact, nicks and holes damage the glass’s structural strength overall. The edges and thin sides of tempered glass are the weakest parts. This is the same as a thermal expansion because of how rigid and stiff glass is. Glass can’t tolerate much stress, unlike flexible and less stiff materials. Glass nicks and holes cause pressure that increases with use. 

Your shower door’s unexpected breaking is due to this. Even more so if your door doesn’t have a metal frame but instead has drilled holes. If the shower door contains drill holes or wear-and-tear nicks. When you are rough with the shower door or take very hot showers, the chance it will explode increases. You can lower the chance of your shower door breaking by being gentle with it. Also, you can limit risk by buying a framed shower door without drill holes.

How to Avoid Shower Doors Explode?

Keep an eye out for chips and cracks.

The door becomes weaker and could break if it gets even the smallest cracks or chips. Because movement and expansion of glass happen with temperature changes. Tempered glass is the standard material for shower doors. This splits into smaller pieces to keep people from getting hurt by big pieces. The edges of this kind of glass are not as strong. You should look for signs of damage on the door’s edges regularly. Also, you need to look at the areas around the glass hardware attachment holes. If you find any problems, you should get new doors.

You can check loose fixtures.

You can examine your door for hardware movement, including security brackets. If the door shakes, check for loose screws and tighten them. This is because the edges tend to break first. The whole door could break if the glass pane falls off and hits the edges. Loose screws or nuts can also cause cracks in the door frames. This can cause breaking.

Avoid having an impact.

Tempered glass is strong in the middle but could break if it is hit hard enough. It’s best not to slam the door. You need to make sure the floor around the shower stays dry. Also, a bath mat might help you prevent slipping and tumbling into the door. It helps to avoid chipping, cracking, or removing it from its fittings.

Put plastic sheets over the door.

We advise installing a thin sheet of protection. Because it keeps the glass door from falling on the shower floor. Also, these sheets spread pressure directly. So, it lowers the chances of breaking the door.

Use protective strips on the shower door.

It is recommended to install shower door strip slides on the outer edge of your door. It relieves pressure under the tracks and around the door. Because breaking is most likely to happen in the corners. These protective strips are the best way to fix the problem.

Is It Safe to Use Glass Shower Doors?

It’s true that sometimes glass shower doors will break on their own. They may have scared you and made you anxious to have them in your house. Don’t worry, this is very unusual to happen. It is safe to use glass shower doors. This is especially true if they are built and installed by trained experts. Maintaining shower doors extends their lifespan and prevents damage. If they sustain any damage, your glass shower doors may need to be replaced. 

Glass shower doors made of tempered glass are the safest type. Also, if you don’t bang your shower door, it will last longer. Hard water minerals can damage shower doors if not cleaned after usage. Tempered glass shatters into small pieces. It’s made to be as harmless as possible. Please do not freak out if the shower glass breaks. You need to look for a towel, exit the shower, and try to avoid stepping on the glass.


Shower doors are undoubtedly not shatterproof. Even though shower doors are usually made to handle a lot of pressure. But they can explode in some situations. You can avoid these annoying shower door issues by using high-quality tempered glass. Also, you must improve the hinges and seal the sides. Temporary glass is still your best bet when it comes to shower doors. Tempered glass doors can last up to four times longer than regular glass ones. But they still explode. Slams, faulty hinges, edge stress, and poor adjustment can break shower doors. Shower doors can also break if not installed properly.

The good news is that sudden glass explosions rarely happen. So don’t let it stop you from putting one in. Even if it happens, there’s no need to worry. If your shower door explodes, don’t panic—this happens sometimes. You should closely look into the situation. Next, you’ll need to decide if you need to contact emergency services. Most of the time, you can clean up an exploded door with a mop and dustpan. We hope this guide about what causes glass shower doors to explode is helpful for you.

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