How to deal with broken window glass

Dealing with broken window glass is a situation that no homeowner or apartment dweller wants to go through, but accidents do happen. For anyone dealing with a window  that has been broken or shattered, there’s not only the issue of handling a mess that could prove to be dangerous but dealing with the matter of replacement.

Bits, shards and chunks of broken window glass can be sharp and dangerous, so refer to these steps to get started with a safe cleanup:

1. Call a repair service.

Start by calling a local glass repair company. The faster you get the broken window replaced, the less you will have to worry about insects, elements or water entering your home through the broken window. Check references and get quotes from at least three companies.

In Indianapolis, Angie's List members have submitted consumer reviews on more than 200 local glass repair companies, so there's bound to be a highly rated company convenient to you.

2. Assess the mess.

If the window is cracked or only partially broken, inspect the pane and surrounding frame to assess whether or not the window is stable as-is of if it will eventually shatter completely. Be especially careful around unstable or unsecured glass that may fall.

If the window shattered completely, try to determine how far the glass scattered to evaluate how big your cleanup area will be. Look for glass shards or particles in areas such as behind furniture, within cushions and on top of furniture surfaces, not just on the floor.

3. Secure the area.

Preventing potential injuries should be your first priority, especially around children or pets. Cordon off the area with chairs or furniture to make sure no one accidentally steps on broken glass. Make sure everyone is aware of the incident.

4. Protect yourself.

If you're going to be working with or near broken glass, wear close-toed shoes and heavy gloves such as leather lawn and garden gloves if available.

5. Secure the window.

If a glass repair company is not immediately available for emergency service, you'll want to secure the window. If the broken pane has left a large hole, or fallen out of the window frame completely, the best way to protect your home from the elements is to cover the window or window frame with a piece of plywood at least as large as the window.

If large shards of glass still protrude from the window frame, it may be safer to use a gloved hand to snap off the shards to prevent injury as you secure the window.

If you don't' have the tools or a sheet of plywood handy, the next best option is to cover the window with a heavy tarp. If the broken glass has not fallen out of the window — such as a long crack or series of cracks in a large picture window — and no plywood or tarp is available, taping the crack using duct or gaffer's tape can temporarily secure the window.

6. Clean up the broken pieces.

Double-bag all the loose glass in trash bags and place immediately in the trash. When cleaning up after a window or mirror has been broken near tile or hardwood floors, sweep and then vacuum slowly and carefully to avoid pulling a shard under the wheel of the vacuum and scratching your floors.

If the glass was broken around carpeting, you face a trickier task. First, pick up the most visible pieces wearing protective gloves, then vacuum the carpet. Then use a small scrub brush to agitate the carpet fibers. Afterward, use a  piece of tape to pick up smaller shards. Be sure to test the tape out on an inconspicuous area to ensure that it doesn't damage your carpet.

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