3 Things You Can Do To Prevent Scary Shower Screen Accidents

  • Mar 1, 2015

After living without one for three decades, my in-laws installed a shower screen in their master bathroom to separate the bath area from the rest of the toilet. As this means less cleaning, my mother-in-law is understandably pleased. Me? I'm just glad there's less jostling for the kitchen bathroom every morning.


While a glass shower screen is beautiful and a good choice for small bathrooms, we can't deny that safety is one issue that shouldn't be neglected. Given the recent freak shower screen accident that took a young man's life in Jurong, it's high time we look at our own shower screen and the risks that come with it.

Glass can break at the slightest impact and at lightning speed too (slightly over 1/1000 of a second), making it very dangerous if you do not take any safety precautions. If lucky, we escape with minor scratches but in worse scenarios, shower screen accidents can be disfiguring or even fatal. So what can we do to prevent unwanted tragedies?


1. Choose the right glass

If you are considering a shower screen to beautify your home or for practical reasons like my in-laws', do take note of what type of glass to go for. Tempered glass is often recommended as it is four times stronger than normal glass and does not break in sharp, jagged edges. Instead, it minimises injury by shattering in smaller, more rounded fragments.

That's definitely safer than untoughened glass, but even better is tempered glass that is laminated. Laminated tempered glass is made by bonding two or more layers of glass with interlayers of PVB under heat and pressure to create a single layer of glass. Even if it breaks, any glass shatter remains adhered to the PVB layer. It's less commonly found in households because it's pricier, but we think there is no price tag on safety, don't you agree?


2. Understand why glass breaks and how to avoid it

We often think that glass breaks only on impact. However, there's another cause known as spontaneous breakage, something tempered glass is prone to. According to Yusof B. Kassim, Consultant from 3M, spontaneous breakage"is due to contaminants or impurities within the glass brought about during the manufacturing process."

Apparently, these impurities can become unstable over time and result in stress release (i.e. breakage) within the glass. All these minuscule changes are invisible to the naked eye until one day when our shower screen shatters, seemingly without a reason. Yusof has this to add: "With spontaneous breakage, it can happen at any time without warning and without any impact being applied to the glass."

Since spontaneous glass breakage cannot be prevented, one way is to...


3. Use security films to strengthen your shower screen and prevent glass shatter

Let's say you already have your shower screen installed at the point of reading this article. Does this mean your only resort is to replace the entire shower screen?

Thankfully, there are more wallet-friendly alternatives that do the job. 3M Safety & Security Film can be installed on existing glass panels to provide shatter resistance. A special film sheet that is bonded to glass using 3M adhesives, known for their mind-blowing strength, 3M Safety & Security Film holds broken glass together, thus helping to reduce the possibility of injury or damage caused by flying glass shards.

Broken glass is held together by 3M Safety & Security Film

Glass films come in different types, including decorative ones, so for a functional glass film that provides protection for you and your family, it really is best to consult suppliers like 3M for the best advice. Understand more at www.3mwindowfilms.sg or consult authorised 3M distributor Jestac.

Many thanks to Yusof B. Kassim, Singapore Certified Energy Manager and Technical Consultant from 3M Renewable Energy Division, for providing the answers about spontaneous breakage.

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