Glass doors, whether they are for your shower or back porch, are certainly pretty. Unfortunately, when they break, they pose a serious safety risk. When an accident occurs it is important to keep everyone safe. Replacing the door will be expensive enough; you don't need to add in the cost of an emergency room trip as well.
Keep Children And Pets Away From The Area
The first step in dealing with this problem is to clear the area. Most glass doors are made from safety tempered glass, which is designed to break into small, relatively harmless pieces. However, there are still going to be plenty of sharp bits and pieces in that pile of shards. Since kids and pets may not understand that the glass is dangerous, the only way to keep them safe is to keep them out of the room. For bathrooms, you can simply shut the door, but you may need to find a way to erect a temporary barrier around an outside door.
You also need to make sure that you are protecting yourself when you do your initial clean up. The less of your skin that is showing, the better when you are working with these small shards of glass. Gloves, long sleeves, long pants, and sturdy shoes are a must. Safety glasses are also a good idea, but if the tempered glass has completely fallen apart like it is supposed to, it is unlikely you will get glass near your face.
Remove Any Remaining Glass
Once you've cleared the area and gotten some protective clothing on, it is time to deal with the mess. If there is any glass remaining in the frame, you should remove it. Small pieces can be pulled out with pliers, but if the door is relatively intact, you should try to prevent it from falling apart further. Take two large pieces of plastic and tape them to either side of the glass. This way, when you remove the pane, the plastic can contain any piece that would otherwise fall onto the floor or into your clothing.
A broom and dustpan are your first set of tools for trying to collect up the broken glass. Larger pieces can be wrapped and taped in several layers of newspaper to help keep them from ripping through the bag. For the small shards of tempered glass, a couple layers of garbage bags is probably enough as long as you don't let it get too heavy. As mentioned, the tempering process causes the glass to break with fewer sharp edges to cut through the bag. Finally, run over the area with a vacuum cleaner or damp paper towel to pick up the tiny shards that are too small for the broom to deal with. With all these methods, it is important to dispose of the glass right away, and keep it secured away from children and pets until you are able to put it out to the curb.
Put Up A Temporary Shield While You Wait For Repairs
If it is a shower door that shattered, your best choice will be to either use another bathroom or put up a shower curtain temporarily until you can get someone out to repair the damage. For an outside door, things can get a little more difficult as you still want to have an airtight seal. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit the opening. That will create the foundation. Once that is done, split open a plastic bag and tape it in place to create a seal. If possible, conceal this from public view as this method poses a serious security risk.
Taking care of your broken glass door properly will ensure that no one gets hurt. Once you have a temporary door in place, you can take a deep breath and find a qualified glass door repair tech. Waiting to take care of the problem will only give your family an opportunity to come into contact with a piece of broken glass.