I spent nearly 10 years in retail glass and we did a lot of new installs, as
well as replacement for shower cubicles, so came upon many instances of this
type of breakage.
You didn't mention if it was one panel of several, framed or frameless, or
how long it has been used prior to the incident, which can have a bearing on
the best option, but will try to cover a few scenarios . . .
Without a doubt toughened should be your best bet. Never even seen a
toughened panel breakage in a cubicle.
It just shouldn't break with thermal shock of hot water hitting cold glass
etc, and unless the edges are exposed (the weakest point) it should
withstand quite strong hammer blows !
One reason I'm not a big fan of frameless doors is that a fairly moderate
hit on the edge with a hard object can cause toughened to break.
A very sharp impact can break toughened, eg we did lots of patio sliding
door replacements over the years after someone had mowed the grass. Likely
scenario is a small stone was flung and hit the glass, sometimes they
explode much later in the day when temp changes caused thermal contraction
As Chris said, it was most likely a manufacturing defect . . . but how long
was it in situ before the incident ?
Laminated will be mildly safer, as the interlayer will hold the glass
together quite well.
It is commonly used in cheaper versions of cubicles in either 5.38mm or 6.38
thickness, but is weaker re impact, and hot water on cold glass will
sometimes cause thermal breakage, but not quite as easy as the older out of
date wired glasses.
Bear in mind, with lam there would very likely still be some small splinters
come from the break line (spalling).
Lexan (5mm or 6mm) could be your best option, it is tough, even moreso than
toughened glass for impact, and should present no issues with safety. Just a
cleaning / appearance issue over time, but that is minor compared to the
Some things to consider.
Are there other panels you would need to change also ?
Lexan is very expensive compared to any of the glasses mentioned above.
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