'Terrified': Mystery as shower screen 'explodes' by itself

·4-min read

A Sydney mum has spoken out about the “terrifying” moment her glass shower screen suddenly “exploded” while she and her family were sleeping.

Around 6am on Sunday, Cady Tran, her husband, 35, and their one-year-old son were in bed at their Bankstown apartment when they heard a huge “boom”.

The 27-year-old told Yahoo News Australia on Thursday the loud noise forced them to bolt upright and check on their son who was in his cot nearby.

“Once we both found out he was safe, then we walked to where the cracking noise came from to see what’d happened ... and here we go, [it was] completely shattered. 

"Everything is a disaster,” she recalled.

The shattered glass shower screen in Cady Tran's bathroom.
Around 6am on Sunday, Cady Tran was in bed when she heard a huge “boom”. Source: Cady Tran

Ms Tran said she was “shocked” by the incident but grateful that they were not in the bathroom at the time.

“If it was on the weekday, we would be in the bathroom getting ready for the day and things would be very different,” she said, adding that she’s afraid it will happen again in their second ensuite bathroom.

The 27-year-old told Yahoo News Australia she and her husband tried to clean up the mess but ended up with “cuts all over” their hands.

She said she contacted the agent for their rental apartment but as of Thursday no one had been sent over to clean and fix the glass screen.

“We cleaned most of it but still there are so many pieces that we can’t risk ourselves to do it,” Ms Cady wrote in a Facebook post about the bizarre ordeal.

“I’m still in shock and panic and scared this will happen again,” she said.

Ms Tran, her husband and their son pose for a photo.
Ms Tran and she and her husband, 35, jumped up to make sure their son was ok. Source: Cady Tran

Facebook users share their own experiences

Ms Tran’s Facebook post has attracted more than 500 comments, with many social media users detailing their own experiences with glass shower screens suddenly shattering.

“We had EXACTLY the same thing happen to us....but with two little kids inside showering! Luckily only a couple of cuts — VERY SCARY!” one woman wrote.

“We had this happen with a pool fence panel, went off like a bomb,” another said.

A third woman said she and her son sustained cuts to their feet when their glass door broke while they were in the shower.

Commenters gave a variety of causes for why their own screens exploded.

One person said they later found a major leak in their ensuite pipes, while others attributed it to inferior materials in the glass expanding in the heat.

A woman who said she owned a glass business said a lot of shower screens are now being imported from China, suggesting the quality was sometimes subpar. 

“Their toughening process is usually not great. Can also have a slight defect and the changes in temperature can make it shatter at any time,” she said.

Why do glass shower screens break?

Toughened or tempered glass is commonly used to manufacture glass shower screens because its cooling process makes it more resistant to impact stress and temperature changes, according to the Fair Trading NSW website.

“A break in toughened glass such as a shower screen can occur when a small chip or weakening in the hard outer layer of the glass disturbs its surface tension,” the website reads.

“This could cause it to burst inwards or implode without warning.”

Mark Meshulam, a US building consultant who has testified as an expert about shower screens breaking, has described tempered glass as “like a tightly wound spring”.

During an interview with US publication The Morning Call, Mr Meshulam said glass screens can break if there is an internal flaw or damage like a crack or misaligned screw.

“All of these little chips and cracks that are tiny, tiny, tiny, they can eventually turn into a failure and it will appear to be spontaneous,” he said.

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