Cracked, Not Shattered: How to Secure a Cracked Window

It's frustrating when a window breaks, but then at least the worst has happened. The glass has broken and then fallen to the ground, allowing you to clean up the mess and call a window glass replacement company. It can be somewhat unsettling when a window merely cracks. Is it going to break soon? Will it stay like this for years if you do nothing? When a window has cracked, the glass has lost its structural integrity, and this makes a break far more likely. You don't want the window to suddenly break up into numerous pieces when you or a member of your family happen to be sitting in front of it. So how can you secure a cracked window while you wait for it to be repaired?

A Quick Fix

Heavy duty tape will secure your window in a pinch. It needs to be thick, strong tape, so gaffer tape, packaging tape and even gardening tape would work. The thin, transparent tape that you might have at home for working with paper is simply not strong enough. A self-adhesive exercise book cover would also work well. Tear off enough tape (or self-adhesive cover) to completely encompass the cracked portion of the window. Press it against the glass using the tips of your fingers. Do not apply too much pressure as you might break the glass. Be sure to fold a corner of the tape or self-adhesive cover in on itself. This leaves a loose corner, but it allows for the tape or self-adhesive cover to be safely removed. You will need to apply tape or self-adhesive cover to both sides of the glass for added stability.

A Stronger Fix

Superglue will hold small cracks together, but please remember that this is a temporary measure. Lightly rub the glass with rubbing alcohol to remove any grime that might prevent the glue from drying properly. Apply glue to the cracks and allow it to dry. You can also use a home window repair kit if you have one handy. These kits typically use a vinyl resin to seal the cracks. Please think carefully before using superglue or a home window repair kit on a minor crack. No matter how careful you might be, you might end up leaving messy residue on the glass. This is only a short-term aesthetic issue, since the glass will soon be repaired.

An Overnight Fix

If you are not able to have your cracked window inspected within a timely fashion, you might want a more secure short-term solution. If you have a piece of plywood that is big enough to cover the window, then this is easy to install. Measure the window and cut the plywood to size. A circular saw is best, although a hacksaw will also work (albeit with a slightly rougher result). It can then be nailed or screwed into place over the window frame. Secure the cracked glass with appropriate tape before installing the wood, just in case the vibrations of the hammer causes the cracked glass to fracture.

Please remember that all these methods of securing a cracked window are only temporary. The window has been weakened and will eventually break. This is why it's important to have the damage repaired as soon as possible, no matter how good a job you did nailing that plywood into place.