Cabinet Glass Fell Out

wobbly1905July 27, 2013

My wife was opening the dish cabinet built and installed by our
"fine woodworking" contractor when the glass panel in one of the doors fell on her head and shattered. She had three minor cuts. Luckily she was wearing her glasses and none of the shards severed a vein.

Now I'm wondering who is liable for the glass breakage. To speed up the job we took the cabinet doors made by the contractor to the glass shop which the contractor recommended. We told the shop that the glass work was for the contractor (to supposedly get a better price). The glass shop cut the patterned glass and installed it in the cabinet doors. The glass was secured with a bead of silicone. We returned the cabinet doors with the glass in them to the contractor and he installed them without adding any trim pieces.

We can't ask the contractor for compensation because we obtained a settlement from him which absolves him from any defects.

I'm wondering if the glass shop will say that they expected the contractor to put trim around the glass to hide the silicone .

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Sophie Wheeler

You don't use trim over silicone. The silicone should have been sufficient. Also, safety glass or laminated glass should have been specified.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 10:36PM
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Elraes Miller

When I had mine done, trim was placed over silicone. Is this not the norm? Never thought about it, just normal install. Not sure I would want the edge of the glass showing. Would seem unfinished to me.

If you don't have a lot of glass doors, I would take them back to the glass shop and have them checked. One door wouldn't cause me to ask for liability since you already have dealt with the contractor on some other issue and resolved.

Thankfully your wife is fine. Although I too would be a bit nervous about the other doors and want to be sure they are solid insets or correctly done.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 7:40AM
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Glass sits on the inside of the door in a rabbeted groove. It is set in silicone and we generally add a few glazing points to help the silicone until it is properly set (but do not remove them obviously). No idea why it fell out but to try and affix blame and who is liable is a little overboard in my opinion.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:37AM
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I'm just trying to find out what is standard practice. If the glass fell out because of the glass shop's negligence I'd like them to replace at their expense. I don't see how this is "overboard" in any way. I'm not asking for "pain and suffering"! If it's the contractor's negligence we have no recourse, since we already made him pay us for his other shoddy work and signed a settlement agreement with him.

The glass shop should be made aware that someone could be seriously injured by their faulty glass installation.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:47AM
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Wobbly: sorry this happened to your wife. I'm glad to hear she didn't have significant injuries.

I wasn't worried about the glass falling out of the doors until I read this. Our cabinet guy said he doesn't use silicone about instead, uses a rubber seal that goes around the edge of the glass so that it sits snugly in the groove.

Anyone heard of this and is this okay or should I have some other protection added like clips, etc?


    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:22AM
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Sophie Wheeler

We don't put the silicone inside the rabbit other than just a dot or two in the corners to cushion the glass slightly. The silicone goes on the back of the door and "fills in" the gap between the wood and glass. Done correctly, with the glass sized correctly, the bead overlaps the glass and the wood and is smooth and unobtrusive with the doors open. And I've never had one fail. Silicone is a heck of a strong adhesive. We just leave the doors flat to cure for a day or two, no clips needed. Since we're usually waiting on counters at that point, resting them across the open cabinet below works just fine unless you have curious pets. Then clean the fingerprints off of the glass and rehang them. Easy peasy.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:37AM
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Thank goodness no injuries! I don't think there is "standard" method. I've seen silicone only, wood stops only, both, glazing points, and the rubber insert that rkb has. I would certainly let the glass supplier/installer know, I think any business big or small would want to know about potential failures that could be injurious. I would also think they would offer a new glass at no charge, as long as you don't walk in demanding and threatening.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:39AM
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Wow, that's ugly that happened. Glass is definitely capable of nefarious injuries. I'm really sorry this happened and that your wife wasn't serious physically injured.

Is the new glass tempered? I'd be looking at clips now for the glass, but that's me.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:55AM
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We ordered the doors for our china cabinet "glass ready" and purchased the inserts locally. Following the glass folks' recommendation, we used a bead of silicone in the rabbet on the inside of the door. The door also came with these clips, one on each side, which we installed. Because this is a china cabinet, we used tempered glass in the bottom portion and non-tempered in the top half.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:00PM
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I'm going to see how mine was installed.

That's really scary! I would expect the glass shop would be so upset about their shoddy installation and your wife's poor head that they would want to make it right. They should re-inspect any other glass they installed and fix the one that was defective IMHO .

I just checked and mine is held in place by silicone only. It seems really secure, but now I'll be a bit nervous whenever I open it!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:18PM
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Thanks for the replies!
The cabinet doors have soft close hinges, so the door wasn't slammed when the pane fell out.

It's a rather strange glass shop. The owner is also a massage therapist who offers Tibetan Singing Bowl Therapy.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 2:11PM
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I've used only silicone for years without problem. I do prefer the clear rubber gasket when available, but not all manufacturers offer this.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 5:24PM
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Glad not too much damage.
Ours is installed between the frames - I can't see the actual mount as it is hidden..

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 5:46PM
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Mine is also silicone only and it looks exactly like sanjuangirl's. There has to be enough silicone overlapping into the corners and wood on the sides for it to be secure ... so I would just check your other doors for that too and have the glass shop redo them all if there seems to be any issue.

Strange about the massage therapy and Tibetan singing bowl (?!) therapy. Hey maybe it's all part of some wacky business strategy ... get people all freaked out so they need relaxation therapies to recover. :)

Glad your wife is okay and I hope the glass shop steps up for you,

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Did the glass fall out in one piece and then break as it landed (on your wife)? Or are there still bits of glass stuck to the cabinet? Glass can have internal (and invisible) stress that doesn't manifest itself for some time. Those stresses could occur during the manufacturing process (before the glass supplier received it), or during the handling by the glass supplier. Or while you were transporting the glass to your contractor. Or while your contractor installed it. The point is, if the glass broke and THEN fell, there is no telling when the initial damage occurred. If the glass fell out in one piece and THEN broke, that would be installer error.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 10:07AM
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The entire pane fell out and broke on top of my wife's head. She must have been looking down at the counter when it landed.

It looks like the failure was caused by coating the edges of the glass in silicone and then inserting it in the frame without putting a bead of silicone all around the glass after it was in the frame.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 11:26AM
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If it were me, I'd be taking down every single door and have them all redone properly before someone really get's hurt.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 12:11PM
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The glass shop owner replaced the broken glass for free.
At first he said that I didn't need to leave the matching door with intact glass. When I asked what was to prevent its glass from falling out, he reconsidered. There is now a small bead of silicone all around the back of the glass of both doors.

He never apologized for the glass cutting my wife, or for my having to make two trips to his shop. Evidently as a Tibetian singing bowl guru, he is above all that.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 11:19AM
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