How to Prevent Your Outdoor Patio Glass Tabletop from Shattering

Last updated on May 10, 2024

An outdoor patio glass tabletop is an attractive feature, but it comes with a risk of shattering. Here’s what you need to do to prevent it. Read on!

outdoor patio glass table protector

If you are considering sprucing up your patio for the warmer months ahead, you may wonder if a glass top table is a good idea. With a huge range of choices available in stores you can extend the interior décor chosen to the outside, these include designs that range from the ultra-modern to those that match every home’s décor, whether it’s classical or country-style. 

Other factors that you need to include before you decide what style of outdoor furniture and which glass top table to choose are lifestyle, budget, safety, and comfort. 

Most outdoor and patio tables fitted with glass are products that are usually finished with high-quality glass standards. However, as the consumer, you are the one that needs to ensure that the one you pick can withstand weather conditions. Make sure that its glass is manufactured with the highest quality standards that allow it to withstand impact and weather conditions especially differences in temperature changes. 

We got our glass experts to explain a few things about how glass can shatter and what you can do to prevent this from happening to your outdoor patio table glass. Their first piece of advice is to look for one with a tempered glass top. 

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Factors That Contribute to Glass Shattering

shattered glass

According to our experts, there are two main contributing factors: 

Weakening of the glass because of weather conditions.

There are many ways in which the weather affects the glass on outdoor furniture. 


A hail storm can often result in leaving the glass of the table pockmarked or cracked. The damage may sometimes not be visible to the human eye but will leave the glass more prone to shattering. 

Freezing and thawing cycles

In places where the winters are harsh and there are alternating freezing and thawing cycles, the glass becomes weak and often separates from the frame. Obviously, with this separation, the glass loses the protection offered by the frame, making it more vulnerable. 

Extreme gusts of wind

If there is a sudden gust of wind, garden and patio furniture is often moved around or knocked over. If the furniture bumps against railings or falls off a deck, the glass may crack or be weakened. 

Impacts from heavy objects

If a table made from poor quality glass or has a defect, then it will shatter or crack if hit by a heavy object. 

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Can an Outdoor Patio Table Glass Shatter by Itself?

patio glass table

If you have suddenly found the glass top of your outdoor table shattered, there may be some contributing factors. According to glass experts, this is not something unusual and can happen because of a combination of factors, and the most usual is if there has been a drastic temperature fluctuation in combination with a defect in the glass. 

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Is There Anything That You Can Do to Prevent Shattering? 

If your glass table has high-quality glass fitted, the likelihood of its shattering is minuscule. However, you can reduce the risk by ensuring that: 

  • Never leave an open umbrella on your table because a sudden gust of wind will carry it away much easier than a table that has a closed or no umbrella. 
  • Make sure that the table you choose for your outdoor is specially manufactured for outdoor use and has safety or tempered glass fitted. Beveled edges or those finished to a high polish are less likely to break and the glass thickness does play a role in how the table will withstand climatic conditions and impacts from heavy objects. 
  • If you have a basement or storage space for your outdoor furniture, then you might want to store it there during the months with the worst weather conditions. Over those months you cannot enjoy the outdoors, anyway. However, if storage is a problem, then you can always have a waterproof canvas cover made to offer your table some extra protection. 

If you are choosing a full glass table without a frame make sure that the table has a tempered glass topping with a thickness of at least 3/8 of an inch, even though ½ an inch is the best. 

If the glass is fitted in a solid frame made from another material, then it should have a thickness of at least ¼ inch. 

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What is the Best Type of Glass for an Outdoor Glass Patio Table? 

outdoor glass tabletop

If you are currently shopping around for the coming summer months and are looking to buy some outdoor furniture that includes a glass patio table, then you should opt for a set with a tempered glass top. 

Tempered glass is less likely to break from impacts, and its manufacturing process ensures that it can also withstand extreme temperature differences from freeze/thaw cycles. If the tempered glass breaks, it does not shatter like normal glass into dangerous and sharp shards but breaks into thousands of small pieces that resemble pebble. These have no sharp edge that helps prevent serious injuries. 

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The Manufacturing Procedure for Tempered Glass

During the manufacturing process, tempered glass for patio table is heated to 1,100 degrees in a huge furnace, called a tempering furnace. It is then quickly cooled with air at normal room temperatures. This process strengthens the glass and allows it to withstand impacts that would otherwise easily shatter other types of glass. The glass will also withstand sudden differences in outdoor temperatures. 

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Glass Replacements for Your Outdoor Table

If you have bought an outdoor glass patio table that has shattered or you want to replace its glass it can easily be done by a professional glass fitting company. Whatever type of glass you prefer can be cut out in a custom-sized piece and it can also be finished with a beveled or smooth edge, for a beautiful appearance, making it far safer from any impact from a heavy object or unusual weather. 

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