Exploding Fences

Pool fences are compulsory; so many homeowners are looking for an option that doesn't ruin the view, or look, of their backyard.

Glass is a popular choice, but it comes with a risk. A rare manufacturing defect can make the panels explode without warning.

Peter Denboer from the WA Glass Association says the explosion's a result of a tiny imperfection that can occur during manufacture.

"Nickel sulphide inclusions are not visible with the naked eye, they're quite microscopic in size," he said.

"It is actually a little metal seed that is sitting in the glass".

To make glass strong enough, and thus safe enough, for pool fencing, it has to undergo a toughening process.

It's heated, reaching extreme temperatures, before being rapidly cooled to make it set.

The issue though is the seeds can retain that heat for years, and as they slowly cool, they expand, putting the glass under enormous pressure.

Unfortunately, Peter says there's no way of knowing if your glass is at risk of exploding, but you can reduce the odds by always purchasing glass that complies with Australian standards.

For more details on Australia's glass standards, visit:


Glass and Windows Association of WA members