New glass sink 'explodes' in empty Massachusetts bathroom
It was described as a flawless, crystal clear fixture - a blue glass sink Cheryl Tully Stoll's family installed in their bathroom about three weeks ago.
But on Sunday morning, the $139 glass sink shattered into blue bits scattered across the bathroom floor, she said. No one was in the room at the time and happened about an hour after its last use, she said.
``It was an explosion - a huge, loud banging-crashing,'' said Stoll, who originally thought her laundry room cabinets had fallen to the floor. ``My husband said, 'The (glass) sink exploded.'''
Now Stoll wants the company who sold the shattered sink to her family - Renovator's Supply of Millers Fall, Mass. - to investigate these products as a consumer safety risk.
``I'm concerned about about the public safety of this project,'' said Stoll.
Claude Jeanloz, president of Renovator's Supply, said his company has sold thousands of glass sinks since they began carrying them in May 2004. Stoll's shattered sink is only the second one reported to the company, he said. The other broken fixture was reported in 2005.
``It takes a tremendous amount of effort to break one of them,'' said Jeanloz, though he noted the material is ``not indestructible.''
The company sells about 500 models of glass sinks to the US, Europe and Japan, including a children's line of smaller-scale products, he said. The sinks are made out of tempered glass, similar to safety glass, and are designed to break into little pieces to lessen the chance someone could get hurt by the chips, he said.
He said the sinks are tested by dropping samples onto concrete from 36 inches above - the glass sinks ``bounce'' and remain intact after the impact.
``It's just very difficult in a case like this... to find out what happened,'' Jeanloz said, noting a manufacturing defect, a shipping or installation error might have contributed to the broken sink.
According to another seller of glass sinks unrelated to this story, Bath and Kitchen Studio, the fixtures are ``fairly durable,'' but warns on its Web site that a glass sink with a chip or crack can't be fixed and must be replaced.
Bath and Kitchen Studio advises against using metal objects near the sink which could chip the glass and also notes extremely hot water will cause a glass sink to crack or shatter.
Renovator's Supply offered a replacement or a refund to Stoll, who wanted her money back. Since the sink broke, the bathroom hasn't been used.
``Basically, I have a bathroom where no one can wash their hands,'' said Stoll.
Stoll bought the sink for about $139 from the company's Web site, and including installation by a licensed plumber, the total price was about $460, she said.
``It was a good deal, so I thought. Buyer beware,'' said Stoll.
For four hours after the sink broke, glass continued ``popping'' on the ground - she described some glass bits as microscopic, while others were several inches across.
She was concerned about the broken glass, as her 1-year-old nephew had used the sink about a week before it disintegrated, she said.
After cleaning up the mess on Sunday, small pieces still remain on the bathroom floor and her husband can feel glass stuck to his feet when he walks into the room, she said.
She will file a complaint with the U.S. Consumer Products and Safety Commission, and said she won't buy a second glass fixture.
``I'm not (looking) out to buy another glass sink,'' said Stoll.
John Hilliard of The MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.) can be reached at 508-626-4449 or firstname.lastname@example.org.