Level of difficulty: Beginner
New housing is usually fitted with double-pane windows (called insulated glass units). When one breaks, or if the seal between the two pieces of glass fails
(as indicated by fogging or condensation between the panes), you must replace the sash, which includes the glass and the frame around it. The one advantage
remaining to those of us with older homes and single-pane windows is that when one breaks it is an easy and inexpensive job to replace the glass oneself.
- Masking tape
- Tape measure
- Heavy work gloves
- Metal straightedge, square, or ruler
- Goggles or safety glasses with side protection
- Glass cutter (if needed)
- Standard screwdriver or chisel
- Silicone or siliconized acrylic caulk
- Glazier's tool or stiff putty knife
- Glazing compound
- Glazing points (small metal fasteners)
- Linseed oil or exterior primer
- Small paintbrush
- Glass cleaner
- Replacement glass
- Exterior trim paint
|1. Remove Any Cracked or Broken Glass
If possible remove the sash and place it flat on a worktable. Remove any broken glass by breaking it as needed and carefully wiggling out the pieces.
If you are removing the sash, crisscross masking tape over both sides of the broken glass to prevent it from falling out unintentionally. Wear heavy
work gloves and proper eye protection.
Remove Old Glazing Compound
Depending on the age of the putty-like glazing compound, it may be pliable or hard and brittle. Use an old chisel, an old screwdriver, a glazier's
tool, and/or a putty knife to pry and scrape out the old compound along with any glazing points (small metal fasteners that hold the glass in place).
Prime Bare Wood
Brush linseed oil or a fast-drying paint primer on any bare wood exposed in the process. This step is important to prevent very dry wood from absorbing
and drawing the oils out of the glazing compound.
Cut or Order Glass
If you have a piece of glass available, use a glass cutter and a straightedge to size a replacement pane that is 1/8 inch smaller in length and
width than the opening it must fit. Place the glass on a towel on a flat surface. Use a single, firm stroke with the glass cutter to score the glass
from edge to edge. Place the scored line on the glass over a pencil or dowel or over the edge of a table, and press lightly to snap the glass in
two. If you must buy glass, have the store clerk cut it to size.
Apply a Setting Bed
For a weather- and watertight seal on the exterior, apply a thin bead of caulk on the frame perimeter. Alternately use a thin coat of glazing compound
and press it in place with a putty knife as shown.
Install New Glass
Put the new pane in the frame, pressing just hard enough to bed it in the setting bed.
Install Glazing Points
Install at least two glazing points on each side (a couple of inches in from each corner) to hold the glass in place. Install other points as needed
(at least every 8 inches or so). To install a glazing point, lay it flat on the glass with the point facing the frame. Press it into the wood frame
with a putty knife or glazing tool.
Roll and Position Glazing Compound
Scoop out a handful of glazing compound and roll it in your hands to warm and soften it. Roll it out to form a 3/8-in.-diameter "rope" and press
it into place on the glass perimeter.
Smooth the Compound
Use a putty knife or a glazier's tool to press the compound firmly into place against the frame and the glass. Finish each side with a long, smooth
stroke and carefully scrape off any excess compound.
|10. Reinstall and Paint
Clean the glass, replace the sash, and allow the glazing compound to dry for a week or more before painting it with exterior trim paint. Use masking
tape or paint freehand, but paint the glazing compound and about 1/8-inch onto the glass to form a watertight seal.
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