Doing a home window glass repair in a broken window or single pane is definitely doable by the do-it-yourself homeowner. This article will cover replacing broken windows for single-pane types only. Dual or triple-glazed windows should be fixed or replaced by a professional. Let’s take a look at the short list of steps to follow when doing a broken window replacement. Read below for general preparation tips and then follow what you need to do for wood versus other types of frames.
Preparing for your home window glass repair
Keep in mind that you should wear heavy, flexible gloves when working with any broken glass. Use common sense. Eye protection is good too, since you never know when glass shards might pop up as you break the old glass out of the broken window you’re fixing.
First, remove the window from it’s jambs, if possible. You may not be able to do this, so make your window glass repair while it’s up. It’s easiest to do this working from the outside. Next, remove the glazing compound from the edges using a metal putty knife. You may need to soften the glazing with a heat gun or hair dryer so it’s easier to work with. Now, use a screwdriver, needle-nosed pliers or your putty knife to pry out the glazier’s points (small metal points that hold the glass in place like in a picture frame). Whatever broken glass remains in the window should start to loosen and come out as you go. Use your pliers for pieces that are stuck. Finally, scrape away all old putty and clean it up well. The little groove at the edges (called a rabbet), should be free of glass and other debris. Brush out with a coarse brush if necessary. To help your new glass, you can paint the rabbet with a quick drying all-purpose primer.
Now, measure the area within the window pane for your replacement glass. Subtract 1/8″ on all dimensions for proper clearance. In total, this means that the width and height of the window glass you’ll insert should be 1/4″ less than what you measured. You’re now ready to buy your replacement piece and make your home window glass repair. Take a small piece to the store or dealer so you can be sure to match the type that was in there, for example, tempered glass.
Repair window glass for WOOD
Before setting in your replacement pane of glass, make a thin bead of glazing compound and press it into the rabbet all the way around. This will help cushion and provide a better seal. Now, set in your new glass. When it’s firmly in place, secure it with new glazier’s points. Space these 4″ apart for smaller windows, and up to 10″ for larger ones. Push them into the wood solidly with a putty knife. See, you’re learning how to fix a broken window! Now, apply your glazing compound. You can use the type that requires a caulking gun if you find that easier than applying directly with a putty knife. Work the glazing in with a putty knife at a 45-degree angle or a wet finger. Small molded caps can be bought to help you achieve a clean and smooth look with the glazing, although you may be content enough that your broken window is fixed! Let this cure for a week or so before painting.
Repair window glass for ALUMINUM OR VINYL
Here are just a couple points to follow that differ from repairing window glass in a wooden frame. Instead of glazier’s points holding the window down, you may have to remove beveled strips that are secured to the outer edges of the broken glass. Seal and secure the new window with sealing mastic (that’s made for windows), around the interior perimeter. If you don’t have these strips, your frame may have a U-shaped channel that can’t be pried off. Take your broken window apart by loosening screws on one side and pulling that side off. Pull out the broken glass you’re replacing along with the vinyl gasket going around it. Reverse what you just did with the new pane of glass, and your broken window is fixed.
Tips on cutting home window glass
If you’re comfortable enough, you can always buy a sheet of glass and cut it to size. Glass is by design very brittle. This can certainly cause the need for home window glass repair, but it actually helps your cutting task easier. As you probably know, you cut glass by first scoring with the wheel of a glass cutter. Getting a good (smooth and even) score will help you snap the glass easily. Use just the right amount of pressure with the cutting wheel. Too little, and it will start to skip; too much and you risk chipping or cracking edges.
For cutting, find a clean, level surface somewhere in your home. Window glass repair preparation begins with patience in setting up your work area correctly. Have a square or equivalent guide to help you get the right cut. Also, be sure to make your snap soon after you score – glass tends to close the score (healing itself) ever so slightly over time.