Easy fix for a broken window

June 30, 2015

You don't always need a glazier to replace a pane of busted glass if you're ready to tackle the work yourself. Here's an easy fix for a broken window sure to save you money and fill you with pride for "seeing the job through!"

Easy fix for a broken window

First, you'll need to remove the old glass, putty and glazing points.

  • Make a cardboard template that fits snugly into the frame and take it to a glass supplier to give them an idea of the dimensions.
  • Tell them the location of the window and grab photos with your phone, so they can provide the correct weight of glass and understand where it it.

Getting started

Time to replace glass

  • About 1 hour

Tools needed

  • Old chisel, paintbrush, tape measure, glazing points or panel pins, putty and putty knife.

Steps to follow

  1.  Work a lump of putty in your hands until it's pliable. Lay it about 3 mm thick (1/8 in) around the rebate to form a bed. Press the new glass gently onto it, working from the edges, not the middle, to avoid cracking.
  2. Measure regular intervals around the glass, and use the back of an old chisel to tap in glazing points or panel pins, with their heads just projecting enough to hold the glass firmly. Re-secure any spring clips on metal windows.
  3. Press more putty around the front of the glass, then use the flat edge of a putty knife to form a neat bevel. Smooth the putty to a 45-degree angle and remove surplus putty from both sides of the window. Dab a paintbrush in water and brush over the putty to get rid of any irregularities and ensure that the putty is in close contact with both glass and frame.
  4. Don't paint the putty for at least two weeks to allow it to harden. When painting, overlap the glass by 1-2 mm (1/15 in) to help prevent water from penetrating behind the putty and into the wooden frame.

A chunk of putty has fallen off

The goal is to replace the putty without cracking the glass, so you'll need to work with care.

  • Linseed oil–based putty will harden, crack and eventually fall out.
  • Gaps in the putty will allow moisture to seep between the frame and glass, where it could soon begin to rot if it's made of wood.
  • Wear gloves and eye protection when you are removing old putty!

To remove loose putty:

  1. Use a screwdriver or paint scraper to lever the sections out against the wood of the frame, not against the glass.
  2. With a heat gun on a low setting, soften stubborn putty, being careful not to heat the glass too much.
  3. Gently Press the new putty into place following the directions of steps #3 and #4 above.
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