Replacing a window pane: a handy how to

August 13, 2015

With a little knowledge you can replace most damaged window panes easily. Here's a handy how to.

Replacing a window pane: a handy how to

What you will need

  • Duct tape
  • Hammer and stiff putty knife or chisel
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Paint primer or other sealer
  • Tape measure
  • Window glazing putty
  • Replacement glass
  • Glazier's points or pins
  • Exterior paint and brush
  • Screwdriver (if required)

1. Remove the old glass

  • Put on your gloves, goggles and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Use a hammer and putty knife or chisel to remove the old putty.
  • Use pliers to pull out the nails or glazier's points or sprigs (thin metal wedges that hold the glass in the frame).
  • Finally, carefully remove the glass itself.

2. Scrape, prime and seal

  • Scrape out the old putty from the rabbets (deep notches designed as joints) and paint any unfinished timber with primer or sealer, such as linseed oil.
  • Order new glass from the glazier: use the old glass as a pattern, or carefully measure the opening and deduct 0.3 centimetres (1/8 inch) from both the width and the height.

3. Putty glass into place

  • Using a clean, straight-edged putty knife, apply your window glazing putty to the channel all around the opening.
  • The putty should not be visible from indoors.
  • Position the new glass and press it firmly against the putty so that it forms an even layer under the edges of the glass.

4. Install glazier points

  • To set the glass securely, press glazier's points into the frame and against the glass with a screwdriver or stiff putty knife.
  • Use at least two per side, spacing them every 10 to 15 centimetres (4 to 6 inches).
  • When you've finished, use a putty knife to scrape off any excess putty.

5. Putty the edges

  • Apply your putty over the edges of the glass with your putty knife.
  • Holding the knife at an angle, draw it across the putty, pressing firmly and working out from the corners.
  • Let your newly installed glass cure for a couple of weeks before painting.

One more handy tip

  • Creating a perfect bevel on window glazing putty is second nature for a professional glazier.
  • For a simple way to get the same result, simply place the end of your putty knife against the glass, and draw your putty knife's side across the putty.

Follow this handy how to the next time you have to replace a damaged window pane, and you'll be able to work that much smarter.

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