Replacing Broken Window Glass

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About this Project
Faced with a broken window, you have three choices: 1) remove the sash and take it to a hardware store or glass shop for reglazing; 2) buy a new pane that is cut to size, and install it yourself; or 3) cut the glass yourself from standard-sized sheets kept on hand for such emergencies.
Dismantling a window sometimes is far more work than simply replacing the glass. Cutting glass isn’t difficult, but you might break a pane or two before getting the knack. If you opt for the second course, you can make the repair yourself in under an hour.
Before buying glass, measure carefully, as shown below. Check the thickness, too (most panes are 1/8-inch). You’ll need
glazier’s points, or spring clips if the frame is metal, and a can of glazing compound. Try to get the push-in-type glazier’s points because they are easier to insert.
Step-by-Step
1. Remove old glazing
NOTE: Wear heavy gloves and long clothing when working around broken glass. Carefully pull out all pieces of the old pane. Chipping off old glazing compound can be the hardest part of the job. Use a putty knife or old chisel, or soften old glazing with a soldering iron. Remove any old glazing points (thin metal triangles).
2. Prepare for new glazing
Scrape away the last of the old compound, then roughen the groove with a scraper so the new glazing compound will adhere properly.
3. Measure the sash
Sash aren’t always perfectly square, so measure at several points, then subtract 1/8 inch from each dimension to determine glass size.
4. Prime the groove
Prime the groove with linseed oil, turpentine, or oil-base paint. Untreated wood will draw oil from the glazing compound, shortening its life.
5. Apply glazing compound
Before you insert the new pane, apply a 1/8-inch-thick bead of glazing compound. This helps seal and cushion the glass.
6. Press glass into sash
Line up one edge of the pane in the sash, lower it into place, and press gently with your palm or fingertips to seal it into the glazing compound.
7. Insert glazier’s points
Press glazier’s points into the sash with a putty knife. Don’t push too hard or you may crack the glass.
8. Apply glazing compound
Apply a 1/4-inch bead of glazing compound. Press it into place to make sure it sticks to both glass and wood. If using canned glazing compound, roll it into a “snake” and press it into place.
9. Bevel compound
Bevel the compound with a putty knife. If compound sticks to the knife, wet it with turpentine.
10. Paint the compound
Let the compound dry for a week before painting. Paint should overlap the glass about 1/16 inch for a tight seal.
Substituting spring clips
Spring clips substitute for glazier’s points in steel sashes. Install as shown. Metal windows needn’t be primed.
Using a rubber gasket
In an aluminum storm window, a rubber gasket, forced into place with a putty knife, holds the glass. If the gasket is cracked or broken, replace it.

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