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Replacing Broken Window Glass

by Michigan State University on Apr 26, 2012

Broken window glass can be replaced by regular glass or by plastic unbreakable glass.

Before starting to replace broken glass, put on a pair of gloves and a pair of glasses. It is easy for bits of glass to chip and fly.

Glass, in both wooden and metal frames, is held in place usually by a mechanical fastener. Putty or glazing compound is then applied to keep out rain.

Putty of Window Replacement

Step 1.

Carefully remove all pieces of glass being careful to clean up the area around the window to prevent injury and cuts. Use pliers to grip pieces of glass still in the window.

Putty Knife the Replaced Window

Step 2.

With a chisel or jackknife, remove the old putty. Be careful not to gouge the wooden frame. As you proceed around the frame you will find glaziers points (small steel triangles) in wooden frames or spring clips in metal window frames. Save these points or clips. Be sure all old putty is removed so the glass will slide into place easily.
Clean off Ledge

Step 3.

With sandpaper or a rasp, clean off bits of putty which might remain on the wood or metal sash.
Paint New Window Frame

Step 4.

Paint the frame with linseed oil, wood preservative, or an oil base paint. This seals the wood surface under the putty and prevents the metal frame from rusting. A fast drying paint is most convenient.

Step 5.

Measure the size of the glass with a yardstick or folding rule. A steel rule may sag causing errors in dimensions. Allow 1/8" clearance on all sides so reduce each measured dimension by 1/4". Buy the glass cut to the correct size.
Where to Use the Linseed Oil

Step 6.

Put a thin ribbon of glazing compound in the groove on the frame for the glass to rest on. Keep the thickness of this glazing compound fairly uniform so when you press the glass down into the compound it will not crack.

Step 7.

Install the glass, press it onto the glazing compound and insert the glaziers points (small metal triangles) which you removed. Push these in with a large screwdriver. If you use a hammer be careful not to break the glass. The points should be placed every 6" to 8". The spring clips for metal windows should be inserted in the holes provided in the steel frame.
Wood Frame Glass Repair

Step 8.

Knead the glazing compound and form it into strings no bigger than a pencil. Lay a string of compound along one side at a time and force it onto the glass and wood frame with the tip of a putty knife. Smudges from the compound can be removed later with a cloth dipped in turpentine.
Paint New Window Frame

Step 9.

After the glazing compound has dried, paint it to finish sealing the seams between the glass and the compound, and the wood and the compound.
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