How to Repair Windows

By: Fix-It Club

How to Fix Broken Window Glass

©2006 Publications International, Ltd.Glazier' points hold the glass in place in a wood-frame window. Pushthe points in with a putty knife.

A broken windowpane not only allows the weather into your home, it is also a security hazard. Luckily, broken glass is one of the easiest problems to fix. You can buy replacement glass, cut to measure, at lumberyards and hardware stores. Here's how to replace a broken pane in a single pane (one thickness of glass) window:

Step 4: Measure frame for new glass. It should be just smaller than opening to allow for expansion and contraction and to allow for imperfections in frame or glass. Measure both ways across opening, from inside edge to inside edge, and subtract 1/16 to 1/8 inch each way. Have double-strength glass cut to these precise dimensions. Purchase enough new glaziers' points or clips to be installed every 6 inches or so around pane.


Step 6: To seal the new window pane with glaziers' compound all around the outside edge, roll another cord of glaziers' compound, and press it firmly into the glass-frame joint, all around the pane. Use putty knife to smooth compound all along the joint around the pane, matching putty to other nearby windows. Hold putty knife at an angle to lip of frame, so knife cuts compound off cleanly and evenly along glass. If putty knife sticks or pulls at glaziers' compound, dip blade into linseed oil, and shake off excess. Use long, smooth strokes to keep joint even around pane.

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Metal-frame windows often use clips to hold the glass in place.

Step 7: With razor blade or glass scraper, carefully remove excess glaziers' compound from both sides of new glass and frame. Let compound dry for about three days.

Step 8: Paint new compound and frame to match rest of frame. Lap paint slightly over edge of compound and onto glass to seal pane completely. Make sure paint is dry before you clean glass.

Additional Window-Repair Tips

No matter what type of window repair you might need to tackle, the additional guidelines below can help you get the job done quicker with less mess.

  • To prevent a windowpane crack from spreading, score a small arc with a glass cutter just beyond the crack, curving around it. Most of the time crack will travel only as far as the arc.
  • Before trying to chisel hardened putty from a wooden window frame, brush raw linseed oil over putty. Let it soak in to soften the putty.
  • Fill a pellet gun hole in a windowpane with clear nail polish or shellac. Dab at the hole; when the application dries, dab again and reapply until the hole is filled. The pane will appear clear.
  • To cover a clear bathroom window without putting up curtains, make the glass opaque by brushing on a mixture of 4 tablespoons of Epsom salts and 1/2 pint of stale beer.

Window screens sometimes become torn or bent and need to be tended to before they become an eyesore or security hazard. Learn how to repair and replace screens in the next section.